致：聯合國人權事務高級專員米歇爾・巴切萊特・赦里亞女士（Ms Michelle Bachelet Jeria）
國際人權日70周年 停止酷刑 尊重人權
聯署團體（排名不分先後）：更新 9/12/2020 18:40 26團體
Date: 10 December 2020
To: Ms Michelle Bachelet Jeria, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
70th Anniversary of International Human Rights Day: Stop Torture and Respect Human Rights
Since 1950, 10 December each year has been observed as “International Human Rights Day" to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948.1 This year’s “International Human Rights Day" marks its 70th anniversary. However, the Chinese and Hong Kong governments continue to connive with law enforcement officials to abuse their power and use excessive force and torture against protesters and detainees as well as enforce draconian laws which violate human rights. All these are an unabashed violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted in 1966. 2
As the international human rights standards continued to develop, the United Nations passed the “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment" (commonly shortened as the “Convention against Torture" (CAT)) on 10 December 1984, detailing various forms of prohibited torture and related acts, which the contracting states are obligated to comply, submit periodic reports to the UN Committee against Torture regularly and accept the Committee’s reviews. The Chinese government signed and ratified the Convention in 1988. In the previous reviews, the Committee severely criticized China and Hong Kong, contracting states of the treaty, for torturing dissidents and police’s abuse of power in handling detained protesters.
Torture and inhumane treatment against dissidents have led to many tragedies in the past. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo was not allowed to seek medical treatment overseas even when he was on his dying bed suffering from terminal liver cancer. He was only granted medical parole shortly before his death; human rights activist Cao Shunli was taken away at Beijing International Airport on her way to join a UN human rights mechanism training in Geneva, Switzerland. She died in custody mysteriously a few months later.
China has a long history of suppressing dissidents, deploying torture and inhumane treatment, which bluntly violated Articles 11-16 of the Convention against Torture. These articles ensure that detainees are not tortured and the government should conduct effective investigations of law enforcement officials who are perpetrators of torture. Reports of torture include:
Lack of adequate or appropriate medical treatment:
Huang Qi, the founder of “64 Tianwang", was beaten and tortured in previous imprisonment and currently suffers from hydrocephalus, brain atrophy, heart disease, nephritis and other diseases, but he has not received appropriate treatment in the current imprisonment.
Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti was tortured during detention. His family members have been unable to visit him for a long time after he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Lawyer Yu Wensheng had been tortured, verbally abused and interrogated nearly 200 times during a 61-day detention period in late 2014 and early 2015. Only after he was sentenced this year following his detention in January 2018, his lawyer was finally allowed to visit him and found that his teeth were loose and his right hand was trembling.
Forced psychiatric treatment:
Dong Yaoqiong, who splashed ink on the portrait of Chinese president Xi Jinping as a protest, was sent to a mental hospital twice. According to her father, her mental condition was worrying after her release.
Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist who is currently detained for reporting on the COVID outbreak in Wuhan, had been detained for supporting Hong Kong’s anti-extradition protests and was forced to undergo a psychiatric diagnosis.
During the anti-extradition protests in 2019, the Hong Kong police were widely filmed and reported to have indiscriminately arrested protesters, arbitrarily shot tear gas and deployed weapons that could endanger lives to disperse the crowd. Professional organizations which monitor policing and police’s abuse of power have published reports, pointing out that the Hong Kong police’s practice in dispersing crowds and gatherings, as well as the lack of an independent mechanism to investigate police brutality, is a severe violation of Articles 11-16 of the Convention against Torture.
In addition to the above cases and practices, the Committee against Torture has criticized the Chinese government for imprisoning dissidents with compulsory measures called " residential surveillance in a designated location". The detainees are often accused of “endangering state security" offences and they are disallowed to meet with lawyers who are hired by themselves or their family members. Detainees are therefore more vulnerable to torture, with recent examples of human rights lawyer Chang Weiping, legal scholar Xu Zhiyong and human rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi. Lu Yuyu, the founder of the news blog “Not News" which documented mass incidents and strikes in China, who has just finished serving his prison term, also reported details of torture he suffered in the prison. It is worrisome that the 12 Hong Kong youths, who are accused of “illegally crossing the border" by China, are not allowed to meet with lawyers hired by their families. As the Chinese government has forcibly implemented the so-called “National Security Law" in Hong Kong, it is reasonable to agonize that the authorities would exercise torture to suppress dissidents, who are suspected of violating the so-called “national security". Hong Kong is undeniably regressing in the rule of law.
We sincerely urge the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate and monitor multiple allegations of torture in accordance with the responsibilities of contracting countries of the Convention against Torture:
On Chinese government
- to stop torture and inhumane treatment against dissidents immediately
- to conduct an independent investigation of law enforcement officers who commit torture
- to release the 12 Hong Kong residents back to Hong Kong
On Hong Kong government
- to halt arbitrary arrest and stop arresting dissidents under the National Security Law
- to set up an independent investigation committee to investigate police brutality
Co-signed by: (9/12/2020 18:40 26 signed)
Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China
Civil Human Rights Front
Friends of Conscience
Office of Tsang Kin Shing District Councillor
Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement
Tiananmen Mothers Campaign
Hong Kong Labour Movement Research Group
The Office of CHUN Hoi Shing, Sai Kung District Council Member
University of Democracy, Hong Kong.
Ma Kee, Office of District Councillor
League of Social Democrats
Office of District Councillor Jimmy Sham
The Association for the Advancement of Feminism
Hong Kong Christian Fellowship of Social Concern
Office of District Councilor YIP Kam-lung Sam
Labour Party (Hong Kong)
Office of District Councilor Lam Siu Pan
Grassroot Cultural Centre
Kwai Chung Estate Christian Base Community
Right of Abode University
Office of Lui Man Kwong Sai Kung District Council Member
The Democratic Party
- “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment“, Article 5, Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation“, Article 7, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
支聯會及民陣等26個團體聯署致聯合國人權事務高級專員米歇爾・巴切萊特・赦里亞女士「國際人權日70周年 停止酷刑 尊重人權」聲明，敦促中國政府和香港政府改善人權狀況，履行聯合國成員捍衛人權義務和責任。