The situation for human rights and social activists in China this year was “one of the worst” in recent memory, according to a new report from a China-based human rights group released ahead of International Human Rights Day today.
The Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a non-governmental network of grassroots and international social activists, said 2011 saw extensive use of forced disappearances and unlawful house arrests by Chinese authorities, especially during the “Jasmine Crackdown” between February and June, said the report, which was released yesterday.
The report also raised concern over a proposed amendment to the Criminal Procedural Law, first announced in August, which CHRD said would legalize forced disappearances.
The length of disappearances has also lengthened, according to the group, with some individuals appearing shaken up and saying that they were forced to remain silent after their release.
An underground priest who was held in detention in the past said China’s social conflicts have increased as ordinary citizens became more aware of their rights and as government officials have become more arrogant about protecting their vested interests.
The internationalization of China has become inevitable, and acute conflicts over rights have continued, and so “forced disappearance is certainly a good way to save time and effort for officials to solve problems,” the priest said.
“If we are not willing to be eaten up by the government-sanctioned Catholic Patriotic Association, the fate of forced disappearance of underground clergy would be unavoidable.”
CHRD also appealed to the international community in its report to call for the release of Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobao, human rights lawyers Gao Zhisheng and Chen Guangcheng, and those who remain detained following the Jasmine Crackdown.
After anonymous appeals for a “Jasmine Revolution in China” began to spread through Chinese websites, the government took strict precautions against assemblies and initiated a large-scale crackdown on human rights activists.