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  • Writer's pictureXiaodong Fang

China keeps intensifying human rights abuses as the Chinese Communist Party turns 100

As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates its 100th anniversary on July 1, 2021, the government has increased restrictions on basic political and civil rights and intensified an assault on all human rights throughout China.

Photo from Unsplash

What Happened:

In Xinjiang, despite the international calls for an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity, the Chinese government has accelerated repressive policies against Uyghurs and other Muslim communities, resulting in killings, torture, mass arbitrary detention, and family separations. Although China denies all allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute found evidence in 2020 of more than 380 of these "re-education camps" in Xinjiang, an increase of 40% on previous estimates.

Hong Kong, the once open international hub, is looking increasingly like other Chinese cities under Beijing's tight grip, subject to Chinese laws and censorship. As of June 27, 2021, over 100 people had been arrested under the national security law and 64 charged. Crackdown measures that would have been previously unthinkable have arrived at a dizzying speed. According to BBC, at least 53 former lawmakers and opposition activists were arrested for "subverting state power" on January 6, 2021. They had taken part in an unofficial primary election the previous summer, designed to field the strongest pro-democracy candidates in a legislative election that, in the end, never took place, ostensibly due to coronavirus. On June 17, 500 police officers raided its newsroom for a second time, seizing journalists' materials and arresting the paper's directors. National security police then froze the company's assets. Less than a week later, the newspaper announced it would shut down and cease all digital operations due to the untenable environment.

The suppression and brainwashing are extended to younger generations. Ahead of the 100th anniversary of CCP, President Xi Jinping has launched a nationwide campaign for citizens to study newly revised volumes of Communist Party history and celebrate its achievements. According to Los Angeles Times, all cinemas in China have been ordered to screen at least two nationalistic propaganda films each week. Schools, hospitals, lawyers associations, and Buddhist and Taoist temples have held “Red” singing competitions, patriotic poetry recitations and political study sessions.

The CCP is also erasing its dark history and crimes against humanity. The newest edition of official party history no longer criticizes Mao Zedong for chaos and killings in the 1960s and ‘70s, but praises his Cultural Revolution as an anti-corruption measure and blames the upheavals on “insufficient implementation of his correct ideology.” For years, China has quashed any discussion on the mainland of its bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, nearly erasing what happened from the collective consciousness. Those who tried to commemorate erased history are subject to unlawful detention and incrimination. Dong Zehua, then 28, was detained for months for wearing a T-shirt to Tiananmen Square that commemorated the 1989 massacre and protests.

The Chinese government's delayed response and mishandling of COVID-19 have caused the global pandemic since 2020. Authorities also detained Chinese people for rumor-mongering, censored online discussions of the outbreak, and curbed media reporting. According to Human Rights Watch's China report, in areas under lockdown, particularly in Wuhan in early 2020 and in Xinjiang in August, authorities failed to ensure appropriate access to medical care, food, and other necessities. In Xinjiang, authorities forced some residents to take traditional Chinese medicine, sealed their apartment doors with iron bars, and chained those who violated lockdown measures to metal posts. Authorities across the country blocked family members of those who died of the virus from bringing allegations of negligence against the government, hospitals, and quarantine hotels.

Apart from the inhumane lockdown, the government also detained and charged those trying to reveal and spread the truth of the unlawful measures regarding COVID-19. Authorities detained lawyer and citizen journalist Chen Qiushi, businessman Fang Bin, activist Zhang Zhan, and others for their independent reporting on the outbreak in Wuhan. Beijing police detained Chen Mei and Cai Wei for archiving censored news articles, interviews, and personal accounts related to the outbreak.

What to do:

First, please keep calling for international support, especially free world leaders and influential figures, to press CCP and the Chinese government to stop the human rights abuses and violations on Chinese people. For example, let's call on the Government of the United States and like-minded allies and partners to support human rights in China, and let's call on technological giants to develop tech support and enable free expression and information in China.

Second, please contact your Representatives and/or Senators to support the bills condemning the wrongdoings of CCP and the Chinese government. For example, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced the resolution “condemning the Chinese Communist Party for 100 years of gross violations of human rights and standing with the Chinese people in their struggle for liberty” on Friday, June 25, 2021, ahead of the CCP’s centenary anniversary on July 1.

For 100 years, CCP has kept bringing disasters to our common humanity. Now as it increases repression in China internally and expands aggression externally, we must take actions to stop its human rights abuses and bring freedom and democracy for people in China.


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