Chinese Authorities Clamp Down on Activists Before UN Review

October 16, 2013 Updated: October 16, 2013

The Chinese regime is clamping down on activists before an important UN human rights review, says a statement from the United Nations, expressing serious concern at the reprisals. 

The statement said that according to reports, activists have been threatened, arrested or banned from taking part in demonstrations or stopped from leaving China in the period before China’s second review of its human rights record by the UN Human Rights Council, scheduled to take place on Oct. 22 in Geneva.

“Intimidating civil society members who seek to contribute to such an important international dialogue is completely unacceptable,” the UN experts said. 

Human rights defenders Cao Shunli and Chen Jianfang, who were planning to take part in activities associated with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), were prevented from boarding flights to Geneva in September, said the statement.

The UN statement said that Chen Jianfang was told that she was barred from travelling abroad for life, and activist Cao Shunli was detained by security authorities on Sept. 14. The authorities have not provided any formal notification of Cao Shunli’s detention, said her family.

A group of United Nations independent rights experts stated: “These cases seem part of a pattern of increased harassment by China of those calling for greater accountability of public officials, transparency and political and legal reforms.”

Police have threatened Chinese civil society activists who have been demonstrating for the right to provide input and receive information on China’s report to the UPR since June, the report said.

Reports “suggest there have been acts of reprisals against people who seek to cooperate with the UN,” said Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya.

The Chinese communist regime has informed the UN that they have consulted non-governmental organizations prior to the UPR session and that the draft of the national report was available on its official website for public comment.