Tuesday, 17 April 2012

US and EU representatives in Beijing criticize China´s sentencing of disabled human rights lawyer

China´s communist rulers contine their crackdown on human rights and democracy activists:

China has sentenced disabled human rights lawyer Ni Yulan to two years and eight months in prison on charges of causing a disturbance and committing fraud, prompting complaints by rights activists.

A Beijing court sentenced the 51-year-old lawyer on Tuesday. Her husband, Dong Jiqin, was also jailed for two years on similar charges.

Both deny the charges, and their supporters say the charges were intended to silence their criticism of the government. The two were arrested a year ago as part of a wider crackdown on political dissent following anonymous online calls for protests in China after a series of uprisings in Arab countries.

Sarah Schafer, a Hong Kong-based China researcher with Amnesty International, told VOA the sentence is "absolutely unfair." She charged that Ni Yulan was targeted because she and her husband have been outspoken advocates for victims of land rights violations.

"Ni Yulan has suffered countless abuses at the hands of authorities, trying to defend people from forced evictions," she said. "In fact, she herself is a victim of a violent forced eviction, and she began giving aid to other victims to other victims of these types of evictions in 2001."

A positive sign is, that both US and the EU representatives in Beijing have publicly criticized the verdicts:

Outside the heavily guarded courtroom in suburban Beijing, European Union official Raphael Droszewski read a statement expressing "deep concern" about the sentences and calling for Ni's immediate release.

"The delegation of the European Union in China is deeply concerned by news of the sentence handed down to human rights defenders Ni Yulan and Dong Jiqin," said Droszewski The EU firmly upholds the rights of a person to address any human rights on behalf of individuals or groups, as enshrined in the United Nations declaration on human rights defenders."

He also said the EU is "preoccupied with the deterioration of the situation for human rights defenders in China," and will continue to closely monitor such cases.

Read the entire article here

The U.S. ambassador to China called on Beijing to release a prominent property activist sentenced last week to more than two years in prison, a rare move by an envoy who has criticized China's human-rights record but has seldom publicly questioned individual cases.

"I am very concerned by the sentencing of property and petitioner rights advocate Ni Yulan and her husband Dong Jiqin, as well as Ms. Ni's health and well-being, particularly in light of past abuses she has suffered," he said.

Read the entire article here

The logical next step should be a public condemnation of China´s crackdown on dissent by the US and EU governments. However, such actions are unlikely, in view of the fact that western political leaders at the same time are begging China to help solving the present financial crisis.

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