Human rights organisation report exposes China’s persecution of families of activists

Beijing [China], April 21 [ANI]: An annual report by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) reveals ongoing persecution of the families of dissidents by Beijing.

Focused on the year 2023, the report highlights Chinese authorities’ punitive measures against human rights defenders’ families, including young children.

Observers note that China has persistently targeted the families of human rights defenders for decades, calling for global attention to this issue.

The report details instances where Chinese authorities harm children, including newborns, as a means of silencing and punishing their parents.

“The most heart-breaking part in really inflicting so much pain is the harm done to children. Children growing up from a young age watching their parents being mistreated and persecuted leaves a long-term psychological trauma,” said Renee Xia, director of the NGO Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD).

It also highlights authorities’ denial of families’ access to detained or jailed rights defenders in attempts to coerce cooperation.

The CHRD’s report, ‘If I Disobey, My Family Will Suffer,’ covers the persecution of the families of activists from the Han Chinese majority, Uyghur and Tibetan minorities, and from the pro-democracy movement who have fled Hong Kong.

“Children of rights defenders, including human rights lawyers, have been punished through guilt by association, from deprivation of personal freedom–house arrest, arbitrary detention in government designated facilities, forced into foster homes–to obstruction of the children’s education,” the report said, adding that “The Chinese government’s collective punishment of human rights defenders’ families appears to be a state policy.”

The report concludes with actionable recommendations, urging the Chinese government to immediately cease all forms of harassment and extra-legal detention of human rights defenders’ families.

China’s human rights record has drawn significant criticism globally, with the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) ranking it as having the worst human rights record in the world in various metrics last year.

While HRMI began tracking China’s human rights performance in 2022, it has monitored global human rights since 2017.

The US, the UK, and several other nations have repeatedly denounced China’s human rights abuses, particularly against vulnerable groups like Uyghur Muslims and Tibetans.

Human rights organisations have accused China of forcibly detaining a large number of Uyghurs in extensive “reeducation camps” and have issued reports alleging crimes against humanity.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are among the prominent organisations to publish such reports.