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China Human Rights

Amnesty International has documented widespread human rights violations in China that were marked by a systematic crackdown on dissent. The justice system remained plagued by unfair trials and torture and other ill-treatment in detention. China still classified information on its extensive use of the death penalty as a state secret.

Repression conducted under the guise of “anti-separatism” or “counter-terrorism” remained particularly severe in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) and Tibetan-populated areas (Tibet). Authorities subjected Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang to intrusive surveillance, arbitrary detention and forced indoctrination. From early 2017, after the Xinjiang government had enacted a regulation enforcing so-called “de-extremification”, an estimated up to one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minority people were sent to internment camps.

Police detained human rights defenders outside formal detention facilities, sometimes incommunicado, for long periods, which posed additional risk of torture and other ill-treatment to the detainees. Controls on the internet were strengthened. Repression of religious activities outside state-sanctioned churches continued. The authorities jailed religious leaders who were not recognized by the party for “endangering state security”. Freedom of expression in Hong Kong came under attack as the government used vague and over broad charges to prosecute pro-democracy activists.

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In the summer of 2019, the people of Hong Kong have repeatedly protested against a proposed extradition bill. The Hong Kong police used tear gas and pepper spray, and in some instances, guns firing bean bags and rubber bullets to disperse protesters including those remaining peaceful.

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Mass detention camps began making their appearance locally in 2014, spreading rapidly throughout Xinjiang after the adoption of regional “Regulations on De-Extremification” in March 2017. The goal of these facilities appears to be replacement of religious affiliation and ethnic identity with secular, patriotic political allegiance. The Chinese government initially denied their existence, but their construction has been documented by recruitment and procurement documents and satellite imagery. Eventually, it acknowledged their existence but claimed that they were voluntary “vocational training centers.”

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China Newsroom



June 17, 2020 • Press Release

United States Takes Historic Step In Protecting Uyghurs In China

Responding to President Trump signing the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act into law, Joanne Lin, National Director, Advocacy and Government Affairs for Amnesty International USA, released the following statement. “Today, …

April 20, 2020 • Report

Death penalty 2019: Global executions fell by 5%, hitting a 10-year low

Saudi Arabia executed a record number of people in 2019, despite an overall decline in executions worldwide, Amnesty International said in its 2019 global review of the death penalty published …

March 18, 2020 • Press Release

Disturbing expulsion of U.S. journalists further stifles access to information amid COVID-19 crisis

Responding to the effective expulsion of journalists working for three major U.S. newspapers in China, the Head of Amnesty International’s China team, Joshua Rosenzweig, said: “This shameful assault on freedom …

February 20, 2020 • Press Release

Uyghurs living abroad tell of campaign of intimidation

China is systematically harassing Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups even after they have left the country, according to new testimonies gathered by Amnesty International. The case studies, published online today, …

February 10, 2020 • Press Release

Explainer: Seven ways the coronavirus affects human rights

The outbreak of the coronavirus (2019-nCov) that started in the Chinese city of Wuhan (Hubei province) in late 2019 has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). …

December 4, 2019 • Press Release

Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act Signals Chinese Government Must Be Held Accountable for its Abuses

Responding to the passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, Francisco Bencosme, the Asia Pacific advocacy manager at Amnesty International USA said...

November 27, 2019 • Press Release

U.S. Signing of the PROTECT Hong Kong Act Sends a Message to the World That People Can Come Before Profit

Responding to the official signing of S.2710, the PROTECT Hong Kong Act, Amnesty International USA and Amnesty International Hong King issued the following joint statement: Francisco Bencosme, the Asia Pacific advocacy manager at Amnesty …

November 17, 2019 • Press Release

Write For Rights: Amnesty International Launches Global Campaign Championing Youth Activists

Amnesty International has today launched Write for Rights, the world’s biggest human rights campaign, which this year champions children’s rights and youth activists.

September 17, 2019 • Press Release

UN Secretary-General Must Publicly Denounce Human Rights Violations In Xinjiang

Antonio Guterres should publicly and unequivocally condemn the Chinese authorities’ abusive policies in Xinjiang and call for an immediate closure of camps containing an estimated one million Turkic Muslims, a coalition of five human rights groups, including Amnesty International, said in a letter to the UN Secretary-General.

July 17, 2019 • Press Release

Google Must Fully Commit to Never Censor Search in China

Google must now go one step further and commit to never aid China’s large-scale censorship and surveillance. The company’s past evasiveness on this issue leaves the door open to future abuses. CEO Sundar Pichai should make a definitive statement that it will not engage in any project in China that undermines human rights full stop.