Latest news, features and analysis on human rights, with a focus on civil liberties in Hong Kong, mainland China and Asia.

British girl finds note from ‘Chinese prisoner’
A six-year-old British girl from south London in the UK found a Christmas card with a message allegedly from foreign prisoners in China. The sender of the message claimed that prisoners were being forced to work against their will in the Shanghai Qingpu prison. The holiday card, which is among those sold to raise money for charity, was bought from British supermarket chain Tesco. The retailer said it has halted production at a Chinese factory after the discovery and launched an investigation into Zheijiang Yunguang Printing, one of its suppliers located about 60 miles from the prison named in the message.
China imposes sanctions after Trump signs democracy act
China has suspended visits by US military vessels and aircraft to Hong Kong, and sanctioned several US-based organizations, a few days after US President Donald Trump signed a law increasing scrutiny of the city. Beijing said it was sanctioning US-based non-government organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, alleging they are “supporting violent activities” in the city.  
Accused of espionage, this Chinese man petitions for justice in the US
China has a significant history of petitioners – those who try to solve their longstanding grievances by directly contacting major authority figures, hoping to force change from the top. But in truth, they have little chance of success. Some, like 54-year-old Bai Jiemen of Shanghai, go to great lengths to catch the attention of Chinese officials visiting the US. He says he has been falsely accused of spying by the Chinese government, and he wants to see this injustice corrected.    But Bai’s attempt to reach the motorcade of Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, who was in Washington for trade talks in January, led to a US Secret Service officer being injured. Bai may now face more than seven years o
Wives of detained rights lawyers protest with shaved heads and a pun
Four wives of human rights lawyers who were arrested by the Chinese authorities in 2015 shaved their heads in protest of their husbands’ treatment. The four women accused the Chinese government of “lawlessness” and failing to carry out due process in their husbands’ cases. The protest is based in part on a pun: the Chinese words for “hair” and “law” sound the same in Mandarin except in their tones.  Wang Quanzhang, the husband of one of the wives, remains in custody without trial three years after he was detained. He has been accused of subverting state power, a charge that the Chinese government has leveled against rights activists and dissidents. The waves of detentions around July 9 2015,
Why a Marxist movement is emerging in China — and being crushed
At China’s most prestigious universities, groups of students are spending their leisure time hanging out with security guards, construction workers and janitors. They lend a hand to cafeteria workers, helping them collect dirty trays and clean tables. At other times, they organize movie screenings for the staff, help fix their mobile phones or just hang out with them at hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Some students have even joined the female workers in “square dancing” – the kind of synchronized dancing other urban millennials have snubbed as boorish and outdated. These youngsters call themselves Marxists and support the official communist ideology. But their alliance with these mostly poor,
Young Marxists still missing after government cracks down
Chinese authorities are widening their crackdown against an emerging grassroots activism led by young Marxists. At least 16 of the 22 Chinese labor activists who disappeared in five cities over the weekend were still missing early on Wednesday. The disappeared activists are part of the Jasic Workers Solidarity Group, which supports workers attempting to unionize at Shenzhen-based Jasic Technology, a welding machinery manufacturer. Worker representatives were sacked, beaten and detained, and rallies and demonstrations held in August led to the arrest of about 50 activists by uniformed police. The Jasic industrial action, although limited in scale, has been a symbolic milestone for the recent
CCTV journalist to appear in UK court over assault charge
A Chinese journalist working for state-owned broadcaster CCTV has been charged in the UK with common assault after allegedly slapping a volunteer at a human rights conference in Birmingham last month. West Midlands Police confirmed the charge to the South China Morning Post. Kong Linlin, 48, will appear at court at a later date. Kong, who is based in the UK, was originally taken into custody on September 30 after she allegedly slapped Enoch Lieu, a human rights activist, but was released after the Chinese embassy in London intervened. The conference, held on the same day, was co-organized by London-based NGO Hong Kong Watch and Britain’s Conservative Party Human Rights Commission. The parti
Body show axed in Swiss city on fears Chinese convicts were used
Real Human Bodies, a controversial exhibition displaying preserved human bodies, is once again in the news after the Swiss city of Lausanne banned it on concerns that it features cadavers of Chinese prisoners. The authorities in Lausanne took the step after a complaint from Action by Christians Against Torture (ACAT). The show was to run from October 19-21 at the city’s convention center. “The bodies used in this exhibition are very probably those of Chinese prisoners who were tortured or executed and members of the Falun Gong movement which is banned in China,” the British group that campaigns on behalf of those who have disappeared and victims of extrajudicial execution told AFP. Founded i
She was ‘strip-searched’ in a police station. And she’s a lawyer
Having practiced law in China for two decades, Sun Shihua is no stranger to how Chinese law and order is often enforced. But never in her wildest imagination did she think that she would be strip-searched and assaulted in a police station. “It was the darkest, most terrifying and shameful day in my 20 years as a lawyer,” Sun told Inkstone. The 48-year-old lawyer said she was mistreated on September 20 in a police station in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, where she was representing a client. Sun said that following a scuffle with police at the station, she was forced to strip off all her clothes in a detention room. It was the darkest, most terrifying and shameful day in my 20 years
China’s internet calls arrested CCTV reporter ‘modern-day Mulan’
A Chinese TV journalist who was arrested in Britain for slapping a young activist at a human rights conference has been hailed a “modern-day Mulan” by supporters on Chinese social media. They were referring to Kong Linlin, a UK-based journalist with China’s top state broadcaster CCTV, who was taken away by West Midlands police for disrupting the Sunday event in the city of Birmingham. Hua Mulan was a legendary Chinese woman warrior, best known in the West for headlining a beloved 1998 Disney animated film. The Sunday event, which was organized by the Human Rights Committee of the UK’s Conservative Party, focused on what it described as the “erosion of freedom” in Hong Kong after its handove