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    December 18, 2019

    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:

    December 09, 2019

    Responding to a claim by a Chinese government official that all people held at so-called “vocational education centres” in Xinjiang have “graduated” and achieved “stable employment” and “happy lives”, Nicholas Bequelin, Regional Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “While this may sound like progress, it’s more likely just the Chinese propaganda machine’s latest attempt to shift the narrative on its horrendous human rights violations in Xinjiang in the face of growing international condemnation.

    “If Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities are really being released from these repressive detention camps, then the onus is on the Chinese government to prove it.

    “Otherwise the claim that former ‘trainees’ are now in ‘stable employment’ leaves them at an extremely high risk of being subjected to forced labour.

    November 25, 2019

    Responding to another leak of official Chinese government documents (labelled “The China Cables”) detailing the framework for facilities that led to abuses of hundreds of thousands of predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in detention camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang), Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for East Asia, Lisa Tassi, said:

    “China’s continued denial of the existence of detention centres in Xinjiang grows ever more futile in the face of ever-mounting evidence. This latest leak is yet further proof of its systematic persecution of ethnic and religious minorities in China on a sickeningly vast scale.

    “The abuses described in these leaked documents match the harrowing testimony Amnesty International has received from former detainees of mass internment camps in Xinjiang, as well as from relatives of those still missing.

    September 18, 2019

    Antonio Guterres should publicly and unequivocally condemn the Chinese authorities’ abusive policies in Xinjiang and call for an immediate closure of camps containing an estimated one million Turkic Muslims, a coalition of five human rights groups, including Amnesty International, said in a letter to the UN Secretary-General.

    “In the words of Mr Guterres himself, human rights are universal regardless of race, beliefs or location. We are asking him to apply that principle to the one million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims who continue to be arbitrarily detained by the Chinese authorities in so-called ‘political education camps’ in Xinjiang,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    “Mr Guterres’ private diplomacy on this issue is clearly not working. He must immediately speak out publicly against the persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang or he will forever be remembered for failing hundreds of thousands of people in this crucial moment.”

    September 10, 2019

    Tashpolat Tiyip receives an honorary doctorate from the Sorbonne in November 2008 © Nury Teyip

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 119/19 HERE

    Fears are mounting that the Chinese authorities will imminently carry out the execution of Tashpolat Tiyip. He is a prominent Uyghur academic who was convicted in a secret and grossly unfair trial. He has been arbitrarily detained since he was subjected to an enforced disappearance in 2017. His current whereabouts remain unknown.   
     
    Tashpolat Tiyip was the President of Xinjiang University when he was forcibly disappeared two years ago while travelling to Germany with a group of students for a conference. He was convicted of “separatism” in secret and grossly unfair proceedings and sentenced to a “suspended death sentence”. While this includes the possibility of commutation after two years’ imprisonment if no other crimes are committed, he now also faces the possibility of imminent execution.   

    Please send a fax, email or letter to the president.

    August 13, 2019

    By Teng Biao – Legal scholar and friend of Gao Zhisheng

    Gao Zhisheng is a prominent human rights lawyer in China. Over the years, he has been persecuted, kidnapped and sentenced to prison. In August 2017, he went missing again and has not been seen since.

    In 2004, I noticed an open letter to the National People’s Congress calling attention to the issue of Falun Gong, a religious group in China. By then, practitioners of Falun Gong had been subjected to large-scale persecutions for five years, but nobody dared to speak up for them. It was very courageous for a lawyer to openly speak about the issue, so I took note of his name: Gao Zhisheng.

    August 12, 2019

    Amnesty International, PEN Canada and Toronto Association for Democracy in China are pleased to announce the unveiling of the Liu Xiaobo Empty Chair Memorial on:

    Date:               Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 2 p.m.

    Location:        Amnesty International, 312 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa

    Speakers:

    Setsuko Thurlow, recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons;

    Wang Juntao, political activist and friend of Liu during the 1989 pro-democracy movement;

    Ti‑Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Binzhang, political prisoner and founder of Chinese pro-democracy movement overseas;

    Senator Con Di Nino

    Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    Richard Stursberg, Chair, PEN Canada

    Winnie Ng, Chair, Toronto Association for Democracy in China

    July 30, 2019

    Responding to claims by senior Chinese officials that they have released the majority of ethnic minority Muslims being held in detention camps in northwest China, Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and South-East Asia said:

    “China is making deceptive and unverifiable statements in a vain attempt to allay worldwide concern for the mass detentions of Uyghurs and members of other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

    “We have received no reports about large scale releases – in fact, families and friends of people who are being detained tell us they are still not able to contact them.

    “Given China’s record of heavy censorship, outright falsehoods and systematic obfuscation about the situation in Xinjiang, it remains imperative that UN human rights investigators, independent observers and the media be given unrestricted access to the region as a matter of urgency.” 

    July 24, 2019

    Rebiya Kadeer holds a copy of the Urgent Action that Amnesty International issued in 1999 to protect her human rights. ©Stefan Anderegg

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 251/17 HERE

    Up to 30 relatives of Uyghur human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer have been detained for nearly two years in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) without trial. The exact date that they were taken away remains unclear, however it is presumed they are being arbitrarily detained at a political re-education camp and are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. Among those detained are Kadeer’s sisters, brothers, sons, grandchildren and extended relatives who have for many years been targeted by the Chinese authorities to try silence Rebiya Kadeer. 

    July 22, 2019

    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.

    July 17, 2019

    Responding to the statement by a senior Google executive that the company has “terminated” plans to launch Project Dragonfly, its censored search engine for China, Joe Westby, researcher on technology and human rights at Amnesty Tech, said:

    “This is the first time that Google have so clearly confirmed that they have abandoned Project Dragonfly entirely. Its public walk-back on this disastrous project is good news and is in no small part thanks to the campaigning of hundreds of Google employees, 70 plus human rights organisations and thousands of people around the world who demanded the company respect human rights and ‘drop Dragonfly’.

    “However, this latest comment still falls short of committing to conclusively dropping its censored search engine for good. In reality Google’s position refusing to rule out working with China on such projects in the future has not changed.

    July 12, 2019

    This week, a group of 22 countries issued a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council expressing concern over the arbitrary detention, surveillance and other violations against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

    The statement calls on China to provide “meaningful access to Xinjiang for independent international observers, including for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights”.

    The record number of states standing up to China at the Council on their human rights record shows the mounting international concern over the mass detention of Uyghurs and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang.

    The countries that signed the statement include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

    May 28, 2019

    The Chinese authorities must end a wave of persecution targeting those seeking to commemorate the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, Amnesty International said ahead of the 30th anniversary of the bloodshed. 

    Over recent weeks, police have detained, placed under house arrest or threatened dozens of activists who are seeking to mark the June 4 anniversary, as well as relatives of those killed.

    Hundreds, if not thousands, of unarmed protesters and civilians were killed when soldiers opened fire in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on 3–4 June 1989, as they sought to crush widespread protests calling for political reform.

    “Thirty years on from the Tiananmen bloodshed the very least the victims and their families deserve is justice. However, President Xi continues to read from the same tired political playbook, cruelly persecuting those seeking the truth about the tragedy in a concerted effort to wipe the June 4 crackdown from memory,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director of Amnesty International.

    May 09, 2019

    Transgender people in China are performing highly dangerous surgery on themselves and buying unsafe hormone treatments on the black market because it is almost impossible for them to access the health care they urgently need, Amnesty International said in a new report.

    “'I need my parents’ consent to be myself'- Barriers to gender-affirming treatments for transgender people in China” reveals that prevalent discrimination and stigma, restrictive eligibility requirements, and a lack of information, leave transgender people to seek unregulated and unsafe gender-affirming treatments.

    “China is failing transgender people. Discriminatory laws and policies have left many people feeling they have no choice but to risk their lives by performing extremely dangerous surgery on themselves and to seek unsafe hormone drugs on the black market,” said Doriane Lau, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

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