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China Human Rights

Amnesty International has documented widespread human rights violations in China. An estimated 500,000 people are currently enduring punitive detention without charge or trial, and millions are unable to access the legal system to seek redress for their grievances. Harassment, surveillance, house arrest, and imprisonment of human rights defenders are on the rise, and censorship of the Internet and other media has grown. Repression of minority groups, including Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians, and of Falun Gong practitioners and Christians who practice their religion outside state-sanctioned churches continues. While the recent reinstatement of Supreme People's Court review of death penalty cases may result in lower numbers of executions, China remains the leading executioner in the world.

 

Detention Without Trial

The authorities frequently used administrative punishments, including Re-education through Labour (RTL), to detain people without trial. According to the government, 190,000 people were held in RTL facilities, down from half a million several years ago, although the real figures were likely to be much higher. Former RTL prisoners reported that Falun Gong constituted one of the largest groups of prisoners, and political activists, petitioners and others practising their religion outside permitted bounds were common targets. The authorities used a variety of illegal forms of detention, including "black jails", "legal education classes", "study classes" and mental health institutions to detain thousands of people.

 

Death Penalty

China continued to make extensive use of the death penalty, including for non-violent crimes. The death sentence continued to be imposed after unfair trials. Statistics on death sentences and executions remained classified as state secrets and, while executions numbered in the thousands, the government did not release actual figures.

 

Freedom of Expression

As the internet was increasingly used to disseminate news and conduct debates, the authorities tried to control its use by restricting news reporting and shutting down publications and internet sites, including ones that "slandered the country's political system", "distorted the history of the Party", "publicized Falun Gong and other evil cults", and "incited ethnic splittism". The government blocked access to content and recorded individuals' activities through new filtering software such as Blue Shield.

Following the publication of Charter 08 in December 2008, a document calling for political reform and greater protection of human rights, police questioned signatories and put them under surveillance for many months.

  • Liu Xiaobo, a prominent intellectual and signatory originally detained in December 2008, was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment on 25 December for "inciting subversion of state power". His lawyers were given only 20 minutes to present their case, in a trial that lasted less than three hours.
China Newsroom



July 7, 2016 • Press Release

China: End relentless repression against human rights lawyers on first anniversary of crackdown

Chinese authorities must end their ruthless assault against human rights lawyers and activists, Amnesty International said ahead of the first anniversary of the start of an unprecedented crackdown.

April 28, 2016 • Press Release

China: Scrap Foreign NGO law aimed at choking civil society

The Chinese government must scrap a new law aimed at further smothering civil society, Amnesty International said today.

March 25, 2016 • Press Release

China: Prominent blogger’s family detained over letter lambasting President Xi

The Chinese authorities must call off their manhunt against those it believes are behind the publication of a letter calling on President Xi Jinping to resign, Amnesty International said, after it was revealed close family members of a prominent dissident are the latest to have been detained.

March 10, 2016 • Press Release

Ai Weiwei, Snowden, Pussy Riot take place of online ads to protest censorship

Messages from Edward Snowden, Ai Weiwei and Pussy Riot will be broadcast across the internet by AdBlock and Amnesty International on the World Day against Cyber Censorship, 12 March 2016.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.

February 18, 2016 • Press Release

Your rights in jeopardy, global assault on freedoms, warns Amnesty International

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 5, 2016 • Press Release

Chinese authorities revelations on detained Hong Kong booksellers “smoke and mirrors”

The Chinese authorities are showing total contempt for due process and the rule of law in the case of five detained Hong Kong booksellers, Amnesty International said, after police in Guangdong in southern China confirmed that three of the men missing since last October are in their custody and being investigated.

January 29, 2016 • Press Release

Chinese authorities intensify crackdown against critics with deplorable jail terms for rights activists

Three Chinese human rights campaigners who were handed jail sentences on Friday for publishing books on democracy and activism are the latest victims of politically motivated “national security” charges used to silence government critics, Amnesty International said.

January 14, 2016 • Press Release

Hundreds of academics urge China’s President to free Professor Ilham Tohti

Top scholars call on Chinese government to respect academic freedom, in an open letter to President Xi Jinping on second anniversary of Uighur academic’s seizure.