The United Kingdom Conservative Party Human Rights Commission recently released a report detailing human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) between 2016 and 2020. The report, titled The Darkness Deepens: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China, details how Beijing has violated the rights of religious minorities, persecuted pro-democracy groups, and censored free speech. Some of the findings of the report include:
- Suppression of freedom of expression: Over 100 journalists have been detained in dangerous conditions for covering the news that the CCP found objectionable. Dissidents are forced to confess on national broadcasters CGTN and CCTV. The aim is to boost the Party’s image while labeling free speech and pro-democracy activists as dangerous and chaotic. The entire education sector has been brought under the control of the party to brainwash students into conforming to the communist ideology.
- CCP virus violations: The CCP has silenced numerous whistleblowers who attempted to reveal the truth about the viral pandemic to the world. This includes doctors who gave early warnings and journalists who covered the issue at the initial stages of the outbreak. For example, Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist who reported from Wuhan at the height of the pandemic, was sentenced to four years in prison.
- Persecution of human rights defenders: The report stated that the Chinese legal system is not based on the “rule of law” but on “rule by law.” Between 2017 and 2019, the UN Working Group of Arbitrary Detention found 20 human rights defenders to have been unjustly detained. Beijing uses three systems of detention to keep dissidents under control. The first is administrative detention, the second is Residential Surveillance in Designated Locations (RSDL), and the third is re-education. The report specifically highlights the detainment of Canadian nationals Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, as well as influential Chinese people like Gui Minhai, Gao Zhisheng, Lee Ming-che, and Li Yuhan.
- Forced organ harvesting: The China Tribunal found proof of Beijing extracting organs from prisoners without their consent. The tribunal discovered that almost 60,000 to 90,000 operations were conducted every year between 2000 and 2014. In 2017, the number of eligible registered donors was just 5,146. That means that the majority of organ transplants done in communist China likely comes from forced organ harvesting, especially targeting Falun Gong practitioners. The communist regime’s denial and obfuscation of the crime are similar to how it treats the coronavirus pandemic.
- Modern slavery: Slave labor is part of the supply chain of 83 international brands. The communist Chinese regime sends officials to such factories to record the thoughts of Uyghur forced laborers. The report urged the UK to stop importing goods from China suspected to have been made through slave labor. In addition, it also asked for implementing the 2015 Modern Slavery Act.
- Surveillance: Beijing is strengthening traditional surveillance methods like infiltration and informants. Communist China is also building massive tech-based monitoring systems composed of internet censorship, AI cameras, satellites, and drones. Chinese companies like Huawei, which have been banned by the U.S., are also part of the surveillance effort. The CCP is also selling its surveillance systems to other dictatorships worldwide.
- Religious and ethnic persecution: More than a million Uyghur Muslims have been incarcerated in prison camps. Forced sterilization campaigns have been conducted to reduce the Uyghur population. China’s actions against Uyghurs have been classified as “genocide” by the Canadian Parliament. In addition, Beijing is also attempting to eliminate the Uyghur language.The CCP seeks to bring Christianity under its control. China Aid documented 1,265 cases of persecution of Christians in 2017. By 2018, this number jumped to around 10,000. In 2017, 3,700 Christians were found to have been detained; in 2018, 5,000 Christians were detained. There was a 44 percent increase in prison sentences from 2017 to 2018.
Falun Gong adherents have been facing severe persecution for over 20 years. They are also victims of forced organ harvesting. The Falun Dafa Association in the UK documented that 747 practitioners were targeted by party authorities in March; 313 had their homes ransacked.
In Tibet, the policy of repression has intensified; authorities have demanded locals to burn Tibetan flags and images of the Dalai Lama. In the Buddhist communities of Yarchen Gar and Larung Gar, thousands of homes have been destroyed by the state. The Tibetan language is being eliminated in an effort to completely destroy the entire Tibetan ethnic culture.
- Hong Kong: The imposition of the National Security Law is a violation of the Sino-British joint declaration, which guarantees Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedom of expression. Pro-democracy activists, human rights monitors, humanitarian aid workers, and journalists have faced violent attacks from Hong Kong authorities. More than 10,000 protestors are estimated to have been arrested; over 2,300 are facing charges. The use of tear gas is believed to have affected 88 percent of the Hong Kong population. Police brutality is systemic and widespread while press and academic freedoms are being suppressed.
The Tory Report recommends that the British government review its China policy with a focus on human rights. It asks the UK to lead an international coalition of democracies that will respond to China’s human rights violations. The report also asks London to hold Chinese perpetrators of mass crimes accountable and pressure Beijing to stop using forced labor in supply chains.