Call to China to respect human rights on Tiananmen anniversary

Christian Solidarity Worldwide says it is deeply concerned about the Chinese government's treatment of human rights defenders.

One Christian rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, disappeared in April 2010 after speaking to the media about being tortured in detention. Chinese news agency Xinhua reported in December 2011 that Gao had violated the terms of his probation and had been returned to prison to serve three years behind bars. Last August, two lawyers hired by Gao's brother were refused access to Gao on the grounds that he had not signed a letter authorising their visit and that he did not need legal representation because he was a lawyer.

There are also concerns for Ni Yulan, who specialises in housing rights. She was severely beaten whilst in police custody in 2002 and has encountered further difficulties since then. CSW reports that she has been disbarred and that her home was destroyed. In April 2011, Ni and her husband were detained by Beijing Police and Ni was formally charged on 17 May with "provoking trouble". Ni's daughter, who was present at the trial, reported that her mother gave evidence from a hospital bed while on oxygen.

In Sichuan, seven lawyers were reportedly beaten by unidentified attackers when they tried to visit a 'black jail', or extralegal detention centre, on 13 May 2013. They were detained by the police on the charge of "obstructing official business" but were later released.

In the lead up to the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on Tuesday, CSW says Chinese activists have been detained, "cautioned" and prevented from organising related events.

CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, "On the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square tragedy, we call upon the Chinese government to fully respect the rights of its citizens, including the right to freedom of religion or belief, and to release all those who have been detained, placed under house arrest or 'disappeared' for endeavouring to defend human rights peacefully. We also urge the government to conduct a full and impartial investigation into the events of June 1989."