Understanding China’s Crackdown on Rights Advocates

tohtiChinese officials have cracked down on independent rights advocacy, detaining large numbers of individuals for peacefully advocating on issues ranging from combating official corruption and protecting the rights of ethnic minorities to ensuring educational equality for migrant children and seeking greater freedom of the press.

Those detained include Ilham Tohti (right), a scholar and an advocate for the Uyghur ethnic minority, who sought to build bridges between Uyghurs and the majority Han population. They also include individuals from the New Citizens’ Movement, who have called for social justice, rule of law, and citizen rights.  The detentions are occurring against the backdrop of the Chinese government’s own anti-corruption campaign and stated push for legal reforms.

Senator Sherrod Brown, Chairman and Representative Christopher Smith, Cochairman

of the

Congressional-Executive Commission on China

announce a hearing on

Understanding China’s Crackdown on Rights Advocates: Personal Accounts and Perspectives”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Russell Senate Office Building, Room 418

Witnesses will discuss, among other things, personal accounts of the crackdown as well as its significance for China’s human rights and rule of law development.


Jewher Ilham: Daughter of detained Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti 

Donald Clarke: David A. Weaver Research Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law 

Dr. Sophie Richardson: China Director, Human Rights Watch

***Additional witnesses may be added 

The hearing will be webcast live here.

On February 21, 2014, nine members of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) signed a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping expressing serious concern over the worsening crackdown on rights defenders and civil society activists. The letter is available here: http://go.usa.gov/Kfq3.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China, established by the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization, is mandated by law to monitor human rights, including worker rights, and the development of the rule of law in China. The Commission by mandate also maintains a database of information on political prisoners in China-individuals who have been imprisoned by the Chinese government for exercising their civil and political rights under China’s Constitution and laws or under China’s international human rights obligations. All of the Commission’s reporting and its Political Prisoner Database are available to the public online via the Commission’s Web site, http://www.cecc.gov.

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