By Human Rights Watch. 14 June 2023.
Dear Secretary Blinken,
We write on behalf of 42 nongovernmental organizations that report on and advocate for human rights in China, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang regarding your forthcoming trip to Beijing starting on June 18.
At a time when the Chinese government is committing widespread and grave human rights violations both inside and outside China, it is crucial for you to use the opportunity of your visit to inform your counterparts that the United States intends to work alongside other concerned governments to seek accountability for Chinese government abuses.
In recent months, Chinese authorities have targeted many communities for repression, including ordinary citizens who participated in peaceful protests against draconian “zero-Covid” policies and Hui Muslims who try to practice their religion. Authorities sentenced prominent human rights lawyers and activists Xu Zhiyong to 14 years in prison and Ding Jiaxi to 12 years. The human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng and his partner, Xu Yan, were detained en route to meeting with European Union officials in Beijing. Hong Kong police detained over 20 people for commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre after banning the annual Victoria Park candlelight vigil.
In Tibetan and Uyghur regions, the authorities harshly punish people who communicate with those abroad to further prevent the outside world from learning about these highly repressive and surveilled regions. Instances of Chinese government transnational repression continue to occur around the world.
Decades of human rights diplomacy by foreign governments have failed to deter Chinese authorities, particularly President Xi Jinping, from deepening repression. The US State Department has characterized Chinese government policies in the Uyghur region as genocide and crimes against humanity. We appreciate US efforts to prosecute cases of transnational repression perpetrated by Chinese state actors, yet the existence of these cases reflect Beijing’s determination to silence peaceful criticism globally.
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