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Chinese activists blocked from leaving homes on Human Rights Day

  • Wang Quanzhang says officers prevented him and his wife from going outside by themselves

  • EU Delegation to China hits out at ‘systematically violated’ civil and political rights in the country

Published: 10:15pm, 10 Dec, 2021

Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang (left) says he and his wife Li Wenzu have been stopped from leaving their home in Beijing. Photo: Handout

Chinese human rights lawyers and activists said they were blocked from leaving their homes this week ahead of events to mark Friday’s UN Human Rights Day. China has seen a dramatic crackdown on civil liberties and freedoms since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, with hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists detained or placed under monitoring in recent years. Wang Quanzhang, a human rights lawyer detained for 4½ years as part of a sweeping crackdown on human rights defenders, said police were blocking him and his wife from leaving their Beijing flat unattended. “They told us directly that there were two reasons, one was the US democracy summit, and they were also worried we would take part in World Human Rights Day,” Wang, who was released last year, said.

US President Joe Biden on Thursday held a virtual summit of more than 100 nations to discuss threats to democracy – with China pointedly left off the guest list. Beijing police could not be reached for comment.

Xu Uan, a rights campaigner and the wife of imprisoned high-profile lawyer Yu Wensheng, posted on her verified Twitter account that a group of people had blocked her from opening her front door and said she would have to stay in until Friday night.

All Chinese activists invited to a European Union-organised Human Rights Day event Friday had also been blocked from attending in person.

The EU Delegation to China hit out at what it called “systematically violated” civil and political rights in the country.

Pointing to a slew of issues including mass detention of minorities in Xinjiang as well as reported organ harvesting from detainees, the Delegation called for China to “thoroughly investigate” allegations and immediately release political prisoners.


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