2011 Marks New Low for China’s Human Rights Record

It is easy too look back on 2011 as a banner year for human rights and democracy across the world. The Arab Spring brought fundamental change across the Middle East, from Tunisia to Yemen.  Unfortunately, this tide democracy did not reach China: A new report points toward “worsening human rights abuses in China after charting 2011 as a year of unprecedented, illegal disappearances in the wake of the Arab Spring revolts in North Africa and the Middle East.”

According to Human Rights Watch, the Arab Spring further emboldened the Chinese Communist Party to take action to silence any voices of criticism or dissent within the nation, fearing the possibility of a “Jasmine Revolution.” Additionally, the Chinese Communist Party wanted to send a signal that the leadership transition set to occur should not be seen as an opportunity for increased liberties or fundamental change.

Chinese police took the unusual step early last year of “disappearing” numerous lawyers and activists, including well-known artist and public advocate Ai Weiwei, who was held for 81 days before being released on the condition that he not speak about his experience.

It said the latest clampdown came amid growing public awareness of rights issues and widening popular anger.

“More than 100,000 ‘mass incidents’ or protests are estimated to occur annually in China and the Chinese government now budgets more funds for social stability maintenance than national defense,” HRW said.

Among those targeted by the Chinese Communist Party during 2011 was Du Daobin, one of three named plaintiffs in a human rights lawsuit brought by Ward & Ward, PLLC against Cisco Systems, Inc. (“Cisco”) alleging knowing and willful enablement of the Chinese Communist Party’s harassment, arrest, and torture of Chinese political activists.  Mr. Du, who had previously been imprisoned for posting pro-democracy articles online, was again detained for questioning by Chinese police regarding his involvement in the lawsuit against Cisco and warned that they continued to monitor his online activities.

Unfortunately, it appears the CCP’s increased crackdown in 2011 is only a sign of things to come in 2012:

Last year’s rights record was an alarming sign of what may be still to come as China’s leaders make efforts to enshrine the practice of disappearance in the country’s criminal law, according to HRW China director Sophie Richardson.

“The Chinese government’s sharp crackdown on critics—while trying to cover abuses with a fig leaf of legality—is an alarming sign of what the next year could be like for Chinese citizens, government critics, and human rights defenders,” Richardson said.

As we have stated previously, there is no doubt there is more evidence out there regarding Cisco’s ongoing support of the Chinese Communist Party’s continued oppression of its citizens.  If you have any information, please do not hesitate to contact Daniel Ward.  Any such communications will be kept confidential.

Let Cisco Systems know that their continued and knowing support of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to violate the human rights of peaceful political dissidents like Du Daobin, Zhou Yuanzhi, and Liu Xianbin will no longer be tolerated.  Contact your elected representatives — let them know how you feel.  Finally, if you haven’t already done so, sign the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s petition– Tell Cisco: Stop helping China abuse human rights!.

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