Even as the world marks the 67th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, China continues to crackdown on rights defenders and others who seek to peacefully question official policy and contribute to the public discourse on China’s future.
Since July, the Chinese government has detained nearly 300 lawyers and activists. The United States has called for the release of more than 20 such people who remain in custody, as well as Ilham Tohti, Khenpo Kartse, Zhang Kai, Gao Yu, and Liu Xiaobo.
Rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, who was arrested following his participation in a private meeting to peacefully mark the 25th anniversary of the violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests, is currently on trial. He stands accused of making "criminal" comments online, "inciting ethnic hatred," and "picking quarrels and provoking troubles."Pu Zhiqiang has been detained since May 2014.
The United States Mission to the United Nations recently expressed concern with China’s National Security Law, noting that it codifies an expansive and vague definition of “national security” that invites arbitrary and situational interpretation by security forces. In addition, the United States is also concerned that the government’s Draft Foreign Nongovernmental Management Law would unreasonably constrict civil society and undermine people-to-people exchange.
It is incumbent on China to uphold the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Marking the 67th anniversary of this important document on December 10, President Barack Obama said, “We will continue to lift up the lives of all who yearn to exercise their inherent human rights and to shine a light on those still living in the darkest pockets of our world.”