The EU urged China to free dozens of activists during a human rights meeting in Beijing this week, three years after a crackdown that jailed scores of lawyers and activists.
The EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, which ended on Tuesday, came at a sensitive time for China, as families and activists marked the detention of hundreds of people in what has become known as the “709 crackdown” on July 9, 2015.
Since taking office in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has adopted a zero-tolerance approach to dissent, tightened the party’s grip over the legal profession and overseen the jailing of dozens of rights activists.
The EU delegation late on Tuesday said it raised nearly 30 cases with its Chinese counterparts, from Muslim minority Uighurs “detained in violation of their fundamental human rights” to Tibetan religious figures jailed for speaking out.
Chinese officials tend to bristle at talk of individual cases and prefer to discuss only the principles of human rights issues, Beijing-based Western diplomats said.
Among those singled out by the EU were Gui Minhai (桂民海), a Swedish national and Hong Kong-based book publisher, who was abducted while on holiday in Thailand in 2015, and Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), a rights lawyer held incommunicado for three years.
“The EU also stated its expectation that all detained individuals be allowed to be represented by a lawyer of their choosing … and have allegations of their torture and mistreatment promptly investigated,” the EU statement said.
China rejects foreign criticism of its human rights record and points to its successes in pulling millions of people out of poverty as proof of human rights progress in China.
China asked the EU to objectively view China’s rights achievements and raised the issues of immigrant protection and sexual discrimination in the EU, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Yu Wensheng (余文生), a rights lawyer who defended colleagues arrested in the crackdown, was also on the EU’s list.
Yu was stripped of his legal license and arrested on charges of subversion in January, after he circulated a letter calling for the revision of the Chinese constitution.
“They keep extending the detention period and I’m really worried that they will just keep on extending it without reason,” said Yu’s wife, Xu Yan (許艷), who has been advocating on behalf of her husband. “It’s inhumane the way that they keep us in the dark.”
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified “scorpion-like” toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks. Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its Aboriginal name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe. A team of Australian scientists said that they now better understand why the gympie-gympie’s sting haunts those unlucky enough to brush up against its leaves. Victims report an initial sting that “feels like fire at first, then subsides over hours to a pain reminiscent