Sunday, September 18, 2022

Further Documenting PRC Censorship of the UN and Xinjiang

 In a previous post this blog showed how PRC Internet companies censored information relating to Michelle Bachelet's May 2022 "visit" to Xinjiang in her capacity as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: https://blog.feichangdao.com/2022/06/Un-Bachelet-Xinjiang-Censorship.html. On August 31, 2022, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued its "Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China." The Office's findings included: 

Serious human rights violations have been committed in XUAR in the context of the Government’s application of counter-terrorism and counter-“extremism” strategies. The implementation of these strategies, and associated policies in XUAR has led to interlocking patterns of severe and undue restrictions on a wide range of human rights.

The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups, pursuant to law and policy, in context of restrictions and deprivation more generally of fundamental rights enjoyed individually and collectively, may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.

[P]atterns of intimidations, threats and reprisals are generally credible and are likely to have caused, and continue to cause, a serious chilling effect on these communities’ rights to freedom of expression, privacy, physical integrity and family life, and in consequence inhibit the flow of information on the situation inside XUAR.
Source: https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/documents/countries/2022-08-31/22-08-31-final-assesment.pdf

Given the report's conclusions, it is no surprise that the same PRC government spokespeople who welcomed Bachelet's conduct of her Xinjiang visit, were less than complimentary about the Assessment issued on the last day of her tenure.


The official PRC response maintained that the Assessment was "based on disinformation and lies," (https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/documents/countries/2022-08-31/ANNEX_A.pdf) and some  foreigners living in the PRC who like to jokingly refer to themselves as paid propagandists (e.g., "wumao") circumvented the Great Firewall to use blocked-in-China Twitter to offer their opinion that the Assessment was based on no evidence or insufficient evidence.

The UN, however, stated the Assessment was:

[B]ased on a rigorous review of documentary material currently available to the Office, with its credibility assessed in accordance with standard human rights methodology. 
Particular attention was given to the Government’s own laws, policies, data and statements. The Office also requested information and engaged in dialogue and technical exchanges with China throughout the process.
The Assessment contained over 300 footnotes, many of which cited to documents and articles published by the PRC government and its officially licensed media outlets. For example, many of the facts set forth in the section titled "Methodologies applied to identify suspects and persons 'at risk' of 'extremism,'" were based on an article published on Sina.com.cn (which was originally published on guancha.cn - a website founded by Eric X. Li and licensed by the PRC government to publish news (互联网新闻信息服务许可证:31220170001).

Sources: http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2014-12-24/093231321497.shtml | https://web.archive.org/web/20141228193159/http://www.guancha.cn/FaZhi/2014_12_23_304258.shtml

That article served as the basis for the following statement:

Various forms of conduct associated with the expression of different opinions, stated in broad terms, are also considered a sign of “extremism”. These include, for instance, “resisting current policies and regulations”; “using mobile phone text messages and WeChat and other social chat software to exchange learning experience, read illegal religious propaganda materials”; “carrying illegal political and religious books and audio-visual products or checking them at the residence”; or “using satellite receivers, Internet, radio and other equipment to illegally listen to, watch, and spread overseas religious radio and television programs”, “resisting government propaganda” and “refusing to watch normal movies and TV networks”.
In addition, the Assessment made it clear that the PRC government did not respond to its requests for information about several key issues:

As part of an ongoing process of dialogue, on 17 March 2021, OHCHR formally submitted to the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations in Geneva a request for specific sets of information, detailing various areas of particular interest, including official data, based on its review of the material up to that stage, but did not receive formal response.

OHCHR requested but did not receive from the Government information on the curriculum and skills recognition system in the centres.

This information was requested from the Government of China in March 2021, which has not responded to date.

On 9 March 2021, OHCHR requested information from the Government on jurisprudence from Chinese courts and decisions of administrative bodies implementing anti-terrorism and anti-“extremism” policies. No response was received.

Both the US and Canadian embassies reported that their attempts to post information relating to the Assessment on Tencent's WeChat and Sina's Weibo were censored.

PRC-based search engines like Baidu censored search results relating to the Assessment to prevent users from being able to find it. For example, these two screenshots were both taken on September 4, 2022. They show that, while Baidu has indexed over 70,000 pages from the domain where the report was published, any search query containing the word "Xinjiang" will return no results from that domain. 

These screenshots were taken the same day, and show that the same query on Bing and Google returned the Assessment as the top result among thousands.

Baidu also censored individual URLs that referenced the Assessment. For example, the screenshots below were taken several days apart, and show that on September 4, 2022, one of Baidu's top results for the query "United Nations Xinjiang Report" (联合国 新疆报告), was a press release titled "United Nations Human Rights Report: China Responsible for 'Serious Human Rights Violations' in Xinjiang" (联合国人权报告:中国应对新疆发生的“严重侵犯人权行为”负责) published on the United Nations' website at this URL: https://www.un.org/zh/node/189019. However, by September 7, 2022 that results was no longer appearing on the first page of Baidu's results for that query.

September 4: https://archive.ph/8Ur0I

September 7: https://archive.ph/fqOBy

One explanation could be that the result was still available on Baidu, and that it was simply appearing on a later page. However, these screenshots show that in fact Baidu had censored that specific URL.

September 4: https://archive.ph/KKZt2

September 17:  https://archive.ph/WQ31s

Another possible explanation is that the page itself could have been removed from that URL. However, these archives show that the report remained at that URL at least until the date of this blog post:



Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Guo Qizhen's Essay Extolling Civil Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng

In 2007, a PRC appeals court upheld a lower court's judgment finding Guo Qizhen (郭起真) guilty of inciting subversion of state power on the grounds that he "distributed a large number of articles on the 'Democracy Forum' website, attacked and cursed the State government, and disseminated speech that damaged the State regime, the socialist system, and the judicial system." Below is a translation of one of the articles cited by court: "Announcement Regarding Participating in Gao Zhisheng's Hunger Strike." A full translation of the court's judgment can be found on p. 365 of "State Prosecutions of Speech in the People's Republic of China: Cases Illustrating the Application of National Security and Public Order Laws to Political and Religious Expression," available for free download at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4168412. More information about civil rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng can be found here:

Announcement Regarding Participating in Gao Zhisheng's Hunger Strike

(March 16, 2006)

Within a 12 hour period yesterday, I received calls from three foreign journalists, specifically Radio Free Asia, The Epoch Times, and Voice of Hope. The following are the answers I gave to the questions of common concern of the three journalists. And I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to them for the interview!

1. What do you think of Gao Zhisheng as a person?

Perhaps it is because I have suffered grievances for over the past twelve years, enduring too many ups and down in a fickle world where I am limited by my own narrow interests, but in my heart I long for there to be more good people like lawyer Gao. Good people who will pay attention to and help more poor people in need. Therefore, when I think about the fact that lawyer Gao spends one-third of his time and energy every year to provide legal aid for people who have no financial means, I am very moved, even to the point of tears.

In particular, over the last ten days I have read almost all the articles about Lawyer Gao, and I have come to understand more about why Lawyer Gao does not stand by doing nothing and remaining silent in order to avoid the "third rail" of Falun Gong that everyone fears so much. Instead, he bravely stepped forward and faced the flames, and endured all kinds of pressure and terror from the government, and he has been able to fight with special persistence to this day without turning back.

Lawyer Gao grew up in an impoverished family, and even the countryside where he lives now is extremely poor. As young man with outstanding academic achievements and ambition he had to drop out of middle school due to poverty. One can imagine how irresistible the temptation of money and career would be for such a poor person.

Frankly speaking, if I had experienced as rough a life as Lawyer Gao, a lawyer who only had a middle school education, obtained his lawyer qualification through self-study, and worked hard in a capital full of talent without any social background, and miraculously reached the peak of my own law firm, then I would certainly have stayed in line and tacitly abided by the "iron law" that can only be understood and not spoken, and enjoy the fruits of white-collar aristocratic life. I would take my comfort in being an enormous hog and a zombie. I might even find 10,000 reasons for my depravity and jadedness.

But there is more than one thought that separates angels from devils! We can be assured that human history will forever be inscribed with the holy love that Lawyer Gao brought to the world. In the presence of such an angel, if I were to continue to remain silent I would be a waste of a human being.

2. Why do you want to participate in Gao Zhisheng's hunger strike to protest  government persecution?

First of all, what Lawyer Gao has done in recent months is in full compliance with the legal rights conferred on every citizen by the law. In spite of this, the government has imposed nearly three months of residential surveillance, internal and external investigation, and spreading rumors against Lawyer Gao. This is not only a violation of the legitimate rights and interests of a citizen and a very serious and particularly egregious violation of the criminal law, it is also a challenge to a cause recognized by the world as a just one.

Therefore, any Chinese person with a conscience, every kind person, should firmly support lawyer Gao Zhisheng's just actions. Lawyer Gao did his best to help the poor and those who needed attention when he was at the height of his success, and he deserves more attention when he is facing great losses. To pay attention to Lawyer Gao means to pay attention to the future of the Chinese nation; to support Lawyer Gao means to support the just actions of the early rejuvenation of the nation.

Other reasons for participating in Gao Zhisheng's hunger strike are: I reported Ma Guichen, the leader of that unit [n.b. Ma was the Director and Secretary of Housing Management Office in Cangzhou, Hebei), for violating the law and discipline, and as a result I was arrested and jailed many times and dismissed from public office. In addition, out of concern for two innocent people who were sentenced to death on suspicion of murder (who were acquitted in 1999), I complained to the relevant authorities, and was twice charged with subversion of state power and sent to a black prison, and suffered 12 years of imprisonment and brutal persecution. Furthermore, in Cangzhou, Cui Hongtao (tel. 0317-2224398, his mother Wang Jinru), an innocent citizen in Renqiu City, Cangzhou, has been detained in prison for more than ten years. He was sentenced to death four times, but to this day the case remains open due to insufficient evidence.

3. When did you join the hunger strike?

In view of the deteriorating human rights situation in China, I decided to go on a hunger strike from 12:00 on the 8th to 12:00 on the 9th in order to respond to and participate in lawyer Gao Zhisheng's hunger strike.

And for the nearby hunger strikers who supported Lawyer Gao, they provided their current residence as a venue for activities. Contact Telephone: 0317-3077580.

The hunger strike will continue until the government stops all actions infringing upon  Lawyer Gao, allows Lawyer Gao's office to resume normal operations, and the my unjust cases are resolved openly and justly.

4. What is your appeal to the global media and the world?

I hereby strongly appeal to the just forces all over the world to pay attention to China, and make unremitting efforts to push our country, which has a population of more than one billion people, to rid itself of barbaric rule as soon as possible, to make a peaceful transition to a democratic system as soon as possible, and to integrate into the mainstream global civilized society as soon as possible. 

关于参加高智晟律师绝食抗议活动的声明/郭起真

(2006年3月16日)

    昨天十二小时以内,我收到三个境外记者采访的电话,他们分别是亚洲自由电台、大纪元和希望之声。下面就三位记者共同关注的问题做以下答复。并对她们的采访表示衷心的感谢!
    
     1、你怎么样看待高智晟本人? (博讯 boxun.com)

    
    也许是讫今为止我蒙受了整整十二年的冤屈,经受了太多太多酸甜苦辣和世态炎凉,又仅仅囿于个人狭隘的利益,内心自然渴望着像高律师这样的好人多点,再多点,好人都能够关注和帮助更多需要帮助的穷人。所以,当我知道高律师每年要用三分之一的时间和精力,来为没有经济能力的人承担法律援助,内心就特别的感动,甚至深深感动的热泪涌流。
    
    特别是最近十几天,我几乎看了介绍高律师的所有文章,更加了解了高律师为什么会在法轮功这个世人唯恐避之不及的"高压线"上没有袖手旁观,没有听之任之,没有保持沉默,而是勇敢的挺身而出、引火烧身,而且承受着政府方面的各种压力和恐怖,还能够义无反顾的特别执着的奋斗到今天。
    
    高律师是生长在一个特别贫穷的家庭,即使是现在他所居住的农村也相当的贫穷。一个学习特别优秀,胸怀大志的少年因贫穷中学辍学,可想而知金钱和事业对于如此贫穷的人,是会有多么不可抗拒的诱惑力。
    
    坦率的讲,如果我经历了高律师如此坎坷的人生道路,一个仅有着中学学历,靠自己的刻苦自学获得律师资格,在人才济济的京城又没有任何的社会背景下打拼,竟然奇迹般的拥有了自己的律师事务所,说的上是达到了如日中天的颠峰时刻,我肯定会按部就班、心照不宣的去恪守只可意会不应言传的"铁律",轻而易举的坐享白领贵族的生活,从而心安理得的充当丧尽天良的"大大陆猪"和一块行尸走肉。我甚至可能会为自己的堕落和世俗找出一万个理由!
    
    但是,魔鬼与天使之间,岂止是在一念之间呀!想必人类历史终将永远的铭刻高律师给人间带来的圣爱。面对如此的天使,如果再保持沉默,真的是枉披了一块人皮。
    
    1、为什么要参加高智晟以绝食形式抗议政府迫害活动?
    
    首先,高律师在近几个月所做的一切,完全符合法律赋予每一个公民的合法权力,而政府因此对高律师采取停业、兴师动众的近三个月的监视居住、内查外调和造谣生事、粗暴的骚扰,以及发展到了蓄意谋杀的境地,这不仅是对一个公民合法权益的践踏和非常严重、特别恶劣的触犯刑律行为,也是与全世界认同的正义事业的挑战。
    
    因此,任何一位有良知的中国人,每一位善良的人,都应该旗帜鲜明的坚决支持高智晟律师的正义行动。高律师在"春风得意"的时候尽全力的帮助穷人和需要关注的人,他在"败走麦城"时,理应得到更多人的关注。关注高律师,就是关注中华民族的未来;支持高律师,就意味着支持民族的早日振兴的正义行动。
    
    另外一个参加高智晟绝食活动的原因就是:不仅仅是因为我举报本单位领导马桂臣的违法乱纪行为,多次被抓监入狱和开除公职,而且因为我关注俩位涉嫌杀人而打入死牢的无辜百姓(已于99年无罪释放),并向有关部门喊冤,两次被扣上颠覆国家政权罪打入黑牢,蒙受了十二年的残酷迫害。而即使在沧州的今天,沧州辖区的任邱市一位无辜的百姓崔洪涛(电话0317-2224398,其母王金如),在监狱里关押了十几年,四次判处死刑均因证据不足,至今没有结案。
   
    2、何时加入到绝食活动中?
    
    鉴于国内的人权状况日益恶化,我决定在八日中午12点绝食至九日中午12点,以此响应和参加高智晟律师的绝食活动。
    
    并且为附近声援高律师的绝食人士,提供自己现居住的住宅为活动场所。联系电话:0317-3077580。
    
    在政府没有停止对高律师的一切侵权行动,并恢复高律师的事务所正常营业之前;我的冤案没有得到公开、公正的解决之前,会持续的进行绝食活动。
    
    3、你对世界媒体和各界有什么呼吁?
    
    在此特别强烈的呼吁全世界的正义力量都来一起关注中国,为推动我们这个拥有十几亿人口的大国,早日摆脱野蛮统治,尽快和平过渡到民主制度,早日的融入到文明世界的主流社会而不懈努力。

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Gao Zhisheng's 2006 Hunger Strike Announcements

 Gao Zhisheng was named one of the PRC's top 10 lawyers by the Ministry of Justice in 2001  (https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/world/asia/03dissident.html) and was one of 14 PRC civil rights lawyers named Asia Weekly's "People of the Year" in 2005: https://twitter.com/wafarris/status/1553555033282977792.

Gao Zhisheng and his law firm defended clients in many seminal civil rights cases, such as the 2005 prosecution of Xiao Yunfei for publishing Christian literature without government authorization. A translation of her court judgment can be found here: https://ssrn.com/abstract=416841. In 2006, Gao Zhisheng was sentenced to 3 years in prison, suspended, and 5 years probation for subversion of state power after he launched a hunger strike. Two of his announcement that were published online are translated below. More information about civil rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng can be found here:

Proposal for the Formation of a Hunger Strike Solidarity Group
Author: Gao Zhisheng, et. al.
(February 4, 2006)

Over the past few years, all parts of China have been constantly shocked by the despicable incidents of government leadership deploying brutal and malicious means to undertake illegal and brutal beatings, kidnappings, detentions, and even killings of citizens who were peacefully defending their rights in accordance with the law. This is an inevitable phenomenon of  barbaric dictatorship and tyranny in their dying stages. In this uncivilized and immoral system that despises the basic dignity of human beings, the corrupt judicial system itself is the most ferocious organic component of this evil force opposing human civilization. The public security, procuratorial, and legal systems are absurd, but under this system, they have inevitably become the most murderous thugs who violently stifle and block citizens' legal demands. The environment for citizens to protect their rights according to law has deteriorated sharply in the past six months. The underworld forces in the Guangdong provincial government are arrogant and conceited in their brutal and violent acts against peaceful citizens defending their rights. The value of legal restraint is completely absent, and the central government has kept silent, making the underworld forces against human civilization in Guangdong Province even more reckless. Lawyers were violently beaten, lawyer Guo Yan was violently beaten, villagers in Taishi Village were violently beaten, and more than a dozen villagers were illegally detained along with Guo Feixiong. Since then, barbaric violence under the leadership of the government has spread everywhere. Xin, Qi Zhiyong, Xu Zhiyong, Hu Jia, Li Fang and other famous human rights activists have been violently beaten, Gao Zhisheng was repeatedly threatened with violence, and Chen Guangcheng of Shandong was violently beaten. In the past two days, the underworld forces in Guangdong, with the secret police as the main body, have conducted themselves like thugs and repeatedly surrounded Guo Feixiong's family, followed his wife, surrounded his children to take pictures, videotaped, violently beat Tang Jingling, and knocked around Guo Feixiong himself.. Shandong citizen Chen Hua was savagely beaten for visiting Chen Guangcheng, a blind man who had been surrounded for months by underworld forces dominated by secret police in Shandong province during the Chinese New Year.

Given this rapidly deteriorating environment for rights defense, and given that the judiciary has completely become the most ferocious reactionary force that prevents citizens from safeguarding their basic human rights, and given that the persecution of individual citizens by domestic underworld forces has reached the point of lawlessness and unscrupulousness, with the persecuted individuals currently being completely isolated and helpless, we advocated and initiated the formation of a human rights hunger strike solidarity group (hereinafter referred to as the Solidarity Group). The purpose is, from the date of the formation of the Solidarity Group, to use hunger strikes to express solidarity with any citizens at home and abroad who are subjected to violence and illegal persecution. That is to say, it is a hunger strike to express solidarity against the illegal persecution, violent beating of domestic workers, peasants, intellectuals, free believers and members of various groups of the party, government, military and police (including petitioners and pro-democracy activists everywhere) and the brutal persecution of foreign citizens (such as the brutal persecution of North Korean refugees by the Chinese government in the last two years).

This hunger strike will not take into account nationality, race, region, creed, education, or wealth. The form of hunger strike is carried out in various locations. The members of the Solidarity Group may be concentrated in an appropriate location, and in each location (such as the Shengzhi Law Firm in Beijing) each member should participate in a one-day hunger strike at each location. After a 5-day hunger strike is relayed in one location, it will be relayed to another location (for example, after the 5-day hunger strike in Beijing, it can be relayed by a certain location in Shaanxi Province, and a  hunger strike diary will be released to the world every day, such as: The persecution incident of so-and-so, the hunger strike diary in Beijing area Announcement 1...) Any member who participates in the hunger strike Solidarity Group, as well as any non-member, who is brutally persecuted, violently beaten, or illegally arrested by the uncivilized evil forces will trigger a relay hunger strike solidarity process. The relay hunger strike for each victim must be carried out in locations where there are members of the hunger strike Solidarity Group all over the country. While the illegal persecution continues, the relay hunger strike solidarity action will be repeated.
    
When the membership of the Human Rights Hunger Strike Support Group have reached a certain size, the method and venue of the relay hunger strike can be adjusted for situations like the Shanwei Murder Incident.
    
All domestic and foreign members who voluntarily join the Solidarity Group please sign to confirm:
    
Gao Zhisheng, Ma Wendu, Guo Feixiong, Zhao Xin, Hu Jia, Qi Zhiyong, Wang Guoqi, Qian Yumin, Ren Wanding, Jia Jianying, Yang Jing, Li Hai, Gao Jie (Japan), Teng Biao (Gao Zhisheng OBO), Li Heping ( Gao Zhisheng OBO), Tian Yongde (Inner Mongolia), Du Daobin (Wuhan), Cai Chu (USA)

倡议组成维权绝食声援团作者:高智晟等

(2006年2月04日)

     最近几年来,中国各地不断惊现在政府主导下的、以凶残下流的黑社会手段,非法野蛮殴打、绑架、拘禁甚至杀害依法和平维权公民的恶劣事件。这是野蛮的专制独裁暴政至垂死期的必有现象,在这种蔑视人类基本尊严的、反文明的、反道德的体制中,腐败司法制度本身既是这种反人类文明的邪恶力量中的最凶残的有机组成部份。公、检、法荒诞地、却又是在这种制度下必然地成了暴力扼杀、阻绝公民法律诉求的最为凶残的打手,公民依法维权的环境近半年来急剧的恶化,太石村事件中,广东省政府中的黑恶势力,针对和平维权公民凶残施暴的气焰嚣张无羁。法律对之的制约价值完全缺位,中央政府又默不作声,使广东省反人类文明的黑恶势力更加肆无忌惮,各地邪恶势力纷纷起而效法,继而发生了艾晓明教授被暴力殴打,唐荆陵律师被暴力殴打、郭艳律师被暴力殴打、太石村村民被暴力殴打,十几名村民和郭飞熊一道被非法关押,此后,在政府主导下的野蛮暴力之风在各地蔓延,相继有北京的赵昕、齐志勇、许志永、胡佳、李方平等著名维权人士被暴力殴打,高智晟被多次以暴力相威胁,山东的陈光诚被暴力殴打。最近两天里,广东的以秘密警察为主体的黑恶势力再次作出了包围郭飞熊的家庭、跟踪他的夫人、围住他的孩子拍照、摄像,暴力殴打唐荆陵,推搡郭飞熊本人的流氓行径。山东公民陈华因过年去探望被山东省以秘密警察为主的黑恶势力包围了数月之久的盲人陈光诚而遭到野蛮殴打。 (博讯 boxun.com)

    鉴于这种迅速恶化的维权环境,鉴于司法已完全成了阻绝公民维护基本人权的最为凶残的反动势力,鉴于国内黑恶势力对个体公民的迫害已完全到了无法无天肆无忌惮的地步、而被迫害者个体又完全处于孤立无助的境地之现状,我们倡导,并由我们发起组成以反非法迫害、反野蛮暴力的维权绝食声援团(下称声援团),目的是,从声援团组成之日起,对国内外任何遭遇暴力及非法迫害的公民以可能的绝食声援。即对国内无论是工人、农民、知识份子、自由信仰者以及党、政、军、警各界各团体成员(包括各地上访者、民运人士)的非法迫害,暴力殴打,以及对外国公民的野蛮迫害事件(诸如最近两年中国政府对北韩难民的野蛮迫害)以绝食声援。这种绝食声援将不分民族、种族、地域、信仰、受教育程度、财富状况。绝食的形式由各地接力展开,声援团成员在每地可集中于一个适当的地方(诸如在北京市即可在晟智律师事务所)绝食,每个成员每次在其所在地应参加一天的绝食,一个地方接力绝食5天后,由另一个地方接力展开(诸如在北京市接力绝食5天后可由陕西省的某地接力展开,每天向全球公布绝食日记,诸如:某某被迫害事件北京地区绝食日记公告一……)任何一个参加了维权绝食声援团的成员及任何非为声援团成员者,但遭到反文明的黑恶势力野蛮迫害、暴力殴打及非法抓捕者,声援团都将启动接力绝食声援程序。对每个受害者的接力绝食声援,都必须在全国有绝食声援团成员的地方接力展开一遍,非法迫害没有停止前,接力绝食声援行动将循环往复进行。
    
    当维权绝食声援团成员组成具有了一定规模时,对类汕尾杀人事件般的情势,可调整接力绝食声援的方式和场所。
    
    凡自愿加入声援团的国内外成员请签名确认:
    
    高智晟、马文都、郭飞熊、赵昕、胡佳、齐志勇、王国齐、钱玉民、任畹町、贾建英、杨静、李海、高洁(日本)、滕彪(高智晟代)、李和平(高智晟代)、田永德(内蒙古)、杜导斌(武汉)蔡楚(美国)

Gao Zhisheng's Urgent Statement Regarding the Hunger Strike to Defend Human Rights and Resist Violence

(February 18, 2006)

From February 18, 2006, 6:00 am to 6:00 am on the 19th, I will be on a 24-hour hunger strike in my office.

1. To express solidarity with my compatriots who have been illegally detained and persecuted by the Chinese government because of their hunger strikes in their own homes.
    
2. To protest the Chinese government's illegal actions, brutally trampling upon the civilized consensus of human society and basic human dignity, and protest the government's barbaric trampling upon China's Constitution, and serious violations of the rights of my family by extremely malicious means.
    
Merely because I proposed a hunger strike to defend human rights and resist violence,  the government of China recently embarked upon a brutal, maddening, and lawless persecution of the disenfranchised Chinese people who participated in the hunger strike and my entire family, which has reached disgraceful proportions. A large number of citizens who participated in the hunger strike were illegally detained, jailed, beaten and placed under house arrest. On February 16, following the disappearance of Qi Zhiyong and the Hu family, three of my staff members were illegally kidnapped by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. Among them, Ouyang Xiaorong, as a volunteer who helped me, arrived in Beijing and in less than 24 hours he was illegally kidnapped, and is still missing. After being illegally detained for more than ten hours, my assistant, lawyer Wen Haibo, was placed under house arrest indefinitely and could not meet with me. My home phone, office phone, fax and computer network are cut off (the computer network is now cut off every 1-2 minutes); my family is surrounded, followed, and harassed 24 hours a day. Official power has been so shameless that it has completely invaded the private life of my family!

In view of the current reality of violence and terror, in view of the brutal situation that the brave citizens participating in hunger strikes are being brutally persecuted by the Chinese government, and in view of the illegal deprivation of my working conditions as a volunteer for human rights protection and anti-violence, I hereby make the following special forms of hunger strike for human rights protection in the future. Emergency declaration:
    
1. From today onwards, I will personally go on a 24-hour hunger strike every Saturday in my office.
    
2. In view of the government's lawlessness and thuggish violence, I propose that from now on, domestic citizens can join the hunger strike voluntarily (the phone number may not be announced), or they can join the hunger strike by using a pseudonym; those who participate in the hunger strike with a single pseudonym will be listed for the sake of their continued hunger strike, on the condition they will be recorded as not participating in the hunger strike. (The original hunger strike relay in Hunan, Shandong, and Guizhou provinces was changed to a spontaneous decision.)
    
3. For the hunger strike every Saturday, I will personally publish a hunger strike log containing the names (including pseudonyms) of spontaneous hunger strikers across the country.
    
4. In the future, whenever there are massacres and bloody violence against citizens, or serious judicial persecution and political persecution by the government, I will resolutely launch a nationwide hunger strike and protest in due course.
    
5. I would like to express my special thanks to Mr. Ho Chun-yan, a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council and a well-known lawyer. Mr. Ho expressed his solidarity with our tragic hunger strike every Wednesday with a 24-hour hunger strike. My respects to him.
   

高智晟关于绝食维权抗暴的紧急声明

(2006年2月18日)   

     从2006年2月18日早晨6点到19日早晨6点,我将在自己的办公室进行24小时的绝食。
    
    一、 声援我的那些因在自己家里绝食抗争而遭受中国政府非法关押、非法迫害的同胞。
    
    二、 抗议中国政府妄行不法、粗暴践踏人类社会的文明共识和人类基本尊严,抗议政府野蛮践踏中国宪法,以极其下流的手段严重侵犯我一家人权利的恶行。
    
    只因我提出了绝食维权抗暴的倡议,中国政府最近几日对参加绝食的无权利的中国人及我全家迫害的野蛮疯狂及无法无天,已经到了彻底不顾廉耻的地步。大量参加绝食的公民遭到非法抓捕、关押、殴打和软禁。2月16日,继齐志勇、胡家失踪后,我的三名工作人员被北京市公安局非法绑架,其中欧阳小戎作为帮助我的志愿者来到北京还不到24小时,就被非法绑架,至今下落不明。我的助手温海波律师在被非法关押十几个小时后,被无限期软禁在家,不能与我见面。我的家庭电话、办公室电话、传真和电脑网络被切断(电脑网络现又改为每1-2分钟切断一次);我的家人被24小时包围、跟踪、骚扰。官权已无耻到完全侵入我家人的私人生活领域!
    鉴于目前的暴力恐怖现实,鉴于参加绝食抗争的勇敢公民遭到中国政府野蛮迫害的残酷现状,鉴于我作为维权抗暴义工的工作条件已全部被非法剥夺,现就今后维权绝食抗暴的形式特作以下紧急声明:
    
    一、 从今天起,今后每周六我个人将在自己的办公室进行24小时的绝食抗议。
    
    二、 鉴于政府的无法无天及流氓暴行,我建议从即日起,国内公民可自发地参加绝食(可不对外公布电话),也可以以化名的方式参加绝食;单一化名参加绝食者,叙以供不绝食日志为条件。(原定的湖南、山东、贵州省绝食接力改为自发决定。)
    
    三、 每周六的绝食,我个人将公布一份包含全国各地自发绝食者姓名(含化名)的绝食日志。
    
    四、 今后凡发生政府针对公民的屠杀和血腥暴力事件、严重的司法迫害和政治迫害事件,我将适时坚定地发起全国性绝食抗议联动。
    
    五、 在此我特别感谢香港立法会议员、著名律师何俊仁先生。何先生在每周三对我们的绝食抗暴的悲壮之举以24小时的绝食进行声援。向他表达我的敬意。
    
    2006年2月18日

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Another Civil Rights Law Firm Shuttered - Daoheng

If one looks at the first two decades of the 21st century, the three PRC law firms that had the strongest track records for defending civil rights were (in no particular order): Fengrui, Daoheng, and Mo Shaoping.

Fengrui was the primary target of the 7.09 crackdown, and many of its lawyers/employees were imprisoned by the PRC government on subversion/inciting charges, based mainly on their writings/meetings/organizing connected to high profile civil rights cases. I have an entire section of my casebook - "State Prosecutions of Speech in the People's Republic of China" - devoted to those prosecutions. Its available as a free PDF download on my website here - https://www.feichangdao.com/publications/state-prosecutions-vol-1

Yesterday, Liang Xiaojun, formerly lawyer at the Daoheng Law Firm, tweeted that the Daoheng Law Firm has also been shuttered - https://twitter.com/liangxiaojun/status/1537069973713084416

Here is a translation of @liangxiaojun's post about the PRC government's revoking the Daoheng Law Firm's operating license.
Today, a former colleague sent the decision of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice to cancel the Daoheng Firm.

After my license was suspended, my colleagues tried to keep the law firm going. But whether they tried to add a partner or transform it into a private firm, the Bureau of Justice would not agree. Now with the cancellation, the remaining lawyers can only transfer or set up a new law firm.

We have always known that this small law firm is like a boat in the ocean. Although it carries our life and dreams, it was almost inevitable that it would capsize.

This world will never see another Daoheng Firm, and I will spend my remaining years unanchored and unmoored.
Daoheng and Liang Xiaojun appear in several places in "State Prosecutions":

  • Liang was one of the lawyers who defended Chen Wei in 2011. A PRC court imprisoned Chen Wei for nine years for subversion for publishing statements on the Internet such as "The people have been deprived of their ideology and belief," and "The entire Communist Party of China utilizes violent mechanisms to control the people." Daoheng argued this was free speech, but the court dismissed that saying those statements were "rumors" and "defamation" that "severely harmed the interests and security of the State." The full Chinese and English texts of Chen's court judgment are available in "State Prosecutions."
  • A PRC court also imprisoned a Daoheng lawyer, Yu Wensheng, in 2020 for inciting subversion for "publishing open letters on the Internet through 'Twitter' and 'Facebook' to attack the State regime and the socialist system." Yu's court judgment and a translation of his post are available in "State Prosecutions."

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Censorship Associated with the UN Visit to Xinjiang

In late May, 2022, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet made an official visit to China. Here is an excerpt from her statement issued on May 28:

I should state from the outset what this visit was – and what it wasn’t. This visit was not an investigation – official visits by a High Commissioner are by their nature high-profile and simply not conducive to the kind of detailed, methodical, discreet work of an investigative nature. The visit was an opportunity to hold direct discussions – with China’s most senior leaders – on human rights. . . 


This screenshot was taken on June 15, and shows Baidu claiming it has indexed over 80k web pages of the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (http://ohchr.org).


But Baidu can't (apparently) locate any web pages from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' website containing the word "Xinjiang" (新疆). These screenshots were taken on  June 15, 2022, and show that searches for "Xinjiang site:ohchr.org" and  "新疆 site:ohchr.org" returned no results.


Yahoo was able to 84 results (including Bachelet's statement).


According to her statement, Bachelet visited "the Kashgar Experimental School, a former Vocational Education and Training Centre" (前身是职业教育培训中心的喀什市特区实验学校). PRC Internet companies regularly censor topics relating to Xinjiang generally, and these "Vocational Education and Training Centers" in particular. This screenshot was taken on May 21, 2022 and shows what happens when a user used Sogou's English language search engine to search for "Xinjiang" – no results.


Prior to June 2022, Tencent-owned Sogou worked with Microsoft's Bing to provide English language results at https://english.sogou.com. If a user searched for a censored term, Sogou returned no results. This screenshot was taken the same day and shows the Bing search results that Sogou was censoring.


These screenshots show that Sogou's Bing-powered English language search engine could find results for "reeducation," (left) but none for "reeducation camp" (right - despite the fact that the first result for "reeducation" was titled "America's 'Re-Education' Camps").


This screenshot shows that a search for "reeducation camp" in English on Sogou's own Chinese-language search engine only returns results from PRC-based websites.


The left screenshot shows that a Baidu search for "Xinjiang reeducation camps" in May 2018 returned results from foreign websites with .org and .gov domains. The right screenshot was taken on May 21, 2022 and shows the same search only returns results from media under the direct control of the PRC govt.: Xinhua, CCTV, China Daily, China Radio International, China Military Net, http://china.com.cn, or http://china.org.cn.



And lest someone should speculate that there might be .org results (like those from wikipedia or the United Nations) buried in a later Baidu SERP, this screenshot taken the same day show that Baidu searches for "Xinjiang reeducation camps" limited to .org domains returned zero results.



The same thing happens in Chinese - these screenshots show that a Baidu search for "Xinjiang Reeducation" (新疆 再教育) limiting results to the United Nations returns no results, while the same search on Bing returns four results.



These screenshots show that Baidu has indexed the first 2 Bing search results, so the most likely explanation for why they don't appear in a search for "Xinjiang Reeducation" (新疆 再教育) is Baidu is restricting results for those keywords to government-approved sources.


Finally, its worth noting that censorship used to be much more transparent, and what gets censored varies over time. For example, this screenshot taken in 2009 shows that at that time Sogou blacklisted searches for "Xinjiang Government Flaws" (新疆 政府 缺陷), and only returned a censorship notice.


Today, Sogou conceals their censorship of "Xinjiang Government Flaws" (新疆 政府 缺陷) by not showing a censorship notice, while appearing to show a variety of results, when in fact the results are all from websites under the direct control of the PRC government.