Two years ago, I was invited by the American Bar Association to prepare a manuscript for a book to be titled “Darkness Before Dawn.” This book was to describe the decade I spent engaged in human rights work in China and what those experiences tell us about the country’s politics, society and future. But the ABA soon rescinded the offer. The reason I was given? The group did not want to anger the Chinese government.
I don’t write this to pick on the ABA. There was nothing uncommon about this episode, but the details are useful in illustrating the corrosive influence of the Chinese Communist Party on the West.… Seguir leyendo »
At around 3 a.m. on July 9, human rights lawyer Wang Yu was abducted from her home in Beijing. Her husband, rights defender Bao Longjun, was also disappeared. Wang is renowned in China: She represented Cao Shunli, who died after being denied medical treatment while in custody for her human rights activism; Ilham Tohti, a Uigher scholar unjustly sentenced to life in prison; and protest organizer Wu Gan. In the days since Wang’s arrest, dozens of human rights lawyers and others have been abducted, arrested and disappeared; all told, including those who have been temporarily detained or given warnings, the sweep has targeted more than 200 people in 24 provinces.… Seguir leyendo »
During the year that is drawing to a close this week, much has been made of the Communist Party of China’s new emphasis on “governing the country according to law.” But those who imagine that fundamental reforms will flow from this rhetoric would do well to remember the warning that Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu gave in response to questions about the legal justification for a 2011 incident of press mistreatment: “Don’t use the law as a shield.” I don’t understand why some are so willing to believe what the party says while disregarding what it does.
This is hardly the first time the Communists have raised the banner of “rule of law.” Even before they seized power and established totalitarian rule, they promised liberty and constitutional democracy.… Seguir leyendo »
Rares sont ceux qui ont cru que le mouvement « Occupy Central » allait prendre la forme qu’il a prise. Encore plus rares sont ceux qui auraient pu croire que le mouvement allait se transformer en « révolution des parapluies ».
En juin 2013, le professeur Tai Yiu-ting a conçu le projet d’« Occupy Central ». A partir du 27 mars 2014, il s’est transformé en une « déclaration d’intention ». Le plan correspondant au slogan « Que l’amour et la paix occupent le Centre » est resté en gestation pendant dix-huit mois. Il a donc été mûrement réfléchi ! La population a proposé des référendums populaires et a attendu une réaction de la part du gouvernement.… Seguir leyendo »
A month ago, the human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng — my friend and colleague — limped out of Shaya Prison in northwestern China. According to relatives, Gao was pale as a ghost. He had spent the past five years — his sentence was for three — in solitary confinement, underfed and with no access to sunlight. For a long time, his wife and children, who fled to the United States to seek asylum, did not know his whereabouts or even whether he was alive or dead.
Gao grew up in an impoverished village in northern Shaanxi province, where as an adolescent he struggled for survival.… Seguir leyendo »
Since Xi Jinping became president of China, there has been a sustained crackdown on advocates of democracy and civil society. A couple hundred Chinese citizens have been arrested and tried or await trial. Lawyer and activist Xu Zhiyong , a founding leader of the New Citizens’ Movement, was arrested in July; his four-year prison sentence was upheld this month. The sentences of other New Citizens’ Movement leaders, including Ding Jiaxi, Li Wei, Zhao Changquing and Zhang Baocheng, were recently announced: Each will be imprisoned for at least two years.
Many people mistakenly think that the New Citizens’ Movement did not have a chance to do much before being wiped out.… Seguir leyendo »
On July 17, agents of Beijing’s Civil Affairs Bureau raided and closed the office of the Open Constitution Initiative, a local nongovernmental organization. This center had been the primary meeting place for China’s nascent movement of “rights lawyers,” in which I have been an active participant. There are not too many of us. China has 140,000 lawyers but only a few dozen lawyers who focus on citizens’ rights.
Our work is frustrating and sometimes hazardous, but we have had considerable success in protecting the rights of individuals and in highlighting cases that have raised awareness of the law among people all across China.… Seguir leyendo »