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HRIC Weekly Brief
November 7, 2023
Top News 头条
This week, Human Rights in China mourns the passing of Ms. Zhou Shuzhuang, one of the longest-standing members of Tiananmen Mothers who fought tirelessly for justice for her son and all other victims of the June Fourth Massacre. Ms. Zhou passed away of illness on September 19, 2023, at the age of 87. The Tiananmen Mothers stated that they would continue to persist until justice is served, according to Ms. Zhou’s last wishes. As HRIC Executive Director Zhou Fengsuo told Radio Free Asia, the Tiananmen Mothers’ perseverance is deeply respected within the democracy movement: “It has really been too long a road for them, yet they have persisted until the end of their lives, to their last breath." Read the full eulogy: English here, or in Chinese/中文 here.
Legal tensions continue to build in Hong Kong: the Hong Kong government plans to enact new legislation in the next year that will expand the scope of its anti-espionage efforts to potentially include anyone who says anything critical of the government, from anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers have introduced a “Hong Kong Sanctions Act,” which, if passed, would require the White House to review a list of 49 Hong Kong officials, including judges and the Police Commissioner, for potential sanctions over their role in human rights abuses in Hong Kong. According to Lau Siu-kai, a scholar at a Beijing-backed think tank, Hong Kong is prepared to move some national security cases to the mainland if the United States enacts sanctions against its judiciary.
Law & Policy 法律与政策
Charity Law Draft Amendments: New amendments to China’s draft Charity Law focus on nonprofit finances, including provisions that require annual reports on cooperation with foreign organizations or individuals, and potential deregistration for organizations that accept funds deemed unacceptable under China’s definition of “social morals.”
Picking Quarrels: The One Essential Charge in China: “[It] is not an exaggeration to say that this charge could be brought against almost anyone living in China today,” writes legal scholar Luo Jiajun. “Picking quarrels” is a catch-all charge used widely to deter discussion of sensitive issues or even somewhat insensitive topics.
Cyber Security & Digital Rights 网络安全与数字权利
China’s censors warn against ‘effusive comments’ while mourning Li Keqiang: Official censorship guidance cracks down on overly effusive comments about Li Keqiang, fearing such sentiments may be criticism of Xi in disguise.
Overview of Protections for Minors Online (with Comparison Table): China’s new law regulating minors on the internet is likely to lead to increased self-censorship, out of an abundance of caution, until the parameters of the new rules are established.
Diaspora Community & Transnational Repression 海外社群和跨国镇压
Yang Hengjun’s family urges Albanese to negotiate with China for jailed Australian writer’s release: In Yang Hengjun's first letter to his sons that he has been permitted to send since his detention, the Australian democracy activist, who is arbitrarily detained by China, wrote: “Don’t forget I have not been convicted yet. According to Chinese law, I am still innocent, yet I have been locked up for more than four years, and I am almost destroyed.”
Hong Kong student who made ‘seditious’ online posts in Japan jailed for 2 months: A Hong Kong student who made 13 social media posts supporting HK independence while overseas has been sentenced to two months in jail. She was arrested in March when she returned temporarily from Japan, and has been prevented from resuming her studies.
Human Rights Defenders & Civil Society 人权捍卫者与公民社会
Human Rights in China on Twitter/X: 71-year-old Zhejiang dissident Zhu Yufu, who tried to sneak over the Vietnamese borders to visit his sister in Japan suffering from cancer, was arrested in Guangxi and detained for two days before being placed under house arrest. Zhu suffers from high blood pressure and needs access to medical treatment.
牛腾宇案或将在年底前启动再审 [Niu Tengyu case may be retried before the end of the year]: Niu Tengyu, who was handed a 14-year sentence at 22 years old for posting information online regarding Xi Jinping’s daughter, may be granted a retrial this year.
Human Rights in China on Twitter/X: Ji Xiaolong, who was sentenced to 4.5 years for advocating for people's livelihoods in Shanghai during the COVID-19 pandemic, met with his lawyer on November 2. He believes that the evidence in the judgment against him was inconsistent with the facts and plans to appeal.
因"煽颠"判囚四年半 陈建芳出狱后仍被软禁 [Sentenced to four and a half years in prison for "inciting subversion", Chen Jianfang remains under house arrest after being released from prison]: Shanghai dissident Chen Jianfang, who was sentenced to four years and six months in prison for “inciting subversion of state power,” was released last month—yet remains under house arrest, and her family members are also implicated.
Hui Muslim poet beaten by unknown attacker near his Shandong home: Hui Muslim poet An Ran, real name Cui Haoxin, was attacked and beaten by a man waiting for him downstairs at his home. Previously outspoken about China’s treatment of Uyghurs and Hui Muslims, he had been lying low for the last three years due to threats from the authorities.
What the World Can Learn From 2 Taiwanese Activists Jailed in China: Taiwanese former political prisoners Lee Ming-che and Lee Ming-chu describe their experiences in Chinese prisons, including psychological torment and forced labor on items that would be exported to the United States. One takeaway: international pressure has an impact on how prisoners are treated.
Rights NGO concerned as Hong Kong Tiananmen activist Chow Hang-tung allegedly faced solitary confinement 6 times since June: Chow Hang-tung, Hong Kong human rights lawyer who organized vigils for the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, has reportedly been put in solitary confinement six times since June for offenses such as sharing peanuts with other prisoners or having extra M&Ms.
‘Unauthorised article’ removed from prison by Hong Kong activist was complaint form to gov’t watchdog, court hears: Hong Kong activist Owen Chow and one of his attorneys have been charged with removing an “unauthorized article” from prison. The "article"? A single letter of complaint from Chow to the city Ombudsman about the Correctional Services Department.
China’s Reach & Internal Control 中国: 内控与外扩
China's Male Leaders Signal to Women That Their Place Is in the Home: At the Women’s Congress, Xi and other top CCP officials shunned gender equality in favor of pushing women towards having more babies and staying in the home, in a revealing moment for the CCP’s regressive attitudes towards women.
香港近年几十万人才外流，港府忙补救吸引大陆人“换血” [Hong Kong has experienced an outflow of hundreds of thousands of talents in recent years, and the Hong Kong government is busy trying to attract mainlanders as a "blood transfusion"]: In order to offset the flood of trained professionals leaving Hong Kong in the wake of the National Security Law, Hong Kong launched a "Top Talent Pass Scheme" in 2022. The program has attracted the vast majority of its applicants from mainland China.
International Responses 国际反应
Fiji withdraws from UN Xinjiang statement: Facing economic and political pressure from China, Fiji has withdrawn from a UN statement demanding an end to China’s persecution of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. Fiji was one of 51 states that had signed on to the statement.