China: campaigners call for release of prisoners of conscience

Gao Zhisheng

Gao Zhisheng

Twenty years on from the Tiananmen Square massacre, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said it remains deeply concerned about the state of human rights in China. Of particular concern to CSW are the two cases of Alimujiang Yimiti, who may be sentenced to three years re-education through labour, and also the case of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who disappeared after being taken into police custody earlier this year.
Mr  Yimiti has been detained since 12 February 2008. According to the China Aid Association, government sources told Mr. Yimiti’s mother that the Kashi Public Security Bureau (PSB) is secretly planning to sentence her son to three years of re-education through labour. Sources say that the PSB originally arrested Yimiti in error and are now attempting to cover up their mistake with the three year sentence.
Mr Yimiti is a Uyghur Christian from Xinjiang province. He is charged with instigating separatism and stealing, penetrating, purchasing and illegally providing state secrets or intelligence to overseas organizations and individuals.The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found that Mr Yimiti is a victim of arbitrary detention.
The second case involves Gao Zhisheng, a prominent human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who has been missing since 4 February 2009. He was forcibly taken away from his home in Shaanxi province by Chinese officials. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
Since 2005, Mr Gao, a Christian, has been regularly arrested, beaten, imprisoned and tortured by Chinese authorities because of his work defending human rights and freedom of religion. There is particular concern for his welfare and the China Aid Association have reported that sources inside China suggest he is being tortured.

CSW’s Advocacy Director, Tina Lambert said: “Whilst recognising the progress in human rights since the tragedy of Tiananmen Square twenty years ago, there are still significant concerns to be addressed before China meets internationally agreed standards. We urge the Chinese government to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is also imperative that we see the release of all prisoners of conscience including Alimujiang Yimiti and Gao Zhisheng, whose cases represent many other victims of ongoing repression”.

Source: CSW

Tags: Alimujiang Yimiti, Christian Solidarity Worldwide CSWhuman rights in China, Gao Zhisheng, Tiananmen Square

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