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Press Conference at the FCC: China’s Disappearances Problem

Speaker: Sophie RICHARDSON

Topic: Discussion and Q&A with Human Rights Watch China Director Sophie Richardson

Over the past year, dozens of civil society activists, lawyers, bloggers and artists, including Ai Weiwei, have been victims of enforced disappearances – a form of extralegal detention by security forces and their agents. Those disappearances – which range from a period of days to several months – continue to occur. Dr. Richardson will outline the wider impact of how those disappearances have silenced once-outspoken and courageous Chinese activists and the threat posed by proposed changes to China’s Criminal Procedure Law to effectively “legalize” such disappearances. She will also discuss the government’s use of enforced disappearances in Xinjiang and Tibet as well as its failure to address the problem of China’s “black jails” – illegal secret detention facilities which annually ensnare thousands of men, women and children in Beijing alone. Copies of the new Chinese-language version of Human Rights Watch’s report “An Alleyway in Hell: China’s Abusive Black Jails” (《地獄的小巷》: 中國的“黑監獄”) will be available.

A graduate of the University of Virginia, the Hopkins-Nanjing Program, and Oberlin College, Dr. Richardson is the author of numerous articles on domestic Chinese political reform, democratization, and human rights in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. She has testified before the European Parliament and the US Senate and House of Representatives. She has provided commentary to the BBC, CNN, the Far Eastern Economic Review, Foreign Policy, National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Dr. Richardson is the author of China, Cambodia, and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (Columbia University Press, Dec. 2009), an in-depth examination of China’s foreign policy since 1954’s Geneva Conference, including rare interviews with policy makers.

For more information, please contact:

In Hong Kong, Phelim Kine (English, Mandarin) +852 9521 3168
In New York, Minky Worden (English, German, Cantonese): +1-917-497-0540; wordenm@hrw.org

Speaker: Sophie RICHARDSON,