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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.

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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NEW REPORT: LIKE WE WERE ENEMIES IN A WAR

In a new report, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response team released dozens of new testimonies from former detainees detailing the extreme measures taken by Chinese authorities since 2017 to essentially root out the religious traditions, cultural practices and local languages of Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Carried out under the guise of fighting “terrorism”, the authorities have targeted ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Hui, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Tajiks.

TAKE ACTION: PROTEST THE MASS INTERNMENT, TORTURE AND PERSECUTION OF MUSLIMS IN XINJIANG

More than 60 people from predominantly Muslim ethnic groups have been allegedly interned in camps or sentenced without a fair trial and sent to prison in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. These cases are representative of the perhaps 1 million or more men and women estimated to have been detained in the region since 2017.

TAKE ACTION: Call on China to allow reunion of Uyghur families

Some Uyghur parents have been separated from their children as a result of the unprecedented crackdown on ethnic populations in Xinjiang. With your voice, we can push China to end this separation.

China Newsroom



June 29, 2021 • Press Release

National Security Law has created a human rights emergency in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s National Security Law (NSL) has decimated the city’s freedoms and created a landscape increasingly devoid of human rights protections, Amnesty International said in a new research briefing released …

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.

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 …

URGENT: Children seeking asylum in the U.S. are being denied their human rights based on their nationality — help ensure that all girls and boys fleeing violence can seek safety.