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China: Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders highlights arrests & other threats to human rights defenders in new report

"CHRD Releases “They Target My Human Rights Work as a Crime”: Annual Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in China (2016)", 16 Feb 2017

...Promoting and protecting human rights remained a high-risk activity in 2016, says CHRD in its annual report...on the situation of human rights defenders in China...The Chinese government intensified crackdowns on human rights defenders (HRDs) and criminalized rights activities as “political” threats to “national security.”...The Chinese government punished them with arbitrary detention, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, and torture. In addition, their families faced collective punishment. Police systematically deprived detained HRDs of due process rights, such as the right to a fair trial and access to independent legal counsel. Authorities also rolled out a series of draconian laws and regulations that give police even more power to criminalize human rights activities...

(b) Quelling Protests: From Brute Force to Communication Blockades... For many years, the number of protests in China — over pollution, labor disputes, land grabs, forced demolitions, and other issues — have been estimated to be in the tens of thousands...146 Authorities used force in response to demonstrations, beating and detaining participants...For instance, over one thousand police in Xi’an crushed a rally by residents opposing a proposed waste incinerator plant in October...

For China to live up to its public pledges to protect human rights and to uphold the Chinese Constitution, the...government must immediately stop criminalizing the activities of human rights defenders, including lawyers. Furthermore, CHRD calls on the government to..repeal draconian stipulations in national legislation that abridge the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association; and allow national and international NGOs to play a full and active role in promoting and protecting human rights in China.

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