Sunday, October 30, 2016

CHINA: No one is safe

CHINA: No one is safe 

-abuse of power -torture -executions amnesty international briefing Inside front cover: 

Image result for CHINA: No one is safe
Image result for CHINA: No one is safe
Image result for CHINA: No one is safe
Image result for CHINA: No one is safe


Amnesty International is a worldwide voluntary movement that works to prevent some of the gravest violations by governments of people’s fundamental human rights. The main focus of its campaigning is to: -free all prisoners of conscience. These are people detained anywhere for their beliefs or because of their ethnic origin, sex, colour, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth or other status, who have not used or advocated violence; -ensure fair and prompt trials for political prisoners; -abolish the death penalty, torture and other cruel treatment of prisoners; -end extrajudicial executions and “disappearances”. Amnesty International also opposes abuses by opposition groups, including hostage-taking, torture and killings of prisoners and other deliberate and arbitrary killings. Amnesty International, recognizing that human rights are indivisible and interdependent, works to promote all the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards, through human rights education programs and campaigning for ratification of human rights treaties. Amnesty International is impartial. It is independent of any government, political persuasion or religious creed. It does not support or oppose any government or political system, nor does it support or oppose the views of the victims whose rights it seeks to protect. It is concerned solely with the protection of the human rights involved in each case, regardless of the ideology of the government or opposition forces, or the beliefs of the individual. Amnesty International does not grade countries according to their record on human rights; instead of attempting comparisons it concentrates on trying to end the specific violations of human rights. Amnesty International has more than 1,100,000 members, subscribers and regular donors in over 170 countries and territories, with more than 4,000 Amnesty International local groups, plus several thousand school, university, professional and other groups in more than 89 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. To ensure impartiality, each group works on cases and campaigns in countries other than its own, selected for geographical and political diversity. Research into human rights violations and individual victims is conducted by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International. No section, group or member is expected to provide information on their own country, and no section, group or member has any responsibility for action taken or statements issued by the international organization concerning their own country. Amnesty International has formal relations with the UN Economic and Social Council; the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; the Council of Europe; the Organization of American States; the Organization of African Unity; and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Amnesty International is financed by subscriptions and donations from its worldwide membership. No funds are sought or accepted from governments. To safeguard the independence of the organization, all contributions are strictly controlled by guidelines laid down by the International Council. 2 China: No one is safe an amnesty international briefing Amnesty International Publications 1 Easton Street London WC1X 8DJ United Kingdom First published: March 1996 AI Index: ASA 17/02/96 ISBN: 0 86210 256 1 On the cover A policeman and a local resident in Xinjiang © Abbas/Magnum Inside: Chinese calligraphy by a former Chinese prisoner of conscience. Page 1 Headline: New economics, old repression Text: A fifth of the world’s people are ruled by a government that treats fundamental human rights with contempt. Despite the dramatic economic changes in China in the past decade, human rights violations continue on a massive scale. Many of the abuses result from official policies and repressive legislation. Others are committed in breach of Chinese law itself as officials exercise their power arbitrarily and, often, with impunity. Dissent and any activity perceived as a threat to the established political order are ruthlessly suppressed. Thousands of political opponents, human rights defenders and members of religious or ethnic groups are in jail, many simply for expressing their beliefs. Hundreds of thousands of people — possibly many more — are administratively detained, many in forced labour camps, without ever having been charged with a crime. Torture remains endemic, causing many deaths each year. The death penalty is used extensively and arbitrarily to instil fear. More people are executed every year in China than in all other countries of the world combined. Social programs such as the birth control policy are administered in ways that allow for ill-treatment. In several regions, home to some of China’s many national minorities, people who try to express national, cultural or religious beliefs that are perceived as threatening to the state face repressive measures and brutal treatment by state officials. The full extent of the repression in China cannot be known as vast areas of the country have virtually no contact with the outside world and human rights monitoring by local or international groups is forbidden. What is clear is that anyone who crosses the authorities for any reason is not safe. The quality of life for some people has improved in recent years, mainly as a result of China’s rapid economic development. A growing entrepreneurial class is enjoying new riches and freedoms. In some areas, work units no longer exert the same control over everyday life. Lines of communication both internally and externally have expanded and new opportunities exist for foreign travel. 3 But the development has also created problems. Corruption has become rife. The gap between coastal and inland provinces, and between the rich and poor, has widened, creating new social tensions. An estimated 70 million people — more than the population of many countries — make up a “floating” population of rural migrants seeking work in the cities. They are frequently blamed by the authorities for China’s social ills, particularly rising levels of crime, and then victimized in sweeping crackdowns on crime. China’s economic modernization program has had little impact on the country’s formal political structures. The government is still dominated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The National People’s Congress, the country’s legislature, still has little power, and the judiciary remains under the influence of the CCP. Despite some new laws aimed at redressing human rights violations, there is no sign of any fundamental change in the official human rights policy or in aspects of the legal system which foster abuses. China’s increasing openness to the world through trade has not been matched by international cooperation on human rights. The government maintains that human rights are largely a matter of state sovereignty, arguing that no one has the right to interfere in its internal affairs. It rejects the vital principle, established by international law and the practice of all states working collectively in the UN, that the promotion and protection of human rights are matters of international concern. The world cannot ignore what is happening to a fifth of its people. What happens in China is an important measure of the state of human rights internationally. The international community must insist that the Chinese Government takes urgent steps to protect the fundamental human rights of all China’s citizens. Such measures can mean the difference between freedom and incarceration, or even life and death, for any of China’s 1.2 billion people. Quote: ‘Human rights, which should be universally enjoyed by all human beings, remain a luxury in present-day China...’ Ding Zilin, a human rights activist in China, 1993 Caption: Soldiers stand guard as a Tibetan woman walks around the Barkor circuit in the heart of Lhasa Credit: © Springer-Liaison/Frank Spooner Page 2 Headline: Abuse of power Text: Dun Jianwu made the mistake of asking the brother of the village Communist Party secretary if he could court his daughter. Soon after, on 30 March 1991, the two brothers and three policemen violently beat Dun Jianwu with a wooden pole and an electric stun gun. When he lost consciousness they dumped him on a roadside. He died later in hospital of severe head injuries. This is just one of many examples of how officials abuse their power in China. Often, they get away with it. Dun Jianwu’s tragedy was one of a minority of torture cases in which the perpetrators were eventually brought to justice. 4 Torture is endemic in China, despite the government’s declared opposition to its use. The authorities’ failure to introduce safeguards to prevent it or to bring many torturers to justice suggest that, in fact, torture often results from institutionalized practices and official policies. The most common forms of torture include severe beatings, whipping, kicking, the use of electric batons that give powerful shocks, the prolonged use of handcuffs or leg-irons in ways that cause intense pain, and suspension by the arms, often combined with beatings. Everyone is at risk of such treatment if they fall into the hands of officials, even if they are not suspected of a crime. The victims include children and the elderly and come from all walks of life. The most vulnerable are the poor. Criminal suspects are frequently tortured to make them “confess”. -Four girls aged under 16 and two young men were tortured in early 1995 in Fuxin, Liaoning province, by a Public Security section chief intent on making them “confess” to “hooliganism and promis-cuous behaviour”. They were repeatedly hit and given shocks with an electric baton. Torture is also used as an instrument of political repression against those who step out of line. Action to bring the perpetrators to justice is never taken in such cases. -Zheng Musheng, a farmer and house-church Christian from Donkou county, Henan province, was reportedly tortured to death in detention in January 1994. His family was only allowed to see his body 11 days later. They said there were deep rope burns on his ankles and multiple stab wounds on his body. These injuries were inconsistent with the police claim that he had been beaten to death by prison inmates. No progress has been reported in the family’s legal case seeking justice. -Li Dexian, a 43-year-old Protestant evangelist from Guangzhou, Guangdong province, was beaten and then kicked in the groin by police when they raided a house-church meeting in Beixing in February 1995. At the police station, they again beat him until he started to vomit blood and hit him in the face with a Bible. He was released after eight hours. He could not move his head and had suffered fractured ribs and injuries to his back and legs. No investigation is known to have taken place. Forced labour and “acknowledgement of guilt” are fundamental elements of China’s penal policy. Efforts to compel both lead almost inevitably to ill-treatment of prisoners. Often the perpetrators are “trustees” — prisoners entrusted by officials to supervise other prisoners. -Tong Yi, a political prisoner, was repeatedly beaten by two “trustees” at the Hewan labour camp in Wuhan, Hubei province, in early 1995 after she complained about long hours of work. After she complained about the beating, she was beaten again by more than 10 women prisoners. Dozens of deaths as a result of torture have been officially reported in recent years. The Henan Legal Daily reported in October 1993 that 41 prisoners and “innocent” suspects had died of torture during interrogation between 1990 and 1992 in Henan province alone. It stated that torture methods had become more cruel, citing cases in which victims had been drenched in boiling water, burned with cigarettes and had had electric prods placed on their genitals. Officials abuse their power in other ways too. Frequently, they manipulate or flout the law to imprison those perceived as enemies or who attempt to publicize information unfavourable to the authorities. -Wei Jingsheng, an outspoken critic of the government, was arrested in early April 1994. He was held for more than 19 months without charge under provisions in the law that allow for unlimited detention without charge for “supervised residence”. He was believed to have been detained for expressing his views about politics and human rights issues, and for having contacts with foreign nationals. A former prisoner of conscience, he had been released on parole in September 1993 after spending more than 14 years in jail. Another tactic of officials has been to prosecute people under “state secrets” legislation even though national security was not at risk. 5 -Xi Yang, a journalist, was sentenced in March 1994 to 12 years’ imprisonment for “stealing and prying into state secrets”. The accusation related to banking information he had published in a Hong Kong newspaper which he had allegedly gleaned from documents given to him by a bank clerk. Quote: ‘The People’s Republic of China [remains] a place where serious human rights abuses, particularly arbitrary detention and torture, could happen to anyone at any time.’ Xiao Qiang, Executive Director of Human Rights in China Quote: ‘Inmates are often beaten until they are blood-stained all over, collapse or lose consciousness.’ A political prisoner writing about conditions in Guangzhou No.1 labour camp in Guangdong province, 1994 Caption: An army officer in a crowd in the city of Shenzhen Credit: © Sinopix Headline: Twice a victim Text: Yan Zhengxue is a 50-year-old painter and former deputy of a local People’s Congress in Zhejiang province. On 2 July 1993 a seemingly innocuous row with a bus conductor in Beijing threw him into a world of rampant abuse of power by officials. The conductor called the police, who took Yan Zhengxue to Haidian district police station. There, three policemen beat him mercilessly without a word of explanation. Late that night he was thrown out onto the street, barely able to move. A passer-by took him to hospital, where he was treated for multiple bruising and cuts. He filed a suit against his attackers with the local court. Eventually, with the help of a vigorous public campaign, one of his torturers was tried in April 1994 and sentenced to a suspended one-year prison term and ordered to pay compensation. A few days later Yan Zhengxue was arrested on a trumped-up charge of having stolen a bicycle in 1993. He was sentenced in April 1994 without trial to two years of “re-education through labour”. Today, Yan Zhengxue is in a forced labour camp, while his torturers remain free. Page 3 Headline: Trading in torture Text: Torture using electric-shock batons (diangun) is widely practised in China. Batons are applied to sensitive parts of the body, including the armpits, soles of the feet, mouth, genitals and inside the vagina. Victims report extreme pain, convulsions, vomiting and urinating blood. Until recently many such batons were supplied to China from abroad. The head of a British firm stated in 1995 that his company had sold electric batons to China a year after the 1989 Beijing 6 massacre knowing that the authorities intended to copy and manufacture them. He said his marketing trip to China had been sponsored by the British Government’s Department of Trade and Industry. Chinese companies now manufacture electro-shock batons. A Taiwanese firm has also marketed such batons in China and US firms have sold security equipment to China that may have included electro-shock equipment. Amnesty International opposes the transfer of military, security or police equipment which contribute to human rights violations. It believes that governments and companies should prevent such transfers unless it can be reasonably demonstrated that they will not contribute to human rights abuses. No electro-shock devices should be supplied to China until the Chinese authorities end the practice of electric-shock torture. Headline: A law unto themselves Text: The Chinese authorities have created swathes of repressive legislation under which political opponents, human rights defenders, members of religious and ethnic groups and many others are detained or intimidated. When these laws do not suffice, officials often abuse other aspects of the law to achieve the same ends. ‘Counter-revolutionary’ offences -The 1980 Criminal Law outlaws “crimes of counter-revolution”, defined as all acts “committed with the goal of overthrowing the political power of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the socialist system”. -Punishment is anything up to the death penalty. -Prisoners of conscience are frequently jailed under these provisions as they ban virtually any opposition group or the expression of virtually any dissenting view. -Some 2,678 prisoners convicted of “counter-revolutionary” offences were in jail in January 1995, according to a Ministry of Justice official, although the true number of political prisoners is much higher. State security offences -The 1993 State Security Law and its 1994 rules of implementation restrict fundamental freedoms — such as freedom of speech, publication, association and religion — and give sweeping powers to the state security organs. -Its vague formulation allows punishment of any activity perceived as a threat to the established political order. ‘State secrets’ offences -“State secrets” legislation covers matters which would be the subject of public scrutiny in most other countries and goes far beyond what is needed to protect national security. -Since 1992 a growing number of prisoners of conscience have been detained and jailed for “leaking state secrets”, particularly journalists, indicating that the law is increasingly being used to repress freedom of expression and publication. Administrative detention “Shelter and investigation” allows the police, on their own authority, to detain anyone without charge for up to three months, merely on the suspicion that they may have been involved in a crime. -In around a third of known cases, people are held for longer than three months. -In practice, police use the provisions for “shelter and investigation” to detain anyone they choose. Most victims are the less educated or less privileged, particularly migrant workers. 7 -Several hundred thousand people have been detained on average every year for “shelter and investigation” since the early 1980s. The official figures were 930,000 cases in 1989 and 902,000 in 1990. -“Re-education through labour” is imposed as a punishment, without charge or trial, for up to three years, renewable by one year. -It is applied to people considered to have “anti-socialist views” or to be “hooligans” or petty criminals whose “crimes” are too minor to bother the courts with. -In recent years both forms of administrative detention have been increasingly used to silence and punish dissidents and members of religious or ethnic groups. Caption: Palden Gyatso, a Tibetan monk, displays the type of torture instruments used on him in prison Credit: © David Hoffman Caption: A labour camp in northern China Credit: © SKRC/Katz Pictures Page 4 Headline: Silencing dissent Text: Anyone who steps out of line in China is likely to suffer violations of their basic human rights. Some are punished under sweeping legislation that outlaws virtually any expression of dissent. Others are victims of officials who arbitrarily exercise their power. Time and again, the authorities have demonstrated that they are willing to use any means, whether legal or illegal, to silence criticism and protect their political interests. Political dissidents In June 1989 the Chinese authorities exposed to the world how they respond to popular protests: they sent tanks and troops to “clear” Tiananmen Square in Beijing and physically crushed the heart of a widespread pro-democracy movement. Many people were killed. In the crackdown that followed, hundreds of people were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for “counter-revolutionary” offences. They are among thousands of other prisoners who have been jailed in the past decade for advocating political reforms or forming small political groups. -Chen Lantao, a marine biologist in Qingdao, has been serving an 18-year prison sentence in Shandong province since 1989 for speaking out against the government’s suppression of the Beijing protests. Repression of political opposition has continued ever since, with many dissidents detained every year. -Chen Yanbin and Zhang Yafei, two young unemployed men, were sentenced in 1991 in Beijing to 15 and 11 years’ imprisonment respectively for carrying out “counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement” and forming a “counter-revolutionary group”. Among the accusations they faced was forming a political group, the Chinese Revolutionary Democratic Front. -Fifteen prisoners of conscience were detained in 1992 in Beijing and jointly indicted in late July 1993 on “counter-revolutionary” charges. They were accused of forming underground dissident 8 groups and of writing and printing political leaflets. In December 1994, after a grossly unfair trial, nine of them were sentenced to between three and 20 years in prison. Five were found guilty but “exempted from criminal punishment” and one was sentenced to two years of “supervision”, which involves restrictions on freedom of movement. Since 1994 many people have been arbitrarily detained in Beijing and elsewhere even though they were trying to bring about changes within the narrow confines of the law. Labour activists In China’s “dictatorship of the proletariat”, workers are free to join only one trade union, the official All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). Those who have attempted to organize independent labour groups have been imprisoned or detained without charge, even when they have worked within the law. During the 1989 pro-democracy move-ment, groups of workers in various cities formed Workers Autonomous Federations as an alternative to the ACFTU. These were quickly banned after the 4 June 1989 crackdown and their organizers arrested and prosecuted on “counter-revolutionary” charges. Other labour activists were also detained. -Cao Yingyun, a 44-year-old worker at the Second Machine Tool Factory in Beijing, was sentenced in 1989 to 10 years in prison and three years’ deprivation of political rights. He was found guilty of “counter-revolutionary incitement and propaganda” for his attempts to defend workers’ interests. In early 1992 the Preparatory Com-mittee of the Free Labour Union of China distributed leaflets in Beijing encouraging workers to form free trade unions. The organizers were secretly arrested in May and June 1992. -Liu Jingsheng, a worker at the Tongyi Chemical Plant in Tong county, outside Beijing, was one of those arrested. He was charged with “organizing and leading a counter-revolutionary group” and “carrying out counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement”. In December 1994 he was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment plus four years’ deprivation of political rights. In 1994 a group of people were secretly arrested in Beijing as they were preparing to legally register the League for the Protection of the Rights of Working People. -Among them were Zhou Guoqiang and Zhang Lin, who were sentenced to three years of “re-education through labour”, and Liu Huawen, who received two years of “re-education through labour”. Human rights defenders “I am no longer afraid. I have already died once in prison. Once you have been there, you are never really afraid again.” These words were spoken by Ren Wanding a few weeks before he was detained in Beijing in 1989. A veteran human rights campaigner, he is one of many human rights defenders who have bravely tried to speak out. He was sentenced in 1991 to seven years’ imprisonment for “carrying out counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement”. This was based on his calls for respect for human rights, free speech and the rule of law. Many people in Tibet have been harassed or jailed for collecting or circulating information about human rights since the 1980s. -Gedun Rinchen was arrested in early May 1993 after being found with letters describing the human rights situation in Tibet. He had intended to hand them to a delegation of European ambassadors visiting Lhasa. He was accused of “stealing state secrets” and engaging in “activities aimed at splitting the country”, but was released in January 1994 follow-ing international appeals on his behalf. -Ten monks from Drepung monastery and one lay Tibetan were sentenced in 1989 to prison terms ranging from five to 19 years for circulating human rights and political pamphlets. These included a Tibetan translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human rights activists have suffered a similar fate elsewhere. 9 -At least eight people who attempted to register a Human Rights Association in Shanghai were arrested in 1994. Some were sentenced to terms of “re-education through labour” without being charged or tried. The intimidation has not silenced the voices demanding human rights improvements. Between March and May 1995, several groups of people in Beijing, including well-known intellectuals and former prisoners of conscience, signed numerous petitions to the authorities calling for more democracy and human rights reforms. More than 50 of them were detained, mainly in Beijing. Some were released after interrogation but at least 10 were reported to be still held without charge in September 1995. Those released were placed under surveillance and some were told to leave Beijing. Religious groups Some religious groups are more equal than others in China. Christians, for example, are free to worship in churches recognized by the government. But if they join one of the growing number of unregistered groups they face harassment, imprisonment and even death as a result of torture. Buddhists and Muslims are also persecuted when the authorities deem that their aspiration for religious freedom is associated with nationalist movements, such as in Tibet and Xinjiang. Repression of unauthorized religious activities has intensified in the past two years. Two new national regulations on religion came into force in 1994. Many peaceful but unregistered religious gatherings have been raided by police, and those attending have been beaten, threatened and detained. Lay members are usually released on payment of fines, but those considered “leaders” are often sentenced to prison terms or administratively detained for long periods. -More than 200 Christians were detained in Xihua county, Henan province, between October 1994 and June 1995 in a crack-down on unregistered Protestant house churches. -Thirty Roman Catholics were arrested in Jiangxi province in April 1995 in connection with their Easter Sunday Mass celebrations on Yi Jia Shan mountain in Chongren county. Some were later imprisoned, including an 18-year-old woman, Rao Yanping, who was sentenced to four years in prison. Quote: ‘You are illegal and may have to face criminal charges if you do not register. But when you try to do so, there is no way you will succeed.’ A human rights activist detained in 1994, speaking about Shanghai’s Human Rights Association’s application for registration Quote: ‘We should be vigilant against these hostile organizations and hostile elements at home and abroad who try a thousand and one ways to find gaps in the present laws, in an attempt to use so-called legal forms to cover their illegal activities.’ The Legal Daily, June 1994 Caption: Bao Ge, a human rights defender in Shanghai, was arrested in June 1994 shortly after sending an open letter to the Chinese Government requesting permission to establish an organization called the Voice of Human Rights. In September 1994 he was sentenced without trial to three years of “re-education through labour”. Caption: Inside the walls of a prison in Beijing Credit: 10 © Xinhua/Frank Spooner Page 5 Headline: Birth control policy Text: The official line Family planning is “voluntary”, although birth control has been compulsory since 1979. Government demographers recommend stabilization of the population at 1.3 billion by the year 2000, which they say can only be achieved through “strict measures”. “Coercion is not permitted”, according to the State Family Planning Commission. Some facts -Women pregnant outside the plan have been abducted and forced to have abortions or undergo sterilization. -Pregnant women have been detained and threatened until they agree to have abortions. -People who refuse to comply with the policy have been harassed and some have been ill-treated by officials. -“Above-quota” new-born babies have reportedly been killed by doctors under pressure from officials. -The homes of couples who refuse to obey the child quotas have been demolished. -Relatives of those who cannot pay fines imposed for having had too many children have been held hostage until the money was paid. -Those helping families to have “above quota” children have been severely punished. -Those committing human rights violations while enforcing the birth control policy often go unpunished. A victim An unmarried woman in Hebei province who had adopted one of her brother’s children was detained several times in an attempt to force her brother to pay fines for having had too many children. In November 1994 she was held for seven days with a dozen other men and women. She was reportedly blindfolded, stripped naked, tied and beaten with an electric baton. Quote: ‘It was part of my work to force women...to have abortions. In the evening, when the couple was likely to be at home, we would go to their houses and drag the woman out. If the woman was not at home, we would take her husband or another member along and keep them in custody until the woman turned herself in.’ A former family planning official, 1993 Caption: A poster extolling the virtues of the one-child policy in China Credit: © Sean Sprague/Panos Page 6 Headline: Regional repression 11 Text: -China has 56 different nationalities, totalling 81 million people. -There are 157 national autonomous areas, including five autonomous regions, 30 autonomous prefectures and 122 autonomous counties. “Discrimination against and oppression of any nationality are prohibited...” 1991 Chinese Government white paper, Human Rights in China “We should use the weapon of the people’s democratic dictatorship and in accordance with the law crack down without mercy on those who... undermine the unity of nationalities and split the motherland under the cloak of religion.” The official Tibet Daily, March 1995 In China’s many diverse regions, members of ethnic groups live under the shadow of repressive laws and regulations which deny them the right to express peacefully their national, religious or cultural aspirations. Official policies also allow those in authority to exercise their power arbitrarily and flagrantly abuse human rights. In the Tibet Autonomous Region, the authorities have mercilessly repressed all signs of opposition. Amnesty International takes no position on the political status of Tibet or any other region. Its concerns rest solely with the persistent pattern of gross human rights violations in these areas. Thousands of people have been arbitrarily detained and many have been tortured since a resurgence of demonstrations in favour of Tibetan independence began in September 1987. Dozens of demonstrators have been shot dead by security forces. Others have been imprisoned for peaceful activities such as chanting slogans, displaying the Tibetan national flag and distributing pro-independence leaflets. Many children and juveniles have been jailed and tortured. In recent years, repression has intensified in rural areas following a growth in unrest. Increasing numbers of lay men and women have been arbitrarily detained. In 1994 new regulations were passed to suppress nationalist demonstrations and as a result many monasteries and nunneries have been raided. By early 1995 at least 650 political detainees were being held, most of them monks and nuns detained solely for their peaceful expression of support for Tibetan independence. -Lobsang Tsondru, a Buddhist monk and theologian from Drepung monastery near Lhasa, was around 80 years old when arrested in 1990. He is serving a six-year prison sentence for “involvement in illegal activities”. In 1993 he was reported to be suffering from a heart condition. -Jigme Sangpo, a former primary school teacher now in his sixties, will have spent 28 unbroken years in jail as a prisoner of conscience in 2011, the year he is due for release. He was originally sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in 1983 for “counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement”. This has twice been supplemented by further jail sentences for shouting pro-independence slogans in jail. -Phuntsog Nyidron, a 28-year-old nun from Michungri Nunnery, was originally sentenced in 1989 to nine years in prison for staging a short and peaceful pro-independence demonstration in Lhasa. Her sentence was later increased to 17 years for recording nationalist songs in prison. People in several other regions have been victim of serious human rights violations in connection with demands for political independence or respect of cultural identity. The best documented reports come from Xinjiang Autonomous Region and to a lesser extent from Inner Mongolia. In Xinjiang, many people have been detained for political reasons over the years but their fate is unknown. In Baren, a Uighur rural county in eastern Xinjiang, weeks of protests culminated in 12 violent clashes in April 1990 between the security forces and Uighurs who had gathered in a mosque. Several people were killed. A severe crackdown followed, with several thousand people reportedly arrested across the region. Many were tortured. Three were later sentenced to death and executed. -Kajikhumar Shabdan (Hajihumaer), an ethnic Kazakh writer and poet in his seventies, was detained in July 1987 and later sentenced to 15 years in prison, reportedly for “espionage”. He may be a prisoner of conscience, jailed for his writings which criticized the authorities. Repression of those supporting greater autonomy in Inner Mongolia has also been reported, with many people reportedly detained for political reasons. Information from the region has been extremely difficult to gather. -Ulaanshuvu (Wulan Shaobu) was arrested in July 1991 in Hohhot. A 37-year-old university lecturer, married with a child, he was a member of the Inner Mongolian Alliance for the Defence of Human Rights and the Youth Mongolian Cultural Revival Movement. In April 1994 he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for “counter-revolutionary incitement and spreading subversive propaganda” because of his peaceful activities. His trial lasted less than 30 minutes. Caption: Tibetan Buddhists at a prayer meeting in Lhasa Credit: © Catherine Platt/Panos Caption: Women in Xinjiang province Credit: © Furtner-Contrast/Frank Spooner Caption: A mass sentencing rally in Pehong prefecture, Yunnan province Credit: © Xinhua/Frank Spooner Page 7 Headline: Death by numbers Text: A young man is forced to his knees. His hands and feet are tied, his head is bowed. A soldier orders him to be quiet. Then a shot rings out and the man crumples to the ground. A moment later another shot, and another crumpled body. And again and again until dozens of lives have been ended in cold blood. The scene is a mass execution. They are not uncommon in China, where thousands of people are sentenced to death every year. Some happen in public. Most take place at discreet execution grounds after the condemned prisoners have been paraded at mass rallies or driven through the streets on the back of lorries. The Chinese authorities use the death penalty extensively to create fear. The fear is supposed to stop crime. It does not. Yet every year more people are executed in China than in all other countries of the world combined. In many cases the death penalty is applied arbitrarily and with no safeguards against miscarriages of justice. 13 China has continued to widen the scope of the death penalty. Today, an estimated 68 offences are punishable by death and increasing numbers of people are being executed for non-violent offences. Inter-national standards stipulate that the death penalty should be used only for the “most serious crimes”. Almost every aspect of the way the death penalty is applied in China is stained by practices which violate the most fundamental human rights. -Spates of executions often precede major festivals or international events and usually accompany official announce-ments of anti-crime campaigns. -The death penalty has been widely applied during crackdowns on opposition. Dozens of people were summarily executed in Beijing and elsewhere following the 1989 pro-democracy protests. Muslim nationalists have been executed in Xinjiang in recent years for alleged involvement in underground opposition groups or bombings. -A growing number of people are being executed each year for relatively minor economic offences. In 1994, for instance, two peasants were put to death in Henan province for stealing 36 cows and agricultural machinery worth US$9,300. -Legislation introduced in 1983 allows for extremely summary and speedy trials in death penalty cases. Summary trials are particularly common during “law and order” campaigns. For example, at public rallies throughout Guangxi province in June 1995, 34 people were pronounced guilty of drug smuggling and immediately executed. -Defendants can be tried without the help of a lawyer and without knowing the accusations they face until they reach court. Verdicts are frequently decided before trial as a result of political interference. -Some people are condemned solely on the basis of confessions, which may have been extracted under torture. -Executions can take place within a few days of sentencing. Appeals are a mere formality and rarely succeed. -Prisoners condemned to death suffer cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. They are shackled from the time they are sentenced until they are executed and are often paraded in public. People have been executed in China for all of these crimes in 1995... poisoning of livestock - murder - attempted murder - manslaughter - killing a tiger - armed robbery - robbery - rape - causing injury - assault - habitual theft - theft - burglary - kidnapping - trafficking in women or children - organizing prostitution - pimping - organizing pornography rings - publishing pornography - hooliganism - seriously disrupting public order - causing explosions - destroying or causing damage to public or private property - “counter-revolutionary sabotage” - arson - drug-trafficking - corruption - embezzlement - taking bribes - fraud - speculation and profiteering - forgery - reselling value-added tax receipts - tax evasion - stealing or illegally manufacturing weapons - illegally possessing or selling firearms and ammunition - stealing or dealing in national treasures or cultural relics - selling counterfeit money - blackmail. Organ transplants The official line “The removal of organs of the convicted criminals who have been sentenced to death requires the consent and signature of the criminal or the consent of his or her relatives as well as the approval of the judicial departments.” Wang Min, Chinese diplomat at the United Nations, April 1995 Some facts 14 -Condemned prisoners are permanently shackled, have no access to lawyers and their mail is censored. They are told only hours before execution if their appeal has failed. In these circumstances, it is highly unlikely that their consent was free and informed, if it was sought at all. -The close liaison between courts, health departments and hospitals, as well as the secrecy surrounding the process and the much-needed income generated for hospitals by transplants suggest that in some cases the carrying out and timing of death sentences may be influenced by the need for organs for transplant. Quote: ‘If you cut off a head by mistake, there is no way to rectify the mistake, even if you want to.’ Mao Zedong, 1956 Li Xiuwu was pardoned in 1995, seven years after he had been executed for murdering a farmer. Caption: The bodies of several men following execution Credit: © Xinhua/Frank Spooner Page 8 Headline: Human rights are everyone’s business Text: The world watched in horror as tanks rolled towards Tiananmen Square in June 1989, crushing everything in their way. Millions of people saw televised pictures of the shooting, terror and panic. Many responded by leaving their armchairs to join mass spontaneous protests in dozens of major cities around the world. Nearly seven years later, Amnesty International is asking the world to respond once again. Human rights violations continue on a massive scale in China and the Chinese people need and deserve our continued support. China’s rapid economic development offers new opportunities to increase human rights awareness. Increasing numbers of people in China have contact with the outside world. New lines of communication exist. Foreign nationals have greater access to the country, particularly through trade, and Chinese students and others can travel abroad. This provides enormous potential for promoting a common understanding of human rights. The Chinese Government has shown that it is sensitive to world opinion. All too often, however, those with most contact with Chinese leaders — foreign governments and businesses — have chosen to ignore human rights issues. In international forums such as the United Nations, governments have buckled under political pressure and refrained from criticizing China. The UN Commis-sion on Human Rights has failed to pass a single resolution condemning the massacre of civilians during the 1989 crackdown or the many subsequent and well-documented human rights violations across the country. The Chinese Government has done everything in its power to deflect criticism and avoid scrutiny of its human rights record. Its tactics must be exposed, its arguments countered. On the world stage the government says it recognizes the universality of UN human rights standards. Yet it also consistently argues that states must be free to implement these standards 15 according to their specific cultural, historical and political circumstances. In practice, such freedom amounts to a licence for state violations of basic human rights. The government says the right to subsistence and development is paramount for the Chinese people. But the need to feed the hungry can never justify torture, and there is no evidence that denying people such a fundamental right as freedom of speech improves their economic well-being. In practice, the Chinese authorities reject the most remarkable achievement of the UN: the recognition that there are universal minimum human rights guarantees which all states must abide by and that the international community has a right and duty to hold all states to account if they fail to respect these rights. China is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. As such it has considerable influence and is responsible for upholding international human rights norms. If China wants to be a full member of the international community, it must accept the greater accountability and openness that come with that membership. The international community must also live up to its responsibilities. The world’s governments, regional organizations such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and China’s trading partners all have the means to exert sustained pressure on the Chinese authorities to respect human rights. So far they have shown neither the will nor the vision to do so. The pressure for action can come from you. It can come from all those who were appalled by the 1989 massacre in Beijing and who care about what is happening to a fifth of humanity. Governments and businesses dealing with the Chinese authorities can be approached and urged to invest in human rights. Many business leaders acknowledge that improved human rights and respect for the law will enhance economic possibilities. You can ask your friends, relatives and colleagues to join Amnesty International and its campaign against human rights violations in China. You can raise human rights concerns in China in letters to the Chinese authorities, your own government and any-one with contacts in China. You can show the Chinese people and their government that people all over the world, whether they live in Bangkok or Buenos Aires, Bombay or Birmingham, care about what is happening in China and will campaign to stop human rights abuses. Your solidarity and your efforts can make a difference. Until the Chinese Government lives up to its obligations under international human rights law, the only international guarantee for human rights in China is you. Amnesty International is asking for your help: the rights of 1.2 billion people depend on it. Trading standards Amnesty International calls on all businesses dealing with China to: -Ensure that their working practices in China set an example to others by respecting the fundamental human rights of their employees, particularly the right to free speech and association. -Help to put pressure on the Chinese authorities whenever possible to introduce safeguards to protect human rights and end the arbitrary exercise of power by officials. -Raise awareness about basic international human rights standards by distributing human rights information, promoting business codes of ethics and supporting human rights education initiatives. Quote: ‘As human rights are of universal concern and are universal in value, the advocacy of human rights cannot be considered to be an encroachment upon national sovereignty.’ Bangkok Non-Governmental Organizations’ Declaration on Human Rights, 1993 16 Caption: Skyscrapers tower over the old town of Shenzhen Credit: © Colorific! Caption: A truck carrying prisoners convicted of economic crimes through the streets of Guangzhou Credit: © Wishnetsky/SIPA/Rex Features Inside back cover: Recommendations To the Chinese Government: -Establish a national commission of inquiry to review thoroughly the circumstances in which human rights violations occur and the legal and other remedies needed to eradicate them. -End impunity by ensuring that all human rights violations are thoroughly, promptly and impartially investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. -Stop and prevent torture by introducing safeguards for prisoners and prohibiting all acts of torture and ill-treatment, in conformity with the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which China is a State Party. -End arbitrary detention and imprisonment by releasing immediately and unconditionally all prisoners of conscience and by ensuring that all political prisoners are charged with a recognizably criminal offence in accordance with international standards and brought to trial fairly and in a reasonable time, or released. -Ensure fair trials according to international standards. -Stop the use of the death penalty. -Stop abuses resulting from the birth control policy. -Take measures to protect human rights defenders. -Ratify international human rights treaties and cooperate with UN human rights mechanisms. To the international community and all those with contacts in China: -Encourage the Chinese Government to ratify international human rights treaties and invite UN human rights experts and relevant human rights organizations to visit China to investigate human rights. -Whenever possible open up dialogue with the Chinese authorities on human rights issues and exert pressure on them to conform to international human rights norms. -Use every opportunity when developing cultural or economic links with Chinese people to create a common understanding of human rights. -Ensure that no security equipment is transferred to China where there is reason to believe that such equipment will contribute to arbitrary detentions, torture or ill-treatment.