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Posts tagged as “human rights”

China’s Gulag

At China Daily News, we’ve focused much of our attention on the ongoing pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. Because Hong Kong is still (for now) open and accessible, we hear much more about it, and the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement is technically and media-savvy, so it is adept at drawing people’s attention.

Arguably, however, what is happening to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province is a much larger humanitarian and human rights crisis. According to reports, as many as one million Uyghurs have been rounded up and sent to “re-education” (read “concentration”) camps. [Human Rights Watch report here] [UPDATE: This Financial Times article says 1.5 million Uyghurs have been sent to the camps.]

Of course, the CCP does its best to keep this out of the news and minimize whatever reporting does come out about it. Fortunately, there are prominent leaders in the U.S. that have been paying attention.

Senator Rubio, Florida Republican, has been urging the U.S. Congress to pass the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act and for President Trump to sign it into law. Today, it passed the U.S. Senate, and next will be taken up by the House of Representatives, where it is also very likely to pass.

We completely agree with Senator Rubio’s statement, but would add that it is long overdue that the democracy and freedom-loving people of the whole world start standing up to the CCP’s oppression and bullying, not just of other countries, but of its own people – whether they are Xinjiang Uyghurs, Tibetans, the people of Hong Kong, or the everyday people – the laobaixing -living throughout China. Human rights are human rights – and even if someone happens to live in China, those rights still exist. The CCP may violate and oppress people’s rights, but they cannot take them away – they are inherent in being human.

We urge the full U.S. Congress to pass the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as quickly as possible, and for President Trump to sign them into law, irrespective of the status of any trade negotiations taking place with China.

Support for Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act

UPDATE: Incredible pictures and video on Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

You might think it’s #America Day in #HongKong after you see these photos and videos with so many American flags and a man dressed as the Statue of Liberty.🗽But it’s not. Scroll ahead to see for yourself. It’s thousands of Hong Kong citizens asking, pleading, demanding and hoping the U.S. Congress will take up and pass a bill to protect “basic freedoms” in this embattled city. 🇭🇰 It’s called the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Many Hong Kongers feel – and fear – Beijing is eroding them away. So they marched past the U.S. consulate Sunday in this 14th straight weekend of anti-government protests. Many see the U.S. as the only country in the world that has leverage over #China. 🇨🇳 Many would say they’re right. Many others would say it’s a mistake for the U.S. or any foreign power to get involved; especially with Beijing leveling accusations of foreign interference. Regardless, protestors are angry at their leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who they want to resign. They say she’s a puppet of Beijing, though she adamantly denies that. They’re angry at the police because of violent images of officers beating and pepper spraying people; they’re accused of police brutality and want an independent probe. That’s why they’re giving them the middle finger today. Yet police supporters would say they’ve been put in an impossible situation trying to uphold the law in the face of more violent protestors who are breaking that law. These people marching are people who are angry and they hope the #US and the world are taking notice. What do you think should happen? What do you think will happen? @CBSNews is here. We’ve been here ever since Week 1 – back on June 12th when our great team of @erinelyall and @cbs_randy and I were teargassed by police along with so many protestors – telling the #HongKong story. We are still here. #cbsnews #asia #international #news #reporting #history #bts #behindthescenes #american #flag #statueofliberty #middlefinger #protest

A post shared by Ramy Inocencio (@ramyinocencio) on Sep 8, 2019 at 5:39am PDT

Ramy Inocencio, CBS, on Instagram

Today, protesters in Hong Kong marched to the U.S. Embassy to ask that Congress pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

South China Morning Post video posted to YouTube

The full text of the bill is here.

The bill has several sections, but the main points of the bill are to:

  • Affirm support of the Hong Kong people and their rights by the United States, including universal suffrage, the ability to freely choose and elect candidates for chief executive and other legislative positions, free speech and free press, and freedom from arbitrary arrests and detention.
  • Protect U.S. citizens from rendition (extradition) to countries, including mainland China, that do not have independent and fair legal systems.
  • Allow Hong Kong residents that have participated in protests, and have been arrested for participating in protests, to still obtain visas for travel to the U.S.
  • More strictly enforce U.S. customs regulations on items imported into Hong Kong, including items that might be or are used in constructing products used for mass surveillance or in the construction of China’s “social credit” system.
  • Encourage U.S. businesses to continue to operate in Hong Kong.
  • Identify persons involved in denying rights to Hong Kong citizens or involved in extra-legal renditions to mainland China and subject them to financial and other sanctions.

The Hong Kong people want and need the help of the United States in their fight for freedom and democracy. Public statements by U.S. Representatives and Senators are helpful, but this bill sends a message to Beijing and includes some measures to enforce that message. Passing it is a concrete action that the U.S. can take to back the people of Hong Kong. We support the passage of this bill completely. If Congress does pass the bill, President Trump should sign it into law, regardless of the status of any trade negotiations with China. The rights of the people of Hong Kong are more important than any trade deal, and any attempts to tie trade negotiations with enactment of the bill by Beijing should be ignored. Free Hong Kong!

Human Rights Watch on Torture by Chinese Police

In a post here on China Daily News yesterday, we talked about the case of Yang Hengjun, a Chinese-born Australian citizen, who was seized by the Chinese police, held incommunicado for seven months, and then finally charged with espionage – a charge that could lead to the death penalty. The Australian government has been demanding his return – and rightly so.

An article by Human Rights Watch details one of the many reasons China’s “legal” system causes so much concern, and why the Hong Kong people are fighting so desperately against the extradition bill.

“We heard appalling stories of detainees being hung by the wrists, shackled for years, and terrorized by cell bosses, yet having no real means to hold their tormentors to account,” [Sophie] Richardson said [China director of Human Rights Watch]. “It’s hard to square such consistent accounts of abuse with claims by President Xi Jinping that the government respects the rule of law.”

China’s criminal justice system facilitates numerous opportunities for the police to abuse suspects and gives them enormous power over the judiciary, hindering any accountability efforts. Police alone make all initial decisions to deprive suspects of their liberty, and can subject them to 37 days of repeated instances of incommunicado interrogation before the procuratorate must approve their arrests. This contrasts starkly to the requirement in Hong Kong and many other jurisdictions, where suspects have to be brought before a judge within 48 hours of being apprehended.

Human Rights Watch – emphasis by China Daily News

No country has a perfect legal system, but seriously, would anyone willingly live under China’s system, where justice is arbitrary, judges are controlled by the CCP, lawyers are routinely charged with crimes for defending their clients, no one has a right to a trial by jury of peers or to face accusers, people are held for months or even years without charges, without the right to see a lawyer or family, and under the threat of torture to “confess” to crimes? China’s propagandists and apologists would have you believe that it’s only China’s internal business and no one has a right to say anything about it. No. When people are tortured and deprived of the inalienable human rights that all people, everywhere, naturally have, it is the whole world’s business.

Violence Escalates in Hong Kong; Police Draw Guns

This is a very bad development.

Hong Kong protesters and police clashed violently yesterday, with protesters attacking police with sticks and other weapons, and police drawing their guns. One warning shot was fired into the air.

The scene looks very dangerous.

Other video shows the protesters attacking the police with sticks, clubs, and other weapons, including Molotov cocktails.

It is very difficult to understand what the protesters are thinking by these actions. In our view, they are playing directly into the CCP’s narrative, and they will turn public opinion against the protests. They obviously cannot win a direct confrontation with the police, especially if Beijing responds by deploying the armed police force that is just across the border in or near Shenzhen.

All people everywhere desire freedom, the right to self-determination, the right to directly elect their own leaders, freedom of speech and assembly, and so on. So the question in Hong Kong is how to achieve those goals. We were encouraged by the peaceful protests that occurred last week. These confrontations with the police are counterproductive and are likely to lead to a violent, deadly clash with Beijing’s armed police. That would be a disaster for everyone – and indeed a disaster for the entire world.

We implore the Hong Kong people to abandon the tactics of violent confrontation with the police. Non-violent protests are the only viable path forward.

New Tactic in Chinese Disinformation Campaign

The latest in China’s disinformation campaign regarding the Hong Kong protests is to compare the response of the Hong Kong police to the response of police to protests and riots in other countries, especially (of course) the U.S. They don’t understand (as usual) that it is a tacit admission of Hong Kong police brutality and incitement.

The other aspect that they (of course, again) don’t understand is that the governments at all levels in the U.S. and other western democracies are legitimately elected (yeah, I know, there is some corruption, but speaking generally). There is a means provided to the people for changing the government. Every two and four years we have a “peaceful revolution” (an election) in the U.S. where the people can vote in new representatives, senators, and president. These elections also happen at the state and local level as well. The people select their own governments, which is as it should be.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

United States Declaration of Independence

Because the powers of the government of China were not derived by the consent of the people of China – and especially not by the consent of the people of Hong Kong – China’s government, and Carrie Lam’s government in Hong Kong, are by definition illegitimate governments, the people of China and Hong Kong have the right to protest and to establish new governments, should they so choose.

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