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Press Release: Press Conference on China’s responses on UPR Working Group Report

(2019-3-18 – Hong Kong) China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG) , the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (hereafter the Hong Kong Alliance), Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions(HKCTU), Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese(HKJP Commission) held a press conference today to respond to China’s views on UPR Working Group Report.

 

"A number of human rights crisis broke out one after another over the recent years, including arrest of human rights defenders in a massive scale, for example, the 709 crackdown in 2015 and the recent administrative suppression on human rights lawyers, criminal detention of the workers and student supporters in the Jasic Incident in 2018, cross demolition and the ban the religious groups, and the inhumane re-education camps in Xinjiang,” says Albert Ho Chun-yun, the chairperson of both CHRLCG and the Hong Kong alliance.

 

“On the contrary, Le Yucheng, the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, told us in the Human Rights Council on 15 March that those human rights cases reported in UN UPR hearing are not human rights issues, but are issues related to China’s judicial sovereignty and fairness. This shows China’s attempt to defend their brutal measures in violating human rights principles. Therefore, those who persists in the truth should debunk Chinese official’s narrative,” Ho adds.

 

CHRLCG representative Emily Lau Wai-hing criticizes China’s crafty and ridiculous responses of China to the UPR report. Among the 346 recommendations commented by UN member states, though China has rejected 62 recommendations, of which most are related to religious freedom, freedom of speech and expression, legal reform, and improvement of the treatments to human rights defenders. China rejected all the recommendations on repeal ofresidential surveillance at a designated location, amendment to the definition of subversion, and the release of those imprisoned human rights defenders etc.

 

Emily comments, “among those recommendations accepted, China has adopted distorted interpretations of those recommendations, for instance, to guarantee the protection of lawyers against any form of harassment, violence or attempts to impede or interfere with the defence of their clients; to guarantee that human rights defenders can exercise their freedom of expression and peaceful association and to guarantee fair trials. China claimed they accepted all of the above recommendations, which are already implemented. But some cases show that authorities will use the defense statement as an evidence to charge the lawyer, such as lawyer Liu Zhengqing. We urge China to release all the detained or imprisoned human rights lawyers and activists, and stop harassing human rights lawyers by administrative suppression.”

 

Tsoi Yiu Cheong, the representatives of the Hong Kong Alliance, strongly condemn the Chinese government’s continuing disregard of the recommendations of last UPR exercise, particularly the denial of the Chinese government on ratifying the ICCPR for 20 years after signing it. It is totally unacceptable, which amounts to the denial of fulfilment of the international responsibility of protecting basic human rights to the people of China. The Chinese Government did not accept the recommendations made by various countries to release human rights defenders neither. Hong Kong Alliance are concerned about the situation and treatment of imprisoned human rights defenders, including Qin Yongmin, Liu Xianbin, Hu Shigen, Chen Xi and Huang Qi. Since 2019 is the 30th anniversary of the June 4th Tiananmen Massacre, Hong Kong Alliance demands the accountability of the June 4th massacre and restoration of justice in the movement.

 

Concerning the Chinese government’s continuous suppression on the workers and labour activists, Ming Lam, the representative of HKCTU, expresses their concern over the suppression and victims concerned, including criminal detention to the labour NGO staff in Shenzhen. Most of the suppressed workers and activists are being refused to the rights of legal counsels of their own choosing lawyers with their basic civil rights being exploited. Also, the CPC suppresses activists by charging them with gathering crowds to disrupt public order, and the victims are forced to plead guilty in video recording. These practices apparently violate the principles of law. For the workers and activists, this is the worst situation ever.

 

Regarding the violation of religious freedom in China, Lina Chan, the representative of the HKJP Commission disagrees with the National Report of China( A/HRC/40/6) about freedom of religious belief in para. 13, freedom of religion is not under protection in China. The authorities have forced to demolish the Crosses, install surveillance devices inside and outside religious venues in order to constrained different religion. Also, Church members are under enforced disappearance, or even being killed. The Chinese government banned students from joining Christian Churches or engaging in religious activities. Due to the newly revised Regulations on Religious Affairs (RRA), many house churches and underground Catholic communities have faced the crisis of forced closure of the meeting place by the authorities. In conclusion, we urge the Chinese government to allow religious practitioners to organize and operate in accordance with their own religious doctrines and principles, stop unreasonable and forcible demolition of the Crosses and all forms of surveillance, and to abolish the newly revised RRA etc..