Rule of Law

Chinese activists protest secret arrest law

(September 30, 2011) A proposed law, now before the Chinese National People’s Congress, would legalize the common practice of detaining dissidents in secret without telling their families. Chinese rights activists are speaking out in protest. Lu Qing – wife of artist Ai Weiwei, who was detained for 81 days last year – has written a letter to the NPC. And Hu Jia, who was jailed in April 2008 on ‘subversion’ charges and only recently released, called for the “KGB secret police-style Red Terror methods” to be rejected.

Ai Weiwei’s wife urges China to drop plan on detentions

Sui-Lee Wee, Reuters, Sept. 28 2011

BEIJING (Reuters) – The wife of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose detention sparked an international outcry, has urged lawmakers to reject draft legislation that would cement in law police powers to hold dissidents in secret locations without telling their families.

Human rights advocates have decried China’s proposed amendments to its Criminal Procedure Code that could embolden authorities to go further with the kind of shadowy detentions, which have swept up human rights lawyers and veteran protesters earlier this year.

“If the above measures are passed, it will be a regression for China’s legal system, the deterioration of human rights, and will be a hindrance to the progress of our civilization,” Lu Qing wrote in a letter to the legislative working committee of the National People’s Congress, a copy of which was posted on Ai’s Google Plus account.

“(When) a citizen is taken away by a public security arm, a notice to the family members is the most basic right,” she said, adding that she wrote the letter after China’s rubber-stamp parliament invited citizens to comment on the draft legislation.

Activists occasionally write letters to parliament but they are invariably greeted with stony silence as Chinese lawmakers usually offer little or no opposition to policies decided by the Chinese Communist Party, which values stability above all else.

Ai, who spent 81 days in detention this year, was released in late June after he was taken from the Beijing airport and held in two secret locations.

In her letter, Lu wrote that the family still had not received any official notice on Ai’s detention.

Read the full article here.

To read Hu Jia’s comments on the proposed law, see China critic fears ‘thousands’ will vanish under new law.

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