Human rights in China: the number of human rights activists detained or imprisoned is rising

Amnesty International has today issued an “update” to its December report on the risks faced by human rights activists in China.  The original report was released in the lead-up to the last EU-China summit. (see: People’s Republic of China: Human Rights Defenders at Risk, December 2004).

The update to the report, citing information of arrests dating as late as the end of February this year, states that since December 2004:

  • The number of human rights defenders who are arbitrarily detained or imprisoned in China has continued to rise.
  • The reason for some of the detentions appears to be to prevent people, among other things, from publicising the impunity surrounding the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and mourning the death of former premier and general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Zhao Ziyang.
  • One of the leaders of the group known as the “Tiananmen Mothers”, Ding Zilin, who has campaigned tirelessly for an independent inquiry into the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations, was placed under a form of house arrest in Beijing on 27 January 2005 after she had requested permission to pay her respects to Zhao Ziyang.
Supporters of the Tiananmen mothers demonstrate, May 2001©AI
  • Writer, poet and journalist Shi Tao was detained on 24 November 2004 on charges which appear to relate to the text of a central government order barring media organizations in China from marking the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, which Shi Tao was accused of posting on an overseas website;
  • Other arrests cited in the report relate to activists in the areas of HIV/aids, labour, housing and religious rights.
  • You can download the update to the report from or contact Amnesty International EU Office to receive the report by email.

    For further comment/background and interviews:
    Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels)
    Tel: 32-2-5021499
    Fax: 32-2-5025686
    Email: Download PDF attachement