Why Christmas time in China entails prison for human rights activists

Beijing experts accused of bringing campaigners to ordeal when foreign observers are least likely to be paying attention

As people celebrate around the world, a brand-new Christmas tradition is increasingly popular in China: jailing political prisoner, hoping the distraction of the vacation season will lead to less attention.

This year is no different. Three human rights activists will come to experiment in the next few days when many foreign diplomats, journalists and NGO commentators are away from their desks.

When the most prominent human rights activists are put on trial during the course of its Christmas season, thats obviously deliberate, said William Nee, a China researcher at Amnesty International. The authority doesnt crave international tending and they dont miss foreign beholders, so they go to extreme periods to forestall international its further consideration of these picture trials.

Chen Yunfei will be tried on Boxing Day, after already languishing in police imprisonment for the past 21 months. Accused with picking spats and eliciting fus, Chen organised a monumental for victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square murder during the course of its holiday in which Chinese traditionally pay respects to the dead.

On the Friday 23 December police approved they were investigating prominent Christian rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong on idea of provoking subversion of state influence. He had been missing since November 21 and his family still does not know where he is being held.

Jiangs wife, Jin Bianling, said the couple had been unable to celebrate Christmas since 2012 because of molestation from the police. Jin moved to the United States three years ago, but this is the first Christmas she has not been able to speak to her husband.

He used to call and move photos every year and tell me how much he missed me, he didnt want me to feel alone on Christmas, Jin said, strangling back rips. But this year we dont even know where he is, and we fear he was able to waste Christmas being tortured.

A United Nations human rights body shared her frights in a statement earlier this month: We fear that Jiangs departure is also available directly related to his advocacy and he may be at risk of torture.

On 21 December it emerged that Xie Yang, another rights lawyer, had his action transferred to the prosecutors place in preparation for him to be tried on bills of inflaming subversion on the part of states capability and disrupting court order.

Xie has been held since July 2015, part of a nationwide range that ensure more than 300 solicitors and activist detained in what some have called a war on constitution.

In the most famous instance, Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Christmas Day 2009. Last time, free speech endorse Pu Zhiqiang was given a three year suspended sentence on December 22 and Yang Maodong and Sun Desheng were both convicted during an all-night trial at the time of the American Thanksgiving holiday in November 2015.

The Chinese authority tries to give the impression that they dont are of interest to the worlds opinion, Nee said. In reality the government is very concerned about international public opinion and how people realise the rule of statute in China developing.

President Xi Jinping has obliged consolidate the rule of rule a hallmark of his regime since took power in 2012. But experts say that for politically sensitive cases, the laws and regulations is used as a tool to jail rights lawyers and activists with legal procedures often ignored.

In a clue that Chinese dominions are increasingly concerned about public opinion, both at home and abroad, a series of information videos have run on social media.

One video designation A Notice to Foreign Troops: Weve Captured Jiang Tianyong ! was posted by the Communist youth league center committee just days before police officially announced they were investigating him.

The video employs caricatures, photos and even a scene from a Mr Bean film, describing Jiang as a malefactor who colluded and received money from unnamed foreign forces. Jiangs incarceration may be a reprisal for has met with United Nations experts, according to the report of Philip Alston, the United nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

These videos are very significant because they are aggressively sending a message to the rights defense and human rights lawyers parish, Nee said. Its to startle these parties and say If you stand up for Jiang Tianyong and sign petitions on his behalf, you could be next.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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