Outcry in excess of prolonged jail conditions handed to China human legal rights attorneys | United Nations

The UN human rights main, Volker Türk, has claimed he is “very concerned” immediately after China sentenced two outstanding human rights lawyers to additional than a decade every single in jail.

Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi have been convicted of subversion of condition electric power soon after closed-doorway trials and sentenced to 14 and 12 a long time respectively.

Each were major figures in the New Citizens’ Movement, a free community of activists who satisfied routinely in person and on line to go over civil rights and current affairs, and experienced identified as for constitutional reform and criticised governing administration corruption.

The lengthy sentences have shocked supporters and observers.

“I am extremely concerned that two notable human legal rights defenders in China – Ding Jiaxi and Xu Zhiyong – have been sentenced to prolonged prison phrases, at variance with worldwide human rights regulation specifications,” Türk reported.

“Human legal rights legislation calls for that people not be prosecuted or usually punished for voicing their criticism of govt insurance policies. It also needs regard for good demo and owing process rights, and suitable investigations into any allegations of unwell-treatment method.”

Xu, who experienced identified as for President Xi Jinping to action down above his dealing with of the Covid-19 pandemic, was jailed for 14 yrs in east China’s Shandong province, Human Rights View claimed.

Ding’s wife, Luo Shengchun, mentioned his sentence was “absurd and insane”, introducing that she had been unable to see the verdict immediately simply because attorneys for Ding and Xu have been barred from sharing the data.

Observers have regularly raised problems about because of procedure in China, in which the courts have a conviction amount of a lot more than 99%.

“I will comply with up on these cases with the authorities,” Türk reported. “It is crucial that methods are taken to make sure other human legal rights defenders are not qualified for performing exercises their human legal rights to flexibility of expression, affiliation and tranquil assembly.”

Teng Biao, a fellow human rights lawyer who left China in 2013 right after becoming harassed and detained by the authorities, claimed he was “very unhappy to hear these sentences, but not extremely surprised”.

Teng, a friend of Ding and Xu, said the Chinese Communist social gathering had an “exaggerated feeling of insecurity” this yr for the reason that of an economic slowdown. That would intensify the crackdown on civil modern society, he stated.

Xu and Ding were detained in 2013 for signing an open up letter contacting for higher scrutiny of the wealth of China’s leaders, and ongoing to advocate for political reform just after their release.

In a statement launched through his lawyers just before the sentencing, Xu said he had a dream of a China that was “beautiful, free of charge, fair, and happy”.

“It is a democratic China that belongs to all people on this land, not to any a single ethnicity or political get together. It is truly a state of the people, its authorities picked by ballots, not violence,” he stated, in accordance to a translation by the information web-site China Change. “A democratic China need to be realised in our time, we can’t saddle the next generation with this responsibility.”

In an job interview in 2012, Xu reported he was not fearful of getting jailed for his function. “For the planet to develop into a far better area, an individual has to spend a cost,” he reported at the time.

Ding was earlier detained by law enforcement in December 2019, soon after attending a gathering in southern China with about 20 other legal professionals and activists. He was held incommunicado for virtually 6 months, when currently being routinely tortured to extract a confession, his attorney, Peng Jian, advised the court docket.

Xu was detained in February 2020 immediately after heading into hiding.

Both equally males were allegedly retained in “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL), China’s internationally criticised method of solution detention.

In November 2021, a UN doing work team uncovered the two gentlemen to have been arbitrarily detained by Chinese authorities, in breach of 11 articles or blog posts in the Common Declaration of Human Rights, including through the use of RSDL, and in failing to tell Xu and Ding of the causes for their arrest and detention.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report