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Arbitary Detention


With monopoly on power, the authorities persecute any member of the public who they deem at odds to their agenda. Human rights lawyer, activists, bloggers, petitioners, farmers, religious believers - anyone may find themselves detained, beaten, or jailed. Some have been killed while in police custody…READ MORE

one child policy short


The Chinese Communist Party’s system of planned reproduction and population control, also known as the “one child policy,” has left countless families traumatized by violence...READ MORE

rule of law short


In China the legal system is controlled by the Communist Party authorities. Judges are not free to make their own decisions, and legal judgements are often predetermined. Lawyers who take on sensitive cases can be persecuted...READ MORE

freedom short


In China, the Central Propaganda Bureau controls the flow of media, which stories can be reported, what can and cannot be taught in schools...READ MORE

disability short


In China, government services are rare for the disabled, especially in rural areas…READ MORE

detention long form


Linyi Prison, Shandong Province, where Chen Guangcheng spent four years for his social justice work.

In China, the Chinese Communist Party regularly silences, detains, imprisons, and tortures those who it feels do not promote the party line. As documented in the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) 2015 annual report, the Chinese government and Party’s efforts to “silence dissent, suppress human rights advocacy and control civil society…are broader in scope than at any other period documented since…2002.” (CECC 2015 Annual Report, p. 2) This summer, for instance, over 250 human rights activists and attorneys were detained and imprisoned with no warning, due process or access to the law. Many were threatened and forced to make public statements “confessing” their wrongdoing; some were released, though many are still unaccounted for.


This kind of crackdown follows a history of government and Party-sponsored brutality. Human rights lawyers like Gao Zhisheng and Guo Feixiong have undergone years of confinement and torture, and untold numbers of activists have been tortured to death while in police custody, including Cao Shunli, Li Wangyang, Zhou Xiuyun, and Tenzin Delek. The CECC Political Prisoner Database records approximately 1,300 political or religious prisoners in detention or imprisonment, though the number is likely to be much higher.

The case of Chen Guangcheng is representative of what happens with chilling regularity in China. In 2005 authorities kidnapped Chen and detained him for months in an unknown location - a so-called “black jail” without communication with his family or lawyers. This was followed by two show trials - complete with manufactured evidence and paid witnesses - and more than four years of prison. After serving out his sentence to the day he was held at home for over a year-and-a half, guarded 24 hours a day. He and his family were not allowed to leave their home, denied medical care and adequate nutrition; he and his wife were beaten brutally. The seven years of persecution ended only when Chen managed to escape confinement, eventually finding succor in the United States embassy and later in America. Chen’s nephew was imprisoned for over three years in retaliation for his uncle’s escape.


For further reference, please see the Congressional-Executive Commission on China annual reports, available either in print or at


one child
“Beat it out! Abort it out! Drag it out! Whatever you do,
do not give birth!” In China, banners like these were
common throughout China to promote the
Reproductive Planning Policy.
A woman in a hospital bed with her aborted baby
beside her.

In 1979, China enacted a policy of population and reproductive control, known in the West as the “one-child” policy, whereby married couples were permitted to have only one child. The policy was purportedly intended to slow a burgeoning population, which had swelled under earlier government policies which encouraged large families.


In practice, since its inception the policy represents a large-scale invasion of privacy and mass trauma carried out with violence, threats, and coercion, and has commonly included such practices as: forcing married women to undergo pregnancy tests every three months; mandating that couples pre-register even a first child before birth or risk abortion; forcibly sterilizing married couples who have “over-birthed;” and forcibly terminating pregnancies at all stages of fetal development. In some cases babies born to-term have reportedly been asphyxiated by attending doctors or nurses. To meet birth quotas, officials are known to break into private homes in search of a woman who is pregnant with an “unlawful” child, and often whole families and neighbors of an “offender” have been detained for days, weeks, or months.


As Chen Guangcheng and a group of activists found in a 2005 investigation into a planned reproduction campaign then going on in the Linyi area of Shandong, roughly 130,000 people in the Linyi area of Shandong had undergone forced abortions or sterilizations (including men), and some 600,000 people had been detained or tortured as a result of a familial or neighbor relationship. Chinese domestic media is prohibited by the Chinese Communist Party from publicizing anything related to the planned reproduction policy, though foreign journalists have covered the issue.
(see Philip Pan, Washington Post, August 27th 2005, “Who Controls the Family”)


In October of 2015, the Chinese Communist Party announced to the world that it is changing it’s “one-child policy” to a “two-child policy.” Despite the apparent relaxing of the policy, the authorities have made no mention of changing the regulations of planned reproduction or addressing the many atrocities that have resulted in the enforcement campaigns over the years. Until such a time as the entire system is dismantled and the government announces it will undertake its own investigation, it must be assumed that little will change for regular people on the ground.


For further reference, please see the Congressional-Executive Commission on China annual reports, available either in print or at

rule of law long form


Human rights attorney Xie Yang has been held in
detention since July, 2015, as part of the CCP's
crackdown on dissent. He has endured torture,
including by electric shock.
Human rights attorney Jiang Tianyong has been persecuted
for years because of the politically sensitive cases he takes
on. He has been detained since December of 2016, and has
been tortured.

In China the legal system is controlled by the Communist Party authorities. Whether it is the Department of the Judiciary, the Office of the Prosecuratorate, or the courts, all are under watch by the Communist Party authorities, who are the final arbiters of any case they care to be involved in. Hence, judges are not free to make their own decisions, and court outcomes are often predetermined. Lawyers are often afraid to take on sensitive cases, as they are in danger of losing their law licenses - and thus their livelihood - if they get involved with cases that reveal corruption or wrongdoing on the part of officials. In the countryside, legal expertise is in short supply, which has led to the emergence of “barefoot” lawyers, self-taught famers or workers who take on legal cases where there are no attorneys available. Unfortunately these self-taught lawyers are often the target of persecution themselves.


In Chen Guangcheng’s case, after being kidnapped by authorities and placed in a black jail, with no access to lawyers or his family, he was charged on made-up crimes, then forced to undergo two sham trials where evidence was fabricated, witnesses were paid, and the stands were packed with party officials. When he was in prison, he was repeatedly denied access to his lawyers, communication with his family, and he was beaten by other inmates under the watch of prison officials. Communist Party officials promised the United States government in 2012 that it would undertake an investigation into his mistreatment, but to date this has not happened.


For further reference, please see the Congressional-Executive Commission on China annual reports, available either in print or at



In China, the Central Propaganda Bureau controls the flow of media, what stories can be reported, and what can and cannot be taught in schools. Information on large-scale disasters such as the explosion in Tianjin in August 2015, the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, as well as public protests like the Tiananmen demonstrations in 1989 and the planned reproduction policy continue to be tightly controlled topics in mainstream media as well as on the internet.


Reporters, activists, attorneys and bloggers are regularly detained for actions or speech that are legal according to the Chinese constitution, and the authorities regularly shut down internet sites under specious charges. (CECC 2015, p. 65-74)


For further reference, please see the Congressional-Executive Commission on China annual reports, available either in print or at

Disability Long form


Chen Guangcheng at his home,
holding a copy of the Law for
the Protection of Persons with

Despite the passage of the Law for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities in 1992, China remains a difficult place for the disabled. Education for disabled children remains at roughly 28% of the population of school-age children, and access to services, facilities, and institutions is extremely limited. Of those few that do manage to go through high school or college, employment opportunities are narrow, with majors limited to Chinese medicine and music. According to a Human Rights Watch report,15 million disabled people in China are living on less than one dollar a day.


Prejudice and discrimination against the disabled is prevalent, especially in the countryside, where struggling families remain burdened by scarce personal resources and scant government assistance.


For more information see:

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