Archive for ‘Human rights’

28/02/2019

All 56 ethnic groups part of big family of Chinese nation: Chinese ambassador

SWITZERLAND-GENEVA-UNHRC SESSION

Yu Jianhua, head of the Chinese Mission to the UN Office in Geneva, attends the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 27, 2019. The 56 ethnic groups in China, living together like brothers and sisters, are all parts of the big family of the Chinese nation, Yu Jianhua told the UNHRC session. “The people of all ethnic groups are tightly held together like pomegranate seeds, and together they are making arduous efforts for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation where they can all live a happy life,” Yu said, when elaborating on China’s human rights propositions and expounding achievements of the human rights undertakings in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

GENEVA, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) — The 56 ethnic groups in China, living together like brothers and sisters, are all part of the big family of the Chinese nation, a Chinese envoy said Wednesday at the ongoing UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva.

“The people of all ethnic groups are tightly held together like pomegranate seeds, and together they are making arduous efforts for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation where they can all live a happy life,” said Yu Jianhua, head of the Chinese Mission to the UN Office at Geneva, when elaborating on China’s human rights propositions and expounding achievements of the human rights undertakings in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China, during the UNHRC’s 40th session.

Yu said that as unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise in today’s world, coupled with the still outstanding problem of unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development, it’s particularly important for countries to firmly practise multilateralism and to jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.

To that end, Yu put forward China’s propositions on advancing undertakings for human rights internationally. Firstly, mutual respect should be taken as a premise, by which all countries should respect their peoples’ choice of development path for human rights.

Secondly, all countries should adhere to the principle of fairness and justice, abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country, and oppose interference into other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of human rights.

Thirdly, all countries should aim for win-win results through cooperation; and lastly, all countries should champion a people-centered vision and promote human rights through development.

On the topic concerning China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Chinese ambassador said that the stance adopted by some countries is biased and entirely based on misjudgment, which runs counter to facts.

He said that the Chinese government has adopted a series of anti-terrorism and de-extremization measures in Xinjiang, including the establishment of vocational training facilities, which aim to help the few people who have been influenced by extremism to get rid of their terrorist and extremist thoughts and reintegrate them into the society as soon as possible.

These measures, carried out in full accordance with the law, have greatly improved the security situation in Xinjiang and effectively safeguarded the human rights of the people of all ethnic groups and thus received sincere support from the people, Yu said.

Source: Xinhua

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28/01/2019

Wang Quanzhang: China jails leading human rights lawyer

Wang QuanzhangImage copyrightFAMILY
Image captionWang Quanzhang went missing in a 2015 crackdown

China has sentenced prominent human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang to four and a half years in prison for state subversion.

Wang, 42, had defended political campaigners and victims of land seizures, as well as followers of the banned spiritual Falun Gong movement.

He was one of several lawyers and activists arrested in a 2015 crackdown, and the last to go on trial.

China has intensified its prosecution of rights lawyers in recent years.

Mr Wang was “found guilty of subverting state power, sentenced to four years and six months in prison, and deprived of political rights for five years,” the court in Tianjin said.

The trial had been conducted behind closed doors with journalists and foreign diplomats barred from entering the courthouse.

Reuters news agency reports that Wang fired his state-appointed lawyer during the proceedings.

Wang’s wife, Li Wenzu, was also banned from attending and confined to her home in Beijing. A tireless champion of his case, she has shaved her head in protest against his detention and files near-weekly petitions to China’s highest court.

Media captionWang’s wife and her friends shave their heads to protest against his detention

In April, police intercepted Ms Li after she began a 100km (62 mile) march calling for her husband’s release. She was forcibly returned to Beijing and placed under temporary house arrest with her five-year-old son.

After the verdict Ms Li tweeted: “Wang Quanqi is not guilty, the public prosecution law is guilty!”

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‘A chilling message’

John Sudworth, BBC News, Beijing

Wang Quanzhang had disappeared so completely into a legal black hole, that for much of the past three and half years, his family did not know if he was alive or dead.

He was denied family visits and denied the right to appoint his own lawyer.

Perhaps he’d been seriously injured, those who knew him wondered. Or perhaps, against all the odds, he was somehow managing to hold out – refusing the pressure, and perhaps the torture too, and refusing to confess.

Other lawyers caught up in the same 2015 crackdown, have since been processed, convicted and sentenced.

Whatever the reason for the delay in Mr Wang’s case – his brief one-day trial was finally held behind closed doors over Christmas – he has been found guilty for much the same reason; his attempts to use the letter of the Chinese law to hold the authorities to account in their own Communist Party-run courts.

As the Party has been making clear in recent years, it sees concepts such as constitutionalism and an independent judicial system as dangerous Western ideals.

Mr Wang’s fate is likely intended to reinforce that chilling message.

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Michael Caster, researcher and author of The People’s Republic of the Disappeared, told the BBC that Wang’s case was “emblematic of Xi Jinping’s assault on the human rights and legal community”.

“The rights defence and broader civil society community in China is rightly outraged. For some time now they have rallied around Wang Quanzhang and his wife Li Wenzu as symbolic of both abuse and resistance under Xi Jinping,” he said after the sentencing.

Li Wenzu, the wife of prominent Chinese rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, holds a box with a family picture and her husband's detention notice, before shaving her head in protest in Beijing, ChinaImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionLi Wenzu holds a family picture, and her husband’s detention notice

Mr Caster said that “the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found that Wang’s detention is arbitrary, which means that under international law he should never have faced a trial in the first place, and so obviously should never have faced any length of sentence”.

Rights groups have condemned the trial with Amnesty International calling it a “sham” and the verdict “a gross injustice”.

“It’s outrageous that Wang Quanzhang is being punished for peacefully standing up for human rights in China,” Amnesty China researcher Doriane Lau said in a statement.

China’s crackdown on lawyers, known as the “709” crackdown because it began on 9 July, has been seen by activists as a sign of a growing intolerance of dissent under President Xi Jinping.

More than 200 people were detained in that sweep, with many given jail terms, suspended sentences or house arrest.

Source: The BBC

12/12/2018

China issues white paper on human rights progress over 40 years of reform, opening up

BEIJING, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) — China on Wednesday issued a white paper on progress in human rights since its reform and opening up drive.

The white paper, titled “Progress in Human Rights over the 40 Years of Reform and Opening Up in China,” said reform and opening up has helped liberate and develop social productive forces, opened up a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and ushered in a new chapter in the development of human rights.

Over the four decades, the Chinese people have worked hard as one under the strong and coherent leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the white paper said. Huge changes have taken place, and living standards have significantly improved.

The CPC has always prioritized the people’s interests, ensuring that reform is conducted for the people and by the people, and that its benefits are shared by the people, it added.

China has showed respect for, protected and promoted human rights in the course of reform and opening up, blazing a trail of human rights development that conforms to the national conditions, and created new experiences and made progress in safeguarding human rights, it said.

China has summed up its historical experience, drawn on the achievements of human civilization, combined the universal principles of human rights with the realities of the country, and generated a series of innovative ideas on human rights, it said.

China has brought into being basic rights that center on the people and prioritize their rights to subsistence and development, and proposed that China should follow a path of comprehensive and coordinated human rights development under the rule of law.

The white paper said China has carried out extensive exchanges and cooperation in the field of human rights and earnestly fulfilled its international human rights obligations.

12/12/2018

China establishes governance principle of respecting, protecting human rights: white paper

BEIJING, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) — A white paper released Wednesday by the State Council Information Office said China has firmly established a governance principle of respecting and protecting human rights.

“It is the determination and ultimate goal of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government to respect and protect human rights,” said the document, titled “Progress in Human Rights over the 40 Years of Reform and Opening Up in China.”

Since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, “respecting and protecting human rights” has been written into the reports to CPC National Congresses, the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the Constitution of the CPC, and strategies and plans for national development, becoming an important principle of governance for the CPC and the Chinese government, it said.

According to the white paper, that the state respects and protects human rights has been established as an important principle of the Constitution of China.

Also, the CPC pursues human rights protection in its governance, the document said.

The white paper noted that it has become a core goal of national development to respect and protect human rights.

07/12/2018

China-U.S. dialogue on rule of law and human rights concludes in Beijing

BEIJING, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) — The eighth China-U.S. Dialogue on Rule of Law and Human Rights concluded in Beijing Wednesday.

Jiang Jianguo, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, addressed the opening session of the three-day event.

Jiang expressed the hope that the dialogue between China and the United States in the field of human rights could comply with the trend and look at the big picture, respect differences and communicate equally, deepen cooperation and enhance mutual trust, in order to play a unique role in promoting the cause of human rights of the two countries and the healthy development of China-U.S. relations.

Huang Mengfu, chairman of China Foundation for Human Rights Development, said the dialogue, initiated in 2009, had become an important platform for non-governmental organizations of both countries to conduct exchanges on human rights, effectively enhancing mutual understanding.

“It reflects the good wishes of both sides to contribute to China-U.S. relations through people-to-people communication and exchanges,” Huang added.

Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, said Stephen A. Orlins, president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Orlins said he hoped the dialogue would have a positive influence on relations between the two countries and called for confidence in the future of U.S.-China relations.

Over 50 experts and scholars from China and the United States attended the event. The American representatives visited the Supreme People’s Court and Beijing Internet Court on Wednesday.

05/12/2018

China ‘rejects German human rights delegation’s request’ to visit Xinjiang

China has denied a German human rights delegation access to the far western region of Xinjiang to investigate mass detention centres for Uygurs, according to the German foreign ministry.

German Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler said on Tuesday that the request was made as part of preparations for the annual German-Chinese Human Rights Dialogue in Lhasa on Thursday and Friday.

“I am shocked by reports of the treatment of the Turkic Uygur minority, more than one million of whom are estimated to be imprisoned in internment camps in Xinjiang,” Kofler said, adding that she would continue to ask for permission to travel to Xinjiang.

She said she would also raise Germany’s concerns about religious freedom, civil society, and other human rights issues in China during the meeting in Tibet.

Germany has been a vocal critic of China’s human rights record, including the interment camps in Xinjiang

China says the camps are vocational training centres and part of its anti-terrorism efforts, but critics say Uygurs are forced into centres in violation of human rights.

Former inmates and monitoring groups say people in the camps are subjected to prison-like conditions and forced to renounce their religion and cultural background.

On a trip to China last month, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged Beijing to be more transparent about conditions in the camps.

Germany, along with the United States and France, called on China to close the camps during a United Nations review of China’s human rights record in Geneva last month.

Last week, Uygur woman Mihrigul Tursun told the United States Congress that she was tortured multiple times while detained in one of the centres, where a number of detainees died.

After the dialogue in Tibet, Kofler will return to Beijing to meet German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is on a state visit.

Last year’s human rights dialogue was cancelled by China, with neither China nor Germany saying why it was called off.

07/12/2014

China to end use of prisoners’ organs for transplants next month | Reuters

China, the only country that still systematically takes organs from executed prisoners for use in transplant operations, plans to end the controversial practice from next month, a state-run newspaper said on Friday.

The government has over the last year flagged plans to end the practice, which has drawn criticism from rights groups, who have accused authorities of taking many organs without consent from prisoners or their families, a claim Beijing has denied.

The official China Daily said that human organ transplants will from Jan. 1 rely on voluntary public donations and on donations from living relatives.

“Harvesting organs from executed prisoners for transplants is controversial, despite written consent being required from donors and their relatives,” Huang Jiefu, head of the China Organ Donation Committee, was quoted as saying.

via China to end use of prisoners’ organs for transplants next month | Reuters.

05/09/2014

Chinese woman wrongfully jailed for theft given apology and payout 25 years after | South China Morning Post

Twenty-five years after she was locked up behind bars, a Guangdong woman on Thursday received more than 650,000 yuan (HK$818,000) in compensation for being wrongfully imprisoned – in the latest case of corrective measures for miscarried justice in China.

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Bai Chunrong was sentenced to eight years in prison for theft on July 28, 1989, and served time until she was released in 1996, the Guangdong province newspaper New Express reported.

Bai filed an appeal in March 1990 but the Foshan Intermediate People’s Court upheld the conviction. There were no further details about her crime given in the court announcement.

The same court reopened the case in late March and the judge declared her innocent on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

Bai received the compensation from the Foshan court judge, who apologised to Bai for the wrongful conviction.

Bai, crying while kneeling on the floor and kowtowing to the magistrate, said: “I really thank the current court and judge for helping me get vindicated.”

Last month, in a rare acquittal, a court in southeastern Fujian province overturned the death penalty against a food hawker convicted of double murder.

via Chinese woman wrongfully jailed for theft given apology and payout 25 years after | South China Morning Post.

13/06/2014

China’s Supreme Court overturns death sentences for two men who raped 11-year-old girl | South China Morning Post

The Supreme People’s Court has overturned the death sentences given to two men convicted of raping and forcing an 11-year-old girl to work in a brothel.

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The court said the high-profile case, which has received national media attention, would be retried.

Tang Hui, the victim’s mother, has campaigned for years believing death sentences should be handed out to all people who were guilty in her daughter’s case.

She has also petitioned local governments to punish officials who she said had been bribed by prostitution gangs to protect their operations.

“The ruling has dealt a heavy blow to us,” Tang told the South China Morning Post yesterday.

“My family just tries to live a normal life. As the case reopens, we’ll experience all the nightmares again. I’m especially worried about my daughter.”

Tang’s daughter has contracted herpes, an incurable sexually transmitted disease, and psychological trauma after she was raped and forced to work as a prostitute at the age 11 for two months in a brothel in Yongzhou in Hunan province in 2006.

Her daughter’s two main kidnappers were sentenced to death in June 2012, four accomplices received life sentences and one was jailed for 15 years.

A representative from the Supreme People’s Court said in an interview with the People’s Daily that the death sentences had been overturned because the crimes were not serious enough to warrant capital punishment.

“The circumstances of the crime had not reached the degree of being extremely serious,” the spokesman said.

Forcing a large number of victims into prostitution, or performing torture on victims that resulted in death or permanent injury might have warranted the death sentence, the official added.

Lu Miaoqing , a lawyer in Guangzhou, said the Supreme People’s Court ruling was understandable as judges tended to avoid capital punishment unless a crime had caused deaths.

via China’s Supreme Court overturns death sentences for two men who raped 11-year-old girl | South China Morning Post.

07/05/2014

In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters

Hundreds of migrant workers from distant corners of China pour daily into the Urumqi South railway station, their first waypoint on a journey carrying them to lucrative work in other parts of the far western Xinjiang region.

Uighur women stand next to a street to wait for a bus in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region May 1, 2014. REUTERS-Petar Kujundzic

Like the columns of police toting rifles and metal riot spears that weave between migrants resting on their luggage, the workers are a fixture at the station, which last week was targeted by a bomb and knife attack the government has blamed on religious extremists.

“We come this far because the wages are good,” Shi Hongjiang, 26, from the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, told Reuters outside the station. “Also, the Uighur population is small. There aren’t enough of them to do the work.”

Shi’s is a common refrain from migrant workers, whose experience finding low-skilled work is very different to that of the Muslim Uighur minority.

Employment discrimination, experts say, along with a demographic shift that many Uighurs feel is diluting their culture, is fuelling resentment that spills over into violent attacks directed at Han Chinese, China’s majority ethnic group.

The apparent suicide attack on the station, which killed one bystander, was the latest violence to hit Xinjiang, despite a pledge from China’s President Xi Jinping to rain “crushing blows against violent terrorist forces”.

via In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters.

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