Date of Publication: 28/06/2019
Today, the state of human rights in China appears to be at its worse since the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. According to Human Rights Watch, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to increase its hold over government bureaucracy and has subsumed state bodies in charge of religious, ethnic, and overseas Chinese affairs. Chinese authorities have also significantly increased repression and systematic abuse against religious groups, especially the Turkic Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region, and have continued the arbitrary detention, torture, and enforced disappearance of dissenters and human rights defenders.
Human rights abuses on China’s mainland are very concerning, especially when considering this state’s place in global politics and economic relations. China’s growing power in the international system makes it an exporter of human rights abuse and has allowed China to extend its reach to silence many of its critics across the globe. However, dissenters and human rights defenders in China’s free, autonomous territories such as Hong Kong are obviously the communities that are most at risk of falling victim to human rights abuse by mainland China.
Earlier this month, we saw mass protests take place in Hong Kong in opposition to a now-suspended bill that would have allowed mainland China to extradite individuals from Hong Kong to stand trial. This bill would have removed any protection that the people of Hong Kong had from mainland China’s arbitrary and inhumane criminal justice system. On 16 June, nearly 2 million protesters took to the streets in Hong Kong to express their concerns and resistance to being subject to mainland China’s criminal justice system and successfully pressured leadership to suspend the bill.
In this edition of the War Studies Podcast, we asked Benedict Rogers, founder and chair of the human rights organization Hong Kong Watch, to tell us about the state of human rights in China and the recent protests in Hong Kong around the now suspended extradition bill.
Benedict Rogers specialises in human rights in Asia. He is also co-founder and Chair of Hong Kong Watch. He is the author of six books, and a regular contributor to international media including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guardian, the Diplomat, The Catholic Herald, and The Huffington Post. and has appeared regularly on the BBC, CNN, Sky News and Al-Jazeera. He is the author of The Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2013-2016. Benedict is a frequent speaker in universities, schools and conferences around the world. He has testified at hearings in the British Parliament, the US Congress, the European Parliament and the Japanese Parliament. He has a BA in History and Politics from Royal Holloway, University of London, and an MA in China Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Hong Kong Watch website: https://www.hongkongwatch.org/
War Studies Live Stream - China 30 Years After the Tiananmen Massacre (Ben Rogers): https://www.facebook.com/WarStudies/videos/783991868662508/