It’s Time for the UK to Adopt and Enact Global Human Rights Accountability Bill
Today marks the four anniversary of the death of Cao Shunli in state custody. It is essential and urgent that UK should adopt and enact Global Human Rights Accountability Bill.
The bill will strive to guard against and prevent extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations according to International Bill of Human Rights and other international conventions while promote human rights in the UK and other countries. The Act should authorize the UK enforcement authorities to impose whole range of human rights accountability including travel ban and property sanctions against any foreign person who is responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations in any country. The legal proceedings against human rights perpetrators should start if he or she has been in the UK.
The sacrifice of the people in other countries and disregard for the universality of human rights will not increase the welfare of the British people. On the contrary, it can only lead to the erosion of those parallel rights on the British soil.
In China, all levels of officials have violated rights with complete impunity for long periods. Xi Jinping's presidency has seen the worst human rights violations in the country since the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. Over 3,500 human rights defenders have been subjected to forced disappearance and arbitrary detention in China. Torture and ill-treatment are widely practiced across the country.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s war on "extremists", "separatists" and "terrorists" in Tibet, East Turkestan (Xinjiang) and throughout China has led to thousands of government-sponsored acts of torture and hundreds of extrajudicial killings. In Tibet, the repression by the authorities has been so severe that over 150 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest.
Tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners have been held by the Chinese Communist Party regime. A dozen prisoners of conscience and political prisoners including Zhang Jianhong (a.k.a. Li Hong), Cao Shunli, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Peng Ming died in state custody in recent years. Last year, Yang Tongyan (a.k.a. Yang Tianshui ), a freelance writer and democracy veteran, died of brain cancer two months after he was released on medical parole, still under surveillance. Similarly, Liu Xiaobo, the first Nobel Peace Prize winner, died in state custody since Nazi Germany.
A partial list of human rights abusers responsible for the torture and death of human rights defenders in China and Tibet is below
1. Impose Global Human Rights Accountability Bill against Chinese Officials responsible for Zhang Jianhong’s Torture and Death.
Xi Jinping, CCP Secretary of Zhejiang Province (2003-07)
Cai Qi, CCP Deputy Secretary of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province (2007-10)
Wang Huizhong, Head of Zhejiang Public Security Department and head of the CCP Zhejiang Political and Legal Affairs Department. (2003-10)
Zhang Jianhong (aka Li Hong 1958-2010), poet, playwright and author, was arrested in September 2006 and sentenced to six years in prison for writing articles critical of the government in March 2007. In May 2007, Zhang Jianhong was diagnosed with muscle atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system, and his condition rapidly deteriorated in prison. In October 2007 he was transferred to Zhejiang Provincial Prison Hospital. However, authorities repeatedly denied requests for his release to obtain medical care until he was released on medical parole in a critical condition on 5 June 2010. He remained at a hospital in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province until his death on 31 December 2010. All the officials responible for the death of Zhang Jianhong have been promoted.
2. Impose Global Human Rights Accountability Bill against Chinese Officials responsible for Cao Shunli’s Torture and Death.
Guo Shengkun, Minister, Ministry of Public Security (2013-17)
Fu Zhenghua, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Public Security (2013-16)
Tao Jing, Deputy Head of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (2013-17)
Cao Shunli (1961-2014), human rights activist, was arrested after attempting to board a flight to attend human rights training in Geneva, Switzerland. She was held at the Chaoyang District Detention Center in Beijing, and told her lawyer that she was not receiving adequate medical care in detention. Authorities repeatedly denied requests for her release to obtain medical care. On February 19, 2014, in critical condition, authorities took her to the 309 Hospital in Beijing. She died in a military hospital on 14 March 2014.
3. Impose Global Human Rights Accountability Bill against Chinese Officials responsible for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s Torture and Death.
Wang Dongming, CCP Secretary of Sichuan Province (2012 to present)
Deng Yong, Head of Sichuan Public Security Department (May 2015-17)
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (1950-2015), Tibetan religious leader, was initially given a suspended death sentence in 2002 and later commuted to life imprisonment based on false “terrorism” charges. His family repeatedly requested that he be released on medical parole. Authorities repeatedly denied requests for his release. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in jail on 12 July 2015. His body was cremated against his family's wishes.
4. Recommendation: impose Global Human Rights Accountability Bill against Chinese Officials responsible for Peng Ming’s Torture and Death.
Li Hongzhong, CCP Secretary of Hubei Province
Zeng Xin, Head of Hubei Public Security Department (2014-present)
Peng Ming (1956-2016), democracy activist, holding a travel document issued by the U.S. government to asylees, was kidnapped in Burma and taken back to China in May 2004. In 2005, Peng was jailed for life based on false “terrorism” charges. On 29 November 2016, Peng suddenly died in Xianning prison, Hubei Province. No autopsy or forensic report has been performed.
5. Recommendation: impose Global Human Rights Accountability Bill against Chinese Officials responsible for Liu Xiaobo’s Torture and Death.
Xi Jinping, General Secretary of CCP
6. Recommendation: impose Global Human Rights Accountability Bill against
Chinese Officials responsible for Yang Tongyan’s Torture and Death.
Li Qiang, CCP Secretary of Jiangsu Province (2016-17)
Wang Like, Head of Jiangsu Public Security Department (2012-17)
Yang Tongyan (1961-2017), a freelance writer and democracy veteran, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for writing articles critical of the government. Yang suffered from tuberculosis, diabetes, nephritis and high blood pressur since his first imprisonment from 1990 to 2000. Yang's family applied for his medical parole again and again since 2009 but the prison authority refused the requests. Yang was released on medical parole on 16 August 2017, following his diagnosis of a brain tumour, four months before his completing sentence. However, Yang was denied adequate medical treatment by the Chinese authorities while he was not been allowed to travel abroad for treatment either. He died aged 56 on 7 November 2017.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.