Transcript of Oral Statement on Human Rights Defenders
Human Rights Now is greatly concerned about increasing restrictions on media and civil society around the world.
The Russian government has enacted lengthy prison sentences for “disinformation” and has shut down the few remaining independent media.
In China, the journalist Huang Xueqin and advocate Wang Jianbing were disappeared last September. It was later confirmed that the two were detained in Guangzhou for “inciting subversion of state power”.
According to multiple sources, the arrests were due to social gatherings at Wang’s apartment. The police acquired photos and a list of nearly 40 people who had participated in the gatherings from surveillance cameras installed at the apartment’s front door.
After the arrests, police continuously harassed and summoned the other participants for interrogation, asking them to identify material that they deemed as politically sensitive, and forcing them to sign false confessions that were drafted and fabricated by the police.
We urge the Guangzhou police to release Huang and Wang unconditionally as soon as possible. We urge Chinese authorities to guarantee that all journalists and activists in China can carry out their legitimate professional duties without fear of reprisals and free of restrictions in all circumstances. We finally call for UN officials, independent experts, and governments to increase their monitoring of Huang and Wang’s situation, as well as of all journalists and activists in China.
 Alisha Rahaman “Sarkar Concerns mount in China over missing MeToo and labour rights activists”, The Independent, September 22, 2021 (https://sg.news.yahoo.com/concerns-mount-china-over-missing-142950431.html?guccounter=1); Guo Rui “Fears in China for missing #MeToo activist and labour rights campaigner”, South China Morning Post, September 22, 2021 (https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3149606/fears-china-missing-metoo-activist-and-labour-rights-campaigner); “RSF calls for release of Chinese investigative journalist, Huang Xueqin”, Reporters Without Borders, September 28, 2021 (https://rsf.org/en/news/rsf-calls-release-chinese-investigative-journalist-huang-xueqin); “Tribute to an ‘Ordinary Chinese Activist’”, The China NGO Project, January 24, 2022 (https://www.chinafile.com/ngo/latest/tribute-ordinary-chinese-activist).