By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 28: A coalition of international human rights group has urged select UN member states to question China on human rights advocates who have been persecuted by Beijing, at the UN Human Rights Council during the ongoing 37th regular session in Geneva.
The coalition including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Campaign for Tibet and the International Commission of Jurists pointed out five specific cases including Tibetan language education campaigner Tashi Wangchuk who is currently incarcerated in a Chinese prison in occupied Tibet.
The letter addressed to specific UN member states sought support and intervention in pressing China’s human rights abuses, specifically for Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo’ wife and poet Liu Xia, who remains under house arrest since July 2017; Wang Quanzhang, a rights lawyer held incommunicado since July 9, 2015; Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen arbitrarily detained in China since he vanished from Thailand in October 2015; Yu Wensheng, a prominent human rights lawyer disbarred, then arbitrarily detained, in January 2018 as well as Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan cultural rights and education advocate who has been detained more than two years on charges of inciting separatism.
The press release stated, “These are just five cases among hundreds, if not more. Taken together, they show that the ferocious crackdown on human rights defenders, including lawyers, that has intensified since President Xi Jinping assumed power continues unabated.
“The Human Rights Council should take further steps to show China that undermining key legal protections for freedoms of expression and association and the rights to a fair trial, not to mention disappearing or arbitrarily detaining dissenting voices, is unacceptable behaviour – especially for a would-be ‘global leader.”
Over 19 rights groups chimed in to support the letter. Prominent International groups such as Amnesty International, China Labour Bulletin, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Human Rights in China, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Tibet, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, the International Service for Human Rights, Lawyers for Lawyers, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, PEN America, Swedish PEN, the Tibet Advocacy Coalition (comprised of the International Tibet Network Secretariat, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Initiative Deutschland, Tibet Justice Center, and Tibetan Youth Association in Europe), and the World Uyghur Congress, have teamed up for the campaign.