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Tibetans participate in a candlelight vigil following news of the self immolation protest by a 24 yr old Tibetan named Pema Gyaltsen in Nyarong, Kham, on March 18, 2017. McLeod Ganj, March 19, 2017 Phayul Photo:Kunsang Gashon
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Defending human rights in China remains a high-risk activity, shows report
[Thursday, February 16, 2017 15:26]
By Tenzin Monlam

DHARAMSHALA, FEB 16: The annual report by the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) have found deterioration of human rights situation in China under president Xi Jinping who has rolled out series of draconian law empowering the police to criminalize human rights activities.

According to the report of the coalition of Chinese and international rights group, China has moved further away from political openness and rule of law reform under Xi’s authoritarian government in 2016, thus making the job of defending human rights in China a ‘high-risk activity’.

From targeting rights defenders as criminals and subjecting them to extreme tortures to extract ‘forced confession’, the report highlights the new laws specifically formulated to target human rights defenders.

“Beijing seems intent on eliminating civil society through a combination of new legislations restricting the funding and operations of NGOs, and the criminalization of human rights activities as a so-called threat to national security,” Frances Eve, a researcher at CHRD, told the Guardian.

The group calls for the immediate halt of ‘criminalizing the activities of human rights defenders’ if China is to live up to its promises to protect human rights.

“We call on the government to release the detained rights defenders, ensure prompt and impartial investigations of allegations of torture and prosecute suspected perpetrators, holding them legally accountable and guaranteeing detainees’ prompt access to legal counsel,” CHRD appealed in its report.

They have also urged Beijing to revoke the draconian terms in national legislation that restrict the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and to allow NGOs to play a full and active role in promoting and protecting human rights in China.

Despite dreadful human rights records for over decades, China was re-elected to the Human Rights Council for another term in October 2016. Taking a dig at the decision, the organization highlighted how China, throughout the year, has defied UN’s demand to end its crackdown on civil society and their continuous obstruction to the international efforts at the UN to protect rights defenders.
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