Written evidence submitted by Amnesty
Amnesty International is a worldwide membership
movement. Our vision is of a world in which every person enjoys
all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. We promote all human rights and undertake research
and action focussed on preventing grave abuses of the rights to
physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression
and freedom from discrimination.
Amnesty International welcomes the inquiry by
the Foreign Affairs Committee into the regional and international
role of the People's Republic of China. We submit our views below
on the human rights record of China and make some suggestions
regarding actions on the part of the UK government.
"If you don't dare to let people speak
. . . you will sow the seeds of disaster. It is bound to trigger
collective resistance and set off turbulence . . . History shows
that only in totalitarian systems do you need media controls.
This is in the mistaken belief that you can forever keep the public
in the dark."
These are the words not of a prominent Chinese
activist but those of a group of veteran Chinese communist party
cadre, including the former top propaganda official and Mao Zedong's
personal secretary, in a joint statement sent last month to Hu
Jintao and Wen Jiabao, China's new leaders since 2003.
These strong words were sent in reaction to
recent closures by the authorities of Bing Dian (Freezing Point)
a popular publication, and the recent wave of dismissals, arrests,
and imprisonment of journalists, editors, and private internet
users who push the boundaries of tight censorship. They reflect
the sharp turn for the worse of the human rights situation in
The statement from Chinese Communist Party veterans
make the absence, or weakness, of critiques of human rights violations
in China from Western leaders all the more dismaying.
Amnesty International shares the view that human
rights in China have deteriorated under Hu and Wen. The space
for public critique has narrowed. Lawyers, journalists, and human
rights defenders are being detained, imprisoned, harassed and
intimidated with new intensity. There are numerous reports of
government authorities relying on force to put down legitimate
demands for redress of grievances, including land seizures without
due process or adequate compensation. There appears to be a renewed
use of the death penalty to address underlying social and economic
problems. Thousands of people are still executed and sentenced
to death each year, with China accounting for upwards of 80% of
all executions documented in the world. The Uighur minority in
the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region face intensified repression
under the guise of China's "war on terror". Freedom
of expression and religion continue to be severely restricted
in Tibet. And Christians not belonging to the officially recognised
church must practice their belief underground-making themselves
and their property highly vulnerable to police raids and arrests.
The early confidence in the West that economic
reforms in China would inexorably bring liberalisation and humanisation
of society and politics must be reconsidered in light of this
deteriorating human rights situation. In two years time China's
economic reforms will be 30 years old.
China continues to restrict international human
rights organisations from carrying out research in the country,
seriously limiting the international community's ability to monitor
human rights there.
The heightened intolerancestemming from
fearon the part of the current Chinese leadership towards
any public criticism, or even mild questioning of the CCP, has
resulted in the detentions, disappearances, imprisonment, beatings,
intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders and other
seeking justice. On 8 February 2006, Gao Zhisheng, a prominent
human rights lawyer, initiated a hunger strike to protest the
harsh treatment of lawyers, petitioners, and other human the detentions.
Numerous individuals have been detained, formally arrested, or
remain missing in relation to the hunger strike. Hu Jia, a prominent
HIV/AIDS activist, went missing on 16 February. Public authorities
have refused to provide any information, including refusing to
admit he is being held. According to those close to him, Hu suffers
from hepatitis B and needs daily medication. Qi Zhiyong, an activist
for the rights of people with disabilities, has been missing since
15 or 16 February. Qi received gunshot injuries during the crackdown
on the 1989 pro-democracy demonstration, which left him disabled.
Wang Lizhuang, a 48 year old media professor, who had drafted
an open letter on behalf of people evicted from their homes in
Shanghai, was taken away from his workplace by police on 21 February.
The list also includes, Ouyang Xiaorong, Chen Xiaoming, Wang Lizhuang,
Mao Hengfeng, Ma Yalian, Yan Zhengxue, Yu Zhijian, to name only
some of those known to us.
Amnesty International urges the UK
Government to speak our forcefully, both in public and in private
meetings, on the violation of the rights of Chinese human rights
defenders, including those recently involved in the hunger strike
According to Chinese government statistics over
40 million Chinese farmers have had their land wholly or partially
taken away. Based on the government's own statistics of 87,000
incidents of mass unrest, in addition to the specific cases we
have information on, we may conclude that land is frequently expropriated
forcefully, without due process, and with inadequate compensation.
Localities that organise to seek redress often face police and
military suppression, and in some cases violence by criminal gangs
allegedly backed or hired by local authorities or enterprises.
One village, Taishi, has remained blockaded for months, surrounded
by police and military personnel seeking to control all movement
in or out of the village, and preventing Chinese and foreign journalists
from entering and any news from getting out. Lawyers and other
activists that have sought to help local villagers pursue legal
channels of redress have been detained, beaten, harassed, placed
under house arrest, and their families have in some cases been
Yang Maodong (also known as Guo Feixiong),
39, a legal assistant to Taishi villagers, was detained on 4 February
2006 for 12 hours in a police station and beaten upon his release
by a group of unidentified men. On 8 February Yang wrote an open
letter to Chinese president Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao,
protesting against attacks on human rights activists and excessive
force used by authorities in recent demonstrations in rural areas.
He remains under residential surveillance.
Chinese authorities have not done away with
the system that fundamentally divides Chinese society into different
classes of citizens based on their place of origin (rural or urban),
that derives from the earlier household registration system, or
hukou. This system fundamentally discriminates against
rural migrants to urban areassome 100-200 million people,
in terms of public services, health insurance, housing, etc.,
and puts them in a state of permanent illegality, making them
vulnerable to abuse from the police, employers, landlords, and
permanent city residents. This system has contributed to the persistent
low wages of this workforce, perhaps in violation of WTO standards.
Amnesty International urges the UK
government to raise the issue of China's residential system through
appropriate UN bodies in relationship to China ratifying the ICCPR,
as the system violates the right to freedom of movement provided
for in the treaty.
The death penalty continues to be used in an
extensive and arbitrary manner, at times as a consequence of political
interference. People are executed for non-violent crimes such
as tax fraud and embezzlement as well as drug offences and violent
crimes (some 68 offences in total). Contrary to global trends
towards abolition, and reduction of the scope of crimes subject
to the death penalty, Guangdong provincial authorities last month
announced that convictions for the crime of "violent bag
snatching" could incur the death penalty. Based on public
reports available, Amnesty International estimates that there
were still thousands of individuals executed and sentenced to
death last year.
Amnesty welcomes a recent announcement by the
SPC that all death penalty appeal cases must be held in open court
from the second half of this year. The announcement in September
2005 that the Supreme Court would establish three branch courts
to review death sentences may bring a reduction in executions,
however the reform nevertheless leaves entrenched the use of the
death penalty. That national statistics on death sentences and
executions remain classified as a state secret impedes effective
analysis and monitoring of the death penalty.
We urge the UK government to:
Call on the Supreme People's Court
(SPC) to conduct an immediate review of the Guangdong Province
ruling regarding the crime of bag snatching with a view to overturning
Urge Chinese authorities to reduce
the number of capital offences, especially for non-violent crimes.
Advocate for the publication of full
national statistics on the application of the death penalty.
Institute an immediate moratorium
Systemic flaws in China's judicial system, including
the absence of an independent and impartial judiciary, severe
problems with access to justice particularly in rural areas, extensive
corruption among judges and other legal personnel, and the lack
of transparency in judicial proceedings, compound problems with
use of the death penalty. China's system of "Re-education
through Labour" has permitted hundreds of thousands of individuals
to be incarcerated up to four years without charge, with no access
to a lawyer, with no trial or hearing at which to defend themselves,
and without judicial review.
A proposed new Law on the Rectification of Illegal
Behavior is reportedly being discussed by legislators as a replacement
for Re-education through Labour. Officials have indicated that
the new law would probably reduce terms of detention and provide
for appeal in a court of law. While positive, these reforms entrench
a system which AI believes fundamentally contravenes international
fair trial standards.
People accused of political or criminal offences
continued to be denied due process. Detainees' access to lawyers
and family members continue to be severely restricted and trials
fall far short of international fair trial standards. The vaguely
defined, retroactive, and broad application of the notion of "state
secret" and "national interest", suggests an abuse
of these legitimate concepts. Furthermore, those charged with
offences relating to state secrets or terrorism have their legal
rights restricted and are tried in camera.
We urge the UK government to:
Advocate for abolition of the system
of Political and Legal Commission because of the manner in which
they institutionalise the supremacy of the Chinese Communist party
over the law.
Advocate for the abolition of the
system of Re-education through Labour.
Urge the Chinese government to devote
more resources to the training of judges and lawyers and to strengthen
legal aid, particularly in rural areas.
Urge the Chinese government to adhere
in practice to constitutionally protected procedures.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred
Nowak, who visited China in November 2005, concluded that the
use of torture remain widespread in the country.
Amnesty's own findings supports this view. Torture
and ill-treatment continue to be reported in a wide variety of
state institutions despite the introduction of several new regulations,
a campaign to prosecute police who extract confessions through
torture, and a pilot project allowing police interrogation of
criminal suspects in front of video cameras and lawyers in three
regions. Common methods include kicking, beating, electric shocks,
suspension by the arms, shackling in painful positions, and sleep
and food deprivation. Restricted access to the outside world for
detainees and a failure to establish effective mechanisms for
complaint and investigation continue to be key factors allowing
the practice to flourish. Amnesty International has documented
the case of Gao Rongrong, a Falun Gong practitioner, who died
in custody in June 2005 after being detained in Longshan Reeducation
through Labour facility in Shenyang, Liaoning province. Officials
had reportedly beaten her in 2004, including using electro-shock
batons on her face and neck, which caused severe blistering and
eyesight problems, because she was discovered reading Falun Gong
materials in the facility.
We urge the UK government to:
Speak publicly on the issue of torture
in China, and continue to raise individual cases through UN and
other international mechanisms. The fact that prisoners have reported
amelioration in their prison treatment as a result of international
campaigns suggests the effectiveness of public pressure.
The Chinese authorities continue to add layers
of regulations and controls to an already sophisticated system
of censorship. Controls are integrated at every level-from service
providers, internet cafes, blog managers, and individual users.
Western corporations have given in to government censorship demands.
However, despite sophisticated technological filters, the effectiveness
of censorship in China still rests on self-censorship, as companies,
institutions, and individuals seek to avoid punishments associated
with crossing the line. Broadly, and vaguely, defined "state
secrets" offences continue to be used to prosecute journalists,
editors, and internet users, often utilising the clause that allows
a state secret to be defined retroactively. Journalist Shi Tao
was sentenced to 10 years in prison in April 2005 for leaking
"state secrets". He had posted on the internet a government
order instructing the media on how to handle the upcoming anniversary
of the crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy movement.
We urge the UK government to:
Demand that the Chinese government
remove the requirement that domestic and foreign Internet companies
sign a pledge of self-censorship and that Internet cafes verify
the identities of their patrons before allowing them Internet
Raise the issue of corporate complicity
with government censorship on the part of Western companies operating
Press the Chinese authorities to
eliminate the requirement for media organisations to have a government
sponsor to obtain a licence, as well as the requirement for all
Internet companies to sign a pledge of self-censorship.
Urge the Chinese government to revise
the State Secrets Law to rectify the vague, broad, and retroactive
basis of definition of state secret and the "national interest".
Religious observance outside official channels
remains tightly circumscribed. The promulgation in March 2005
of a new Regulation on Religious Affairs has if anything, only
facilitated intensified government control on religious activities.
The crack-down on the Falun Gong spiritual movement was renewed
in April last year. A Beijing official clarified that since the
group had been banned as a "heretical organisation",
any activities linked to Falun Gong were illegal. Many Falun Gong
practitioners remain in detention where they are at high risk
of torture or ill-treatment. Unregistered Catholics and Protestants
associated with unofficial house churches are harassed, arbitrarily
detained and imprisoned on a regular basis.
In November 2005, prominent defense lawyer Gao
Zhisheng was forced to close down his law firm for a year after
he refused to withdraw an Open Letter to the President and Premier
calling on the authorities to respect religious freedom and to
stop the "barbaric" persecution of Falun Gong. The order
came shortly after he had filed an appeal on behalf of underground
Protestant pastor Cai Zhuohua who had been sentenced to three
years in prison for illegally printing bibles.
The use of the international "war on terror"
to justify harsh repression in Xinjiang involves serious human
rights violations against the ethnic Uighur community such as
the harassment and arbitrary detention of Uighur peaceful protesters
and dissenters, often described as "religious extremists"
or "terrorists". While China's latest "strike-hard"
campaign against crime had subsided in most parts of the country,
it was officially renewed in the XUAR in May 2005 to eradicate
"terrorism, separatism and religious extremism". Such
repression resulted in the closure of unofficial mosques and arrests
of imams. Uighur nationalists, including peaceful activists, continue
to be detained or imprisoned. Those charged with serious "separatist"
or "terrorist" offences are at risk of lengthy imprisonment
or execution. Those attempting to pass information abroad about
the extent of the crack-down face arbitrary detention and imprisonment.
Rebiya Kadeer, a prisoner of conscience released in March 2005,
continues to be targeted by the authorities to counter her influence
as a Uighur activist abroad.
Nurmuhemmet Yasin, a 35-year-old writer is currently
serving a 10-year-sentence for "inciting separatism".
He was detained on 29 November 2004 after his short story entitled
"Wild Pigeon" was published in a Kashgar Literature
Magazine in late 2004 and tried behind closed doors in February
2005. In May, Nurmuhemmet Yasin, father of two, was transferred
to Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) No 1 Prison in Urumqi.
At the time of his arrest, authorities confiscated Yasin's personal
computer, which contained an estimated 1,600 poems, commentaries,
stories, and one unfinished novel.
Freedom of religion, expression and association
continue to be severely restricted and arbitrary arrests and unfair
trials continue in Tibet. While some prisoners of conscience have
been released at the end of their sentences, dozens of others,
including Buddhist monks and nuns, remained behind bars where
they were at risk of torture or ill-treatment.
Contacts between the Chinese authorities and
representatives of the Tibetan government in exile have continued,
with some signs that progress was being made. However, this has
not resulted in any significant policy changes leading to improved
protection for the basic human rights of Tibetans.
Amnesty International has documented the cases
of Topden and Dzokar, two monks from Chogri Monastery, together
with Lobsang Tsering, a layman, who were reported to have been
sentenced to three years in prison in August 2005 for putting
up posters advocating Tibetan independence.
Amnesty International endorses the
call of the Foreign Affairs Committee (paragraph 189 of the FAC
report on the FCO Human Rights Report 2005) that the UK government
make public its condemnation of the human rights abuses carried
out by the Chinese authorities in Tibet.
People continue to flee across the border into
China to escape the acute food shortages in North Korea. The Chinese
authorities continue to arrest and return hundreds, possibly thousands,
of North Koreans as economic migrants and deny them access to
any refugee determination procedures, in breach of the UN Refugee
The Chinese authorities should allow the UNHCR
to travel to border regions and other affected areas to investigate
the treatment of North Korean asylum seekers.
Despite laws prohibiting such practices, many
women continue to be subjected to forced abortions and sterilisations
by local authorities attempting to comply with strict family planning
policies. Prohibition of sex identification of fetuses appeared
to have little effect on the sex imbalance. Trafficking in women
and children, especially girls, continues to be reported. Some
provinces have adopted regulations aimed at preventing domestic
violence but abuses reportedly remain widespread. Women in detention
remain at risk of sexual abuse and other forms of torture or ill-treatment.
In August 2005, the authorities amended the Law on the Protection
of Women's Rights and Interests specifically to prohibit sexual
harassment of women and strengthen women's rights to lodge complaints.
Amnesty International has documented the case of Chen Guangcheng,
a blind, self-trained lawyer, who was harassed, beaten and arbitrarily
detained at his home in September 2005 after he attempted to sue
the local authorities in Linyi city, Shandong province, for conducting
forced sterilisations and abortions in pursuit of birth quotas.
Chinese authorities have not lived up to their
promisemade during their bid to host the 2008 Gamethat
winning the bid and hosting the Games would bring improvements
in the human rights situation in China. While the Chinese authorities
promote the Beijing Olympics as a showcase of the country's social
and economic progress, preparations for the Games are undermining
core social and economic rights.
According to officials from the Beijing Olympic
project's construction headquarters, 6,000 families have been
affected by preparations for the Games, although Amnesty International
believes the actual number to be much higher (put at 300,000 by
some). Many of these families have been evicted without full procedural
protection or due process and without adequate compensation. In
addition, individuals have been arrested and imprisoned simply
for peacefully protesting evictions from their homes. For example,
Amnesty International has documented the case of Ye Guozhu who
was detained in 2004 and sentenced to four years' imprisonment
for having protested against the razing of his home and two restaurants
that he owned.
We call on the UK government to:
Speak out publicly against the Chinese
government's practice of forced evictions of individuals from
their homes carried out without full procedural protection, due
process, government provision of adequate alternative accommodation
for those unable to provide for themselves, and adequate compensation
for any property affected.
China's expanding global role is of major concern
to Amnesty International, as evidence increases that China is
contributing to human rights abuses in third countries through
arms sales, support to repressive regimes, blocking of multilateral
initiatives to deal with humanitarian crises through the UN, and
economic activities in third countries that do not take human
rights into account. China's role in the Sudan is only one of
a series of disturbing cases. While the Chinese government continues
to engage with UN human rights mechanisms, it largely fails to
implement their recommendations.
Evidence suggests that arms exports from China
continue to fuel massive human rights violations in Sudan, and
the Chinese government has opposed strengthening the UN Security
Council arms embargo on Sudan. Reports indicate that Chinese jets
sold to Sudan since the 1990s include over 40 Shenyang J-6 and
J-7 jet fighters, and more recently some F-7 supersonic fighters.
A company in China, Harbin Dongan Engine, was reported to have
a contract to repair Mi-8 helicopters for Sudan. According to
UN Comtrade data, Sudan imported $845,918 worth of "parts
and accessories for shotguns or rifles" as well as $34,827
of pistols and revolvers and $97,437 of "sporting and hunting
shotguns" from China during 2002.
We urge the UK government to:
Call for an immediate suspension
of transfers of these types of arms and related logistical and
security supplies to Sudan which are used by the armed forces
or militias for grave human rights abuses and war crimes.
EU ARMS EMBARGO
Amnesty International welcomes the fact that
the EU has made progress on human rights a prerequisite for lifting
the embargo on arms sales to China, and resisted lobbying from
the Chinese government.
We call on the UK government to:
Call for a full, impartial, public
investigation into the events and military crackdown of 3-4 June.
Call for the release of the dozens
of people still held in connection with the 1989 pro-democracy
Call for an end to the imprisonment
and harassment of relatives of victims and of those who call for
an end to impunity in connection with those events.
Allow family members and friends
of those killed on 4 June 1989 to publicly mourn the loved ones
The UK and China have had 13 rounds of human
rights dialogue, and China continues to hold human rights dialogues
with a select number of other countries. Amnesty International
agrees entirely with the conclusion of the Foreign Affairs Committee
(paragraph 36 of the FAC report on the FCO Human Rights Annual
Report 2005) that the "UK-China human rights dialogue appears
to have made glacial progress". We await with interest the
UK government's response to the committee's request that the government
set out what measures it uses to determine whether the dialogue
is a success, what it sees as the achievements of the dialogue
to date, and why it wishes it to continue. Amnesty International
does not oppose the dialogue but, after thirteen rounds, we question
whether it has achieved tangible human rights advances in China.
We note the FCO's own limited expectations as set out in paragraph
186 of the FAC report. We share the concerns of HRW (paragraph
182) that the UK government remains reluctant to express its concerns
over China's human rights record in public or at the highest level.
Develop specific benchmarks against
which to measure progress by China within an agreed timeframe.
Retain the option of reviewing the
dialogue approach if this is not yielding significant results.
We encourage the UK government to
continue to press the Chinese authorities for a timetable for
the ratification of the ICCPR and for the lifting of China's reservation
to Article 8.1 (A) of the ICESCR (the right to form trade unions
and join the trade union of choice. We note that the UN High Commissioner
on Human Rights was unable to obtain a clear indication on the
timetable for ratification of the ICCPR during her visit to China
Freedom of expression and the press
Concerns have risen over recent years about
growing restrictions on freedom of expression in Hong Kong. In
May 2004, three radio talk show hosts resigned after they allegedly
received threats for calling for greater democracy in Hong Kong.
More recently, the creation of an independent committee in January
2006 to review the future of public broadcasting has fuelled fears
that the authorities wish to undermine the autonomy and editorial
independence of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK). In particular,
there is concern that the authorities wish RTHK to play a greater
role in broadcasting and explaining government messages and policies.
In February 2006, Hong Kong legislators passed a motion calling
on the authorities to respect editorial independence and defend
freedom of the press.
Freedom of association and assemblypolice
response to WTO protests
Amnesty International has long-standing concerns
that provisions of the Public Order Ordinance (POO) in Hong Kong
contravene international human rights standards, including rights
to freedom of expression and assembly as guaranteed by the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Hong Kong
is a party. The organisation raised these concerns with the Hong
Kong authorities in advance of the World Trade Organisation conference
in Hong Kong in December 2005, requesting explicit assurances
that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression
would be upheld. While recognising that the Hong Kong authorities
had a difficult task in policing the protests, and that not all
protesters were peaceful, Amnesty International remains concerned
about possible excessive use of force, including the use of pepper
spray, beanbag rounds and teargas against demonstrators; and large-scale
detentions of more than 1,000 protesters, some of whom alleged
they were ill-treated in police custody. The vast majority were
later released without charge. The organisation urges the authorities
to conduct a full, independent and impartial investigation into
the actions of the police in connection with the protests and
for the results to be made public.
Violence against women
Amnesty International is concerned that the
Domestic Violence Ordinance narrowly defines domestic violence
as physical violence between couples, leaving many victims or
survivors outside the scope of protection. A coroner's court verdict
on the death of Kim Shuk-ying and her two daughters at the hands
of her husband in September 2005 helped to accelerate the process
of revising the Ordinance, but it remains unclear when an amended
version will be introduced.
Anti-racial discrimination legislation
Amnesty International provided a detailed submission
to the Hong Kong authorities as part of a public consultation
on proposed anti-racial discrimination legislation in February
2005. The organisation called on the authorities to:
include new arrivals, including persons
from the Chinese mainland, within the scope and protection of
ensure that immigration legislation
is subject to the principles of the law;
ensure that any special exception
regarding application of the law to small companies and small-scale
employers is limited to a time reasonable to adapt to the new
amend the definition of "indirect
discrimination" to ensure greater protection, for example
by reviewing similar legislation in other States, in particular
Australia and the United Kingdom.
[For further information, see submission by
Amnesty International Hong Kong at http://www.amnesty.org.hk/materials/racial_discr_sub.doc]
A draft of the proposed legislation is not yet available and it
remains unclear when it will be passed.
Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
Amnesty International urges the authorities
to ensure greater protection from discrimination for lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgendered people in Hong Kong. The organisation
welcomed the ruling of a first-instance court last year that a
law prohibiting sex between consenting men under 21 was discriminatory
and a violation of human rights. The Hong Kong authorities have
appealed the ruling but the hearing has not yet taken place. Hong
Kong rights activists have also protested the decision of the
Hong Kong authorities to commission the Society for Truth and
Light, a conservative Christian group which opposes gay rights,
and "excessive" use of human rights to educate school
teachers on human rights and anti-discrimination. Amnesty International
understands that the Hong Kong authorities are currently considering
whether to allow the UK Consulate to conduct same-sex civil partnerships
in Hong Kong in line with recent UK legislation.
Protection of asylum seekers and refugees
While China has ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention,
it has not extended it to Hong Kong. The Office of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) assesses the claims of asylum
seekers in Hong Kong, but such individuals remain vulnerable to
discrimination and are generally detained pending the results
of their application. They are not entitled to assistance and
are not allowed to engage in either paid or voluntary work, leaving
many of them destitute. In June 2004, the Hong Kong Court of Final
Appeal ruled that the authorities must assess individual asylum
seekers' claims that they had fled torture before issuing a deportation
order. Amnesty International welcomed this decision but considers
that extending the scope of the Refugee Convention to Hong Kong
would provide far greater protection for asylum seekers and refugees
in the SAR.
Rendition and the death penalty
Amnesty International is concerned at the failure
of the authorities to conclude a formal agreement governing the
rendition of individuals between the Hong Kong SAR and the Chinese
mainland. These concerns are particularly acute in connection
with Hong Kong residents facing the death penalty in China. Hong
Kong abolished the death penalty in 1993. However, formal procedures
governing the transfer of criminal suspects from Hong Kong to
the mainland to face the death penalty do not appear to exist.
Hong Kong residents on capital charges in China and their families
receive little assistance from the Hong Kong authorities in terms
of practical support, such as legal aid, or information regarding
their rights throughout the criminal process.
Chinese government officials are sensitive to
public comment and criticism on their human rights record from
world leaders, as found in the press, in international venues.
The Chinese authorities aspire to be a well-respected, modernising,
forward-looking nation. They want to be compared favourable to
the "developed" nations, and do not want to be categorised
among the worst cases.
Amnesty International thus urges the UK government
Speak out forcefully in regarding
human rights violations in China through both public and private
Be sure to raise human rights concerns
during high-level meetings with Chinese leaders. The failure to
do so will not only send the wrong message to the Chinese leadership,
but to Chinese civil society as well.