US State Department: Arbitrary detention of human rights lawyers, activist increase in China in 2015
Apr 14, 2016 03:03 AM EDT
The U.S. State Department's annual human rights report released on Wednesday highlighted China's discriminating treatment against Chinese lawyers and law firms that handle cases that are considered politically sensitive.
The human rights report indicated that incidence of repression and coercion against civil and political rights advocates has noticeably increased in China in 2015. Lawyers and law firms were subjected to interrogation and investigation. Many of them were also arbitrarily detained in unknown locations for months without access to counsel or family members and on no justifiable ground.
"The crackdown on the legal community was particularly severe, as individual lawyers and law firms that handled cases the government deemed 'sensitive' were targeted for harassment and detention," the dossier said, as quoted by Reuters.
According to Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski, these human rights offenses are attempts by the government to impose their strength. By implementing crackdowns, the government is projects a system where the "rule of law is respected and corruption is punished and exposed."
In a report by the Human Rights Watch, Chinese authorities repeatedly violated the detainees' right to due process. According to the organization, the detainees, which include 18 human rights lawyers, legal assistants and activists, are being held on questionable charges of subversion or incitement to subversion. Moreover, parts of their interrogations were broadcast on state television, and most of them have been denied to talk to lawyers of their choice.
According to the Daily Mail, the report also looked into the disappearances of five men who worked in Hong Kong's publishing industries, in which Chinese authorities were believed to be perpetrators.
Those that went missing reportedly worked in book stores that sold material about the sex lives of top Chinese Communist Party officials and other politically sensitive subject matters.
The U.S. State Department's annual human rights reports give a detail insight on human rights practices and violations of governments in 199 countries. The report also criticized Turkey, Malaysia and Tajikistan for enforcing broad counter terrorism or national security laws that repress political dissent and undermine freedom of expression.