Tuesday, March 13, 2007

HRW: China: Repression Spikes as People’s Congress Closes

Human Rights Watch just released a news report depicting how chaotic things have been in China during the last couple of weeks...just one big mess after another, after another.

Largest “Clean-up” of Protesters and Rights Activists in Years

HRW (Hong Kong, March 14, 2007) – China’s annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing has been marred by increasingly violent crackdowns on protesters, petitioners and rights activists across the country and a surge in house arrests of activists, Human Rights Watch said today.

Protests in Hunan and Guangdong provinces were violently suppressed on March 11 and March 12 respectively. In both cases, specially dispatched riot police attacked the crowds, according to eyewitnesses cited in international news reports. In Beijing, hundreds of petitioners have been rounded up over the past two weeks, in the largest “clean-up” operation by the police in recent years. Dozens of rights activists across the country are being held under house arrest or being so closely monitored that their freedom has been significantly impaired.

“House arrest is becoming the weapon of choice for the authorities in silencing and repressing civil rights activists,” said Adams. “It is imposed at the entire discretion of the police and takes place outside of any legal procedure – you can’t get more arbitrary than that.”

"If this is how the government is going to deal with dissents before and during the Olympics, it will backfire spectacularly,” said Adams. “The heavy-handed measures we have witnessed in recent weeks are completely out of line with the expected behavior of an Olympic host. They show China as a repressive police state instead of the modern country its leaders hope to portray.” (more)

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