Originally posted on Sept. 1, 2016, by Yahoo News—
“When world leaders touch down in early September in the city of Hangzhou for this year’s G20 leaders’ summit, which China will they see? The one of glossy skylines, enviable growth statistics, and perfectly choreographed diplomatic exchanges? Or the one in which China’s prominent human and civil rights lawyers are detained, forcibly disappeared, and prosecuted on charges of subversion? The one in which civil society groups aiding survivors of domestic violence and sexual harassment are abruptly shut down?
And will they see the ominous international trend emerging, of Chinese authorities and their agents abducting critics outside the mainland, then broadcasting some of their “confessions” on national television, while often denying their lawyers, family members, and — in the cases of those who hold other citizenship — even embassies access to them? To be fair, governments and international institutions have expressed concern about these trends. “These actions undermine China’s claim to be a rule of law society and run contrary China’s human rights commitments and hinder its attempts to build a more transparent and effective justice system,” commented the United States Department of State. The European Union agreed: “These cases are part of a worrying trend and call into question China’s respect for the rule of law and for its international human rights obligations, not least freedom of speech.” And in March 2016, a dozen governments made a rare public joint statement to the U.N. Human Rights Council, claiming that “these actions are in contravention of China’s own laws and international commitments.” Yet increasingly, these expressions of concern read more as statements of the painfully obvious. What they lack is clarity about what the United States, the European Union, or others will actually do in response to China’s sharply escalating repression.”
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