Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some Thoughts on Implications of the Ai Weiwei Case

I am very concerned that while China signed the ICCPR in 1998, China is more and more flaunting the provisions of Article 14 and other articles with regard to citizens' entitlement to due process of law. Recently, there are more and more reports of people who support freedom of conscience and political democracy being incarcerated through arbitrary process by agents of the Chinese security apparatus without involvement of the police or judiciary. While we all question the validity of wide application of laws against "threats against state security," now Chinese people are being "disappeared" for political reasons without any charge being laid at all..

For example Ai Weiwei was taken away by persons unknown, evidently not police, and some days later we are told by the Foreign Ministry that he is being held in an undisclosed location while being investigated on suspicion of tax evasion and bigamy.  One would expect a process of 1. investigation by the procuracy;  2. charges laid; 3. arrest; 4. open trial (as tax evasion and bigamy do not fall into matters of state security that would call for a closed trial).  

Ai Weiwei is of course a high profile case, but there are dozens and dozens of reports of people similarly disappearing, most of them "human rights defender" lawyers.

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