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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 uses vague and over broad charges to prosecute pro-democracy activists.


For more information on Amnesty International’s work on China, refer to the links below or contact the AIUSA China Coordination Group.

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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. Then on June 30, 2020, China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) passed a new national security law for Hong Kong that entered into force in the territory the same day.

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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



December 6, 2021 • Press Release

Biden Administration’s Diplomatic Boycott of Winter Olympics a Blow to the Impunity of the Chinese Government

In response to today’s news that U.S. government officials would not attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Joanne Lin, National Director for Advocacy and Government Relations at Amnesty International USA, said: "The Biden administration’s announcement of a diplomatic boycott of the Olympic games is a blow to the impunity of the Chinese authorities. The Chinese government’s perpetuation and condoning of human rights abuses, from the dismantling of free expression in Hong Kong to the repression of Uyghurs, Tibetans, and other minorities, to blatant attempts to silence survivors of sexual abuse, must be met with unequivocal condemnation and demands for justice.

December 2, 2021 • Press Release

WTA’s Decision Should Push for Effective Investigation of Sexual Violence in China

Responding to the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)’s decision to halt all competitions in China, Doriane Lau, Amnesty International’s China researcher said: “Amnesty International shares the WTA’s concern about the state censorship around allegations made by Peng Shuai and the related online discussion. The Chinese government has a track record of silencing women who make allegations of sexual violence.

November 15, 2021 • Press Release

Biden Administration Must Prioritize Human Rights in US-China Policy

On Monday evening, President Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss US-China policy. In advance of this virtual summit, Carolyn Nash, Asia Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA, said: “The Biden administration must decide if they are going to defend human rights, and if President Xi will see clearly that human rights are central to US-China policy.

November 9, 2021 • Press Release

#MeToo journalist and labor activist facing ‘subversion’ charge in China must be released

Responding to Chinese #MeToo activist Sophia Huang Xueqin and labor activist Wang Jianbing being officially detained under the charge of “inciting subversion of state power,” Amnesty International’s China Campaigner Gwen Lee said: “The Chinese government’s disdain for human rights has once again been laid bare by these unjustifiable charges for two activists whose only so-called crime has been to peacefully advocate for the welfare of others.

November 4, 2021 • Press Release

Release Jailed Wuhan Activist ‘Close to Death’ After Hunger Strike

A Chinese citizen journalist jailed for reporting on the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan is at risk of dying if she is not urgently released to receive medical treatment, Amnesty International said today.

October 25, 2021 • Press Release

Amnesty International to Close its Hong Kong Offices

Amnesty International will close its two offices in Hong Kong by the end of the year, the organization announced today. The local ‘section’ office will cease operations on October 31 while the regional office – which is part of Amnesty’s global International Secretariat – is due to close by the end of 2021. Regional operations will be moved to the organization’s other offices in the Asia-Pacific.

September 15, 2021 • Press Release

Tiananmen Vigil Convictions Highlight Accelerating Collapse of Freedoms in Hong Kong

Responding to the jailing after convictions for “unauthorized assembly” of 12 people who took part in a peaceful vigil to mark the Tiananmen crackdown on June 4 last year, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director Yamini Mishra said: “The jailing of 12 Hongkongers who took part in an entirely peaceful, but ‘unauthorized’, vigil to commemorate the victims of China’s violent Tiananmen crackdown is another outrageous attack on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

June 10, 2021 • Report

Draconian repression of Muslims in Xinjiang, China, amounts to crimes against humanity

Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region face systematic state-organized mass imprisonment, torture and persecution amounting to crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said …

June 6, 2021 • Report

Governments Must Stop Conniving with Fossil Fuel Industries to Burn Our Rights

The world’s richest governments are effectively condemning millions of people to starvation, drought and displacement through their continued support of the fossil fuel industry, Amnesty International said today. The organization’s new policy briefing offers a damning assessment of global failures to protect human rights from climate change, and outlines how human rights law can help hold governments and companies to account.

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 …