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As One High-level Official Disappears, Nobody is Safe from Repression

In the last quarter of 2018, China’s human rights record continued to deteriorate. October began with the disappearance of a high-level official—Meng Hongwei, then President of Interpol and Deputy Minister of Public Security in China, who was reported missing after travelling from France to China on 5 October. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has since stated that Meng is being investigated on allegations of taking bribes. On 5 November, rights groups released a statement urging the Chinese government to release ‘cyber-dissident’ Huang Qi who was arrested in 2016 on charges of ‘leaking state secrets’. His condition has drastically declined during his time in custody. It is reported that Huang suffers from chronic kidney disease, hydrocephalus, and heart disease. In the same month, Fengrui, the Chinese law firm raided at the start of the 709 campaign in July 2015, was officially shut down. On 29 November, Li Wenzu, a 709 campaigner and the wife of detained human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, was barred from leaving China. She was on her way to Sweden, where she was to receive the Edelstam Prize for outstanding contributions to advancing human rights. At the end of the month, authorities in Guangdong formally arrested two individuals who witnessed the beating and stripping of human rights lawyer Sun Shihua. Since September, Sun has pursued a complaint after being beaten, illegally detained, strip-searched, and drug-tested for seven hours in the provincial capital. Lawyers are not the only victims of state repression: in mid-November, a Chinese author known by the pen name Tianyi, was sentenced to over 10 years in jail for writing and selling a ‘pornographic’ erotic novel that featured gay sex scenes; and in early December, Xu Lin, a musician who sang about the late Nobel peace laureate and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo, was given a three-year jail term. TS

(Sources: ABC News; Radio Free Asia 1; Radio Free Asia 2; Radio Free Asia 3; Reuters; South China Morning Post 1; South China Morning Post 2)

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