A group of girls who had been forced to leave school when they became pregnant, Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2016
A group of girls who had been forced to leave school when they became pregnant, Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2016
Wang Quanzhang was the last lawyer awaiting a verdict in connection with the Chinese government’s mass crackdown in 2015, which targeted nearly 250 human rights lawyers and activists. “In the three years leading up to his sham of a trial, the authorities disappeared Wang Quanzhang into a black hole, where he was likely tortured”, said Doriane Lau, China Researcher at Amnesty International, in January 2019. “Wang’s family, who continue to be harassed by the authorities, didn’t even know if he was alive until recently. His continued imprisonment only prolongs their suffering.”
At the end of January 2019, a Chinese court found human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang guilty of “subverting state power” and handed him a prison sentence of four and a half years. Amnesty International described the verdict as a gross injustice.
Responding to the death of Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who was reprimanded by Wuhan police after he tried to issue the first warnings about the novel coronavirus and was then diagnosed with the virus himself, Amnesty International’s Regional Director Nicholas Bequelin said:
“The case of Li Wenliang is a tragic reminder of how the Chinese authorities’ preoccupation with maintaining ‘stability’ drives it to suppress vital information about matters of public interest.
By Nicholas Bequelin, Regional Director at Amnesty International
Mesut Ozil’s social media post about the political situation in Xinjiang has prompted an angry response from the Chinese authorities. The Arsenal footballer’s accusation that China is persecuting the predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority has been dismissed by Beijing as “fake news”. Meanwhile, a Gunners match was pulled from the state TV schedule and Chinese football fans have reportedly burned Arsenal shirts in protest at the player’s comments.
Amnesty International has extensively documented the situation in Xinjiang over the past several years. We have interviewed more than 400 people outside of China whose relatives in Xinjiang are still missing, as well as individuals who said they were tortured while in detention camps there. We also collected satellite photos of the camps and analysed official Chinese documents that detail the mass-internment programme. This is what is really happening:
In 2010, Google, the largest search engine in the world, made a promise not to support China’s censorship of the internet. But in 2018 it was revealed that Google was preparing to break its promise.
Google started working on a secretive program to re-launch its search engine in China code-named “Google Dragonfly”. People using Google in China would be blocked from accessing banned websites like Wikipedia and Facebook. Content from search terms like ‘human rights’ would be banned. The Chinese government would also be able to spy on Google’s users – and this is a government that routinely sends people to prison for simply sharing their views online.
To raise attention about the issue, Amnesty produced a couple of spoof videos that were widely circulated online. To increase pressure on Google to “drop Dragonfly”, we launched a global petition and Amnesty volunteers held demonstrations outside of Google’s offices around the world - including in Toronto.
Even many of Google’s employees were appalled by the Google Dragonfly project and spoke out against it.
To see a loved one wrongfully detained is a painful ordeal. But to not know where they are detained, or if they are even alive at all, is even harder.
This is the situation faced by hundreds of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic Muslim people living overseas while their relatives languish in Chinese political detention camps.
To make matters worse, their desperate search for information is being hindered by their own family members still in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). This is not because those relatives don’t want to help; instead, it’s because they fear cooperating could mean they are the next ones sent to the notorious camps.
“Transformation-through-education centres” is the euphemistic term the Chinese government prefers to use for these facilities. It claims the individuals held there receive “vocational training” to help them with their “radical thoughts”.
Terrified to talk
DROP PROJECT DRAGONFLY
Google publicly exited the search engine market in China in 2010, citing restrictions to freedom of expression online. Since then, the Chinese government has strengthened its controls over the internet and intensified its crackdown on freedom of expression.
Indicating a reversal in strategy, Google is now preparing to re-enter the Chinese search engine market, and is developing a new, search engine app codenamed “Dragonfly” that would facilitate China’s online censorship and surveillance. This would represent an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights, and a dark day for internet freedom as it would legitimize China’s model of internet repression for other governments and set a precedent for tech companies compromising human rights in exchange for access to new markets.
It has been reported in the media that Google is now planning to drop its Dragonfly project. While this is amazing news, it isn't confirmed yet, so we intend to keep the pressure on until it it official.
Want a job at Google?
(To apply you’ll need good coding skills… and absolutely no morals).
In 2010, the largest search engine in the world made a promise not to support China’s censorship of the internet. But it was recently revealed that Google is preparing to break its promise.
Google has been working on a secretive program to re-launch its search engine in China code-named Google Dragonfly - even if it means cooperating with the Chinese government’s repressive online censorship and surveillance.
By Lü Pin, Chinese Feminist Activist
The tidal wave of sexual harassment allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men spurred millions of women to speak up online about their disturbing experiences.
Ten years after African American activist Tarana Burke coined #MeToo after meeting a victim of sexual violence, the social media campaign is an unexpected victory for the women’s movement. Due to the bravery of these women the offenders may finally be held to account.
By Nathan VanderKlippe
Amnesty note: On August 23 Nathan VanderKlippe called Amnesty in Toronto to contact a member of the Uighur Society in Canada. A few minutes later he was arrested.
Late in the evening of Aug. 23, I drove a rented car to Elishku township in Yarkand County. Within 15 minutes of arrival, police began to arrive. Local villagers, I believe, had reported my presence. I was escorted to a local government office, where I was questioned by the local party secretary, police chief, officials from the propaganda department and local waiban, as well as agents from the Ministry of State Security. When police demanded to look through my photographs, I called my contact at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who after a lengthy phone call said the local officials would only heed his intervention if he sent a formal document. As it was midnight by this time, this was not a feasible option. My MFA contact, however, said the local officials had agreed to only look at and not delete photographs. I showed them my pictures. They did not delete any, largely because there were none to delete.
Chinese authorities announced today that Liu Xiaobo, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has passed away.
Information on Liu Xiaobo’s ill health, who was suffering from terminal liver cancer, was released only after he became too ill to recover. Several Western countries have previously asked that Mr. Liu be allowed to seek treatment abroad. The request was refused. Worse yet, he was kept under guard in a hospital and kept silenced.
Because of his demand for greater human rights in China, he was branded as a criminal by the Chinese government.
Liu Xiaobo developed a conviction for the cause of democracy and human rights after witnessing the brutal government crackdown of the peaceful protest in Tiananmen Square in 1989. He once said, “as a survivor of the Tiananmen Square Democracy movement, I feel that I have a duty to uphold justice for those who died in the event.”
By Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International
Facebook, Microsoft, and LinkedIn are among the tech firms expected to be on a charm offensive with Chinese officials at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, which started November 16.
The new law codifies existing abusive practices and seeks to turn tech companies operating in China into de-facto state surveillance agents.
China has made clear to Western companies what tune they must dance to if they want to gain or keep access to the riches of the Chinese market, currently dominated by national players like Tencent and Sina.
A new Cyber Security Law passed in China last week goes further than ever before in tightening the government’s already repressive grip on the internet, embodied by its “Great Firewall”. It is a vast human and technological system of Internet censorship without parallel in the world. The new law codifies existing abusive practices and seeks to turn tech companies operating in China into de-facto state surveillance agents.
By William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International. On twitter @williamnee
26 years have passed since the tragic days in 1989 when thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters were brutally repressed in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
But even though the tanks have long left the city’s infamous square, President Xi Jinping, appears as determined to quash anyone perceived as challenging the Communist Party’s hegemony.
When President Xi took office in late 2012, he declared power would be put “in a cage”, but it is the independently minded academics, journalists, lawyers, and rights activists that have been thrown in jail.
We are witnessing one of the darkest periods for freedom of expression in China since the bloodshed of 1989.
An act of kindness transformed Liu Ping from a factory worker into a passionate anti-corruption activist in China. Her daughter, 22-year-old Liao Minyue, tells their story.
My mother, Liu Ping, was just an ordinary Chinese woman with a kind heart.Liao Minyue's mother, Liu Ping, is in jail for trying to expose corruption in China © Private
We were very close. I chose to live with her after my parents divorced about 10 years back. We never fought, not even once. We used to go to the markets to collect old and unwanted vegetables for food. It never once struck me as anything to be ashamed of. On the contrary, those were warm and intimate times, because we were together.