China accused of increasing repression of activists cooperating with UN

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Originally published by Outlook on November 1, 2018

Beijing, Nov 1 Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) on Thursday alleged that China’s government has become more aggressive in the last four years in reprisals against activists and organizations that cooperated with the UN in the country and abroad.

The NGO in a statement said that the representatives of the Chinese government at the UN were “methodically obstructing UN human rights operations, weakening UN mechanisms and distorting universal human rights standards”, Efe news reported.

It added that “the Chinese government had taken harsh measures to prevent HRDs from attending international human rights trainings and meetings with independent UN human rights experts, and to block HRDs from sharing information with UN treaty bodies and special procedures, punishing those who seek such engagement and cooperation”.

CHRD said that the government used intimidation, harassment, travel bans, physical assaults, enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detention and had also revoked the licenses of human rights lawyers, among other things.

Chinese agents intimidate and threaten the human rights defenders with kidnappings, assaults along with harassing them online either openly or anonymously, the NGO said.

The reprisals against the activists became more emboldened since activist Cao Shunli’s death in custody in March 2014 after being kidnapped and tortured, the statement said.

Cao had to undergo such a treatment “as punishment for seeking to participate in the first and second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on China”.

A UPR analyzes the human rights situation of the member nations.

“Reprisals were now part and parcel of the government’s campaign to mold international human rights institutions and norms to its own liking,” said the NGO.

The organization urged the UN representatives to hold the government accountable in the upcoming UPR meeting on November 6 with China in Geneva.

All detained or imprisoned human rights defenders in China, who promoted the protection of human rights through engaging with the UN, must be freed immediately and unconditionally, the NGO said.


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