U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on China to honor its “international human rights obligations” in a statement marking the fifth anniversary of Beijing’s ignominious July 9 “nationwide offensive.”
“On July 9, five years ago the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a nationwide offensive targeting hundreds of defense lawyers and human rights defenders for detention, interrogation, and politically motivated criminal charges,” Pompeo declared in a press statement Wednesday.
This July 9 crackdown “was designed to intimidate a generation of lawyers and activists from representing or assisting anyone the CCP perceives as a threat to its absolute power,” Pompeo continued. “It showed the world what it means to govern via ‘rule by law,’ rather than a system based on the rule of law.
After five years, the thirst for absolute control has shown no sign of abating, Pompeo noted.
“This wave of repression continues, demonstrated by the secret trial and June 17 sentencing of Yu Wensheng for defending victims of the 2015 crackdown,” he said. “After detaining human rights lawyers like Wang Quanzhang for years and denying them visits from their families and chosen attorneys, the PRC [People’s Republic of China] detained those lawyers’ own defense attorneys — such as Yu and Li Yuhan — without due process.”
Moreover, PRC authorities continue to keep some human rights lawyers under house arrest while having others disbarred, he added.
Beijing has also “targeted peaceful activists, like Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi, who have worked with human rights lawyers to protect Chinese citizens’ rights and defend against the abuses of government officials,” he said.
The Secretary of State concluded by appealing to China’s communist leaders to protect basic freedoms.
“The United States urges the PRC to honor its international human rights obligations and commitments and domestic legal guarantees protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in China,” he said.