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.
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.”
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet announced today that she will not be seeking a second term when her current one ends in August, but said that her office intends to finalize a long-awaited report on the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang region before her departure.
2021 saw a worrying rise in executions and death sentences as some of the world’s most prolific executioners returned to business as usual and courts were unshackled from Covid-19 restrictions, Amnesty International said today in its annual review of the death penalty.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights must address crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations when her team visits China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region this week, Amnesty International said today as the UN’s long-awaited trip got under way.
Amnesty International has received credible information that Buheliqiemu Abula and her teenage daughter, 13, were made to take tests for Covid-19 today in preparations for their deportation to China. The police told them that they should be prepared to leave the deportation center at 9 pm local time today to board a flight bound for Guangzhou, China.
Saudi authorities must immediately release four Uyghurs – including a 13-year-old girl and her mother – who are at grave risk of being taken to repressive internment camps if sent back to China, Amnesty International said today amid fears that deportation plans for the group may already be under way.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet should release her office’s long-awaited report on the Chinese government’s crimes against humanity in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region without further delay, Amnesty International said today in an open letter joined by almost 200 other organizations.
Despite urgent calls to ensure the equal distribution of Covid-19 vaccines in 2021, pharmaceutical companies tragically failed to rise to the challenge of a once-in-a-century global health and human rights crisis. Instead, they monopolized technology, blocked and lobbied against the sharing of intellectual property, charged high prices for vaccines and prioritized supplies to wealthy countries, said Amnesty International today in a new assessment of the leading Covid-19 vaccine developers.
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.
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.
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.