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Human rights activists criticize China’s privacy policy | Stories

On September 24, Chinese officials produced Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig after being detained for over 1,000 days. The two were not detained in ordinary prisons but were placed in a “Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location” (RSDL), conditions that have been likened to the forced extinction by freedom groups.

All Canadians had access to a lawyer or consular services and lived in cells with electricity 24 hours a day.

Following a change in Chinese criminal law in 2012, police now have the right to detain anyone – foreign or Chinese – for up to six months in a designated, anonymous location. The Spanish Safeguard Defenders said about 27,208 to 56,963 people had crossed the Chinese RSDL route since 2013, citing information from the Supreme Court and the testimony of survivors and lawyers.

“The above issues obviously attract a lot of attention, but they should not undermine the fact that there is no transparency. Collecting available data and analyzing what is going on, estimates are an average of 4 to 5,000 people missing each year from the RSDL system alone,” said Michael Caster, founder of the human rights organization. of Safeguard Defenders.

Caster estimates that by 2020 between 10,000 and 15,000 passed the plan, from just 500 in 2013.

The list includes well-known names such as artist Ai Wei Wei and human rights lawyers Wang Yu and Wang Quanzhang, who were captured by the 2015 Chinese genocide on human rights activists. Other guests who have passed through the RSDL, such as Peter Dahlin, a Swedish freedom fighter and co-founder of Safeguard Defenders, and Canadian missionaries Kevin and Julia Garrett, who were charged with espionage in 2014.

William Nee, co-founder of research and advocacy at China Human Rights Defenders, said since the introduction of RSDL nearly a decade ago, the use of the criminal detention system has changed from its earliest days to a more widely used tool.

“In the past, when Ai Wei was abducted, he should have said it was his business, or a tax case or something like that. politically, “said Nee.” There was a fear that [RSDL] was making it customary to be ‘legal,’ based on the legal form and validity of it. And I think this has been proven well. “

Members of the Communist Party, government officials, and anyone involved in “governmental affairs” are treated in a similar manner. Since its inception in 2018, about 10,000 to 20,000 people have been exposed to the virus each year, according to the UN office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights.

The contents of the RSDL and liuzhi have been described as equivalent to torture, and prisoners are held without the right to receive a judge. Insomnia, isolation, imprisonment, beatings, and forced evictions have been reported by survivors of all these practices, according to several civil rights groups. In some cases, inmates can be confined to a dangerous tiger ‘s cage that prevents them from moving their legs for several days.

Together, RSDL, liuzhi and similar criminal justice systems “have established a prison of injustice and secrecy,” Caster said.

Al Jazeera contacted the Chinese Foreign Ministry for comment, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

China has already criticized organizations such as the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances for falsely using the RSDL, a practice that is said to be governed by its criminal laws as another way to arrest a suspect. It further stated that under Chinese law, it is illegal to imprison or deprive a person of his rights.

Asked about Spavor and Kovrig ‘while in jail, China’s Foreign Ministry said that although the pair were suspected of endangering national security “their legal rights were guaranteed” and they were not “detained” while their cases progressed “according to the law. . ”

The arrest of the two in 2018 looks set to avenge the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou by Canadian authorities at the request of the United States. Meng is wanted by the US Department of Justice for helping a Chinese tech giant do business in Iran despite the US occupation.

Shortly before his release, Spavor, a North Korean businessman convicted of espionage, was sentenced to 11 years in prison before Kovrig was acquitted. The two escaped from another prison when Canada finally allowed Meng to return to China after being in a domestic prison, but for many, RSDL is just the beginning.

The lawsuit continued last year also included Cheng Lei, an Australian Australian TV anchor who was placed under RSDL in August 2020 and later arrested “on suspicion of divulging state secrets,” and Chang Weiping, a former human rights lawyer, . and has been released from prison since early 2020 for participating in democratic negotiations. He was later arrested after recounting his experiences in RSDL on YouTube.

Caster said such cases with well-known names are a “water tip”.

“For the hundreds or thousands of members who do not have Wikipedia subscriptions, they can be detained for a long time under one of these systems. They are then released from prison to await further investigation,” he said.

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