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HRIC Weekly Brief
October 31, 2023
Top News 头条
Former Premier Li Keqiang’s death on Friday sent shockwaves across China. Massive gatherings to commemorate Li were held at his hometown Hefei and various other cities across the country. As political protests are virtually impossible in China, public mourning is a time-tested method of public protest, hearkening back to 1976 and 1989, when people gathered at Tiananmen Square. Now, authorities are cracking down on displays of mourning both online and offline.
Hong Kong: In his annual Policy Address, Hong Kong leader John Lee announced that HK would create its own National Security Law in 2024, along with a working group on patriotic education to dovetail with Beijing’s new Patriotic Education Law.
Meanwhile, several high profile human rights defenders are in the news: Lu Siwei, human rights lawyer repatriated by Laos in September, has been released on bail by the Chinese authorities but is under constant surveillance. Ji Xiaolong, Shanghai-based dissident and human rights activist, has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”—in reality, he was targeted for his Twitter posts criticizing Shanghai’s COVID policy. Henan dissident Dong Guangping, arrested in Vietnam in August 2022, was released on the 20th of this month after being detained for 11 months on charges of “smuggling across the border.” And Li Yuhan, Chinese human rights lawyer known for her defense of prominent human rights attorney Wang Yu, already imprisoned for six years, has been freshly sentenced to 6.5 years for "fraud" and "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble."
Law & Policy 法律与政策
NPCSC Seeks Public Comment on 6 Bills: State Secrets, State Council Operation, Food Security, Charity Regulation, Infectious Disease Control & Cultural Relics Protection: The deadline for public comment is November 23, 2023.
Exclusive: 75% of direct-election candidates in Hong Kong District Council race sit on committees that decide who runs: Out of the 171 candidates running for 88 seats, 129 sit on the committees responsible for handing out nominations. Notably, none of the candidates are pro-democracy, and no pro-democracy political parties have been able to obtain nominations.
Extending storage for women’s eggs ‘not aligned’ with goal to get Hongkongers to have kids early, leader John Lee says: Women in Hong Kong can freeze their eggs for only ten years under current law. Advocates pushed for the number of years to be extended in order to give women more autonomy in family planning, but HK leader John Lee has rejected the idea as “not aligned” with the government’s goals in getting women to have children earlier.
Cyber Security & Digital Rights 网络安全与数字权利
Regulations on the Protection of Minors Online: The recently passed law regulating minors on the internet has a focus on parental responsibility and a complex, vague, network of regulations that will be difficult to implement, let alone enforce.
Canada bans China’s WeChat and Russia’s Kaspersky apps on government devices: Canada’s chief information officer said the apps “present an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.”
Google denies Hong Kong police request to remove ‘seditious’ film about media tycoon Jimmy Lai from YouTube: Google has refused to comply with Hong Kong authorities’ demands to take down the documentary “The Hongkonger,” a film about pro-democracy figure Jimmy Lai, from Youtube. HK police said the film, which was uploaded by an American NGO, contained seditious content.
Diaspora Community & Transnational Repression 海外社群和跨国镇压
HRIC Attends Harvard Screening of "One Child Nation" Documentary: On October 18th, Harvard University’s Chinese Students Association held a screening of the award-winning documentary "One Child Nation" by director Wang Nanfu. HRIC Executive Director Zhou Fengsuo was invited to participate in the discussion.
Hong Kong student pleads guilty to posting ‘seditious’ online speech whilst in Japan, faces up to 2 years jail: In Hong Kong, a 23 year old student with a few hundred followers has pleaded guilty to publishing online speech with seditious intent for 13 posts she made on Instagram and Facebook while overseas, with text such as “I am a Hongkonger; I advocate for Hong Kong independence.”
Canadian scholar of Tiananmen massacre denied visa to continue working in Hong Kong: Rowena He, a Canadian scholar and CUHK professor who participated in the Tiananmen protests as a teenager and has focused her academic studies on the subject, was denied a visa to reenter Hong Kong with no explanation and subsequently fired from her position at CUHK.
Human Rights Defenders & Civil Society 人权捍卫者与公民社会
Police beat and detain Tibetan language advocate: After prominent Tibetan activist Tashi Wangchuk posted a video of Chinese government officials refusing to grant him a business license, police beat him and detained him for three days for “offending” them.
Trial of Uyghur film-maker to begin in China this week: Ikram Nurmehmet, Beijing-based Uyghur filmmaker known for his real-life portrayal of Uyghur protagonists, is set to begin his trial today in Xinjiang, where he was taken after he was detained at his home in May. The charges against him are unknown.
Elderly busker who played protest song ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ jailed for 30 days: Li Jiexin, 69-year-old Hong Kong busker, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for playing the melody to protest song “Glory to Hong Kong” on his erhu, which the judge said was a form of “soft resistance.”
University of Hong Kong ex-student leaders jailed for 2 years over mourning death of man who stabbed police officer: The four students who held a moment of silence and tried to pass a motion mourning a man who stabbed a police officer during a Student Union meeting have been sentenced to two years in prison each for “incitement to wound with intent.”
China’s Reach & Internal Control 中国: 内控与外扩
Xi says China's women must start 'new trend of family': As China’s birth rates decline, the CCP is pushing Chinese women to have more babies, falling back on gender stereotypes that encourage women to be homemakers and mothers. Instead of tackling the lack of childcare and employment discrimination that discourages women from having children, Xi doubled down on instilling a “culture” of childbearing among young people.
Experts: Americans are eating fish processed by slaves: Chinese seafood companies are using slave labor to undercut the competition: “More than 1,000 workers from Xinjiang have been forcibly relocated to at least 10 seafood processing plants in Shandong that supply dozens of major U.S. food brands,” says the director of the Outlaw Ocean Project.
Patriotic flag ceremonies at Hong Kong mosque ‘shock’ believers: As part of Beijing’s efforts to instill propaganda into religious institutions, Hong Kong’s mosques have begun holding “patriotic flag ceremonies” at the behest of the authorities, attended by plainclothes police officers. The move has upset some Hong Kong Muslims, who believe it undermines their fundamental belief in the supremacy of God.