Country Profile: China

On February 8, 2021, Lawyers at Essex Court Chambers in London published a legal opinion piece suggesting that available evidence of Chinese state actions establishes a “credible case” that authorities have committed crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide against Uyghurs in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Since 2017, authorities in the XUAR have detained around 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in a vast network of internment camps as part of a “de-extremification” scheme. The opinion also finds that “the crime of genocide is occurring, as there is evidence of an intent to destroy the Uyghur population as such, including through a pattern of Chinese State-mandated conduct.” 

Since 2014, the Chinese Government has launched a nationwide crackdown against students, professors, activists, and human right lawyers, systematically subjecting them to harassment and intimidation. For example, five women’s rights activists were detained for planning a campaign against sexual harrassment on International Women’s Day. Beyond this, authorities continue to increase their control over the internet, mass media, and academia. Televised “confessions” of critics detained for investigation have multiplied. Freedom of religion continues to be stifled. 


Additionally, a disturbing pattern has recently emerged in China: the Government releases activists, scholars, and students from prison in such poor health they die weeks later. Early instances include Cao Shunli, a prominent Beijing activist who was denied appropriate medical treatment while in prison and subsequently died of organ failure in March 2014, just weeks after she was released on medical parole. Other individuals who challenged the Government and died after being deprived of medical care include petitioner-activists Chen Xiaoming and Duan Huimin and Tibetans Goshul Lobsang and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. 


Endangered Scholars Worldwide holds the Chinese Government responsible for the deaths of these scholars and activists. Whether through deliberation or indifference, Chinese authorities are wielding the denial of adequate medical care as a weapon against those they find dissident. ESW calls upon the Chinese Government to end the practice of deliberately depriving political prisoners of medical care and to ensure that detainees are granted medical parole in time for their illnesses to be properly treated.


(Last updated: August 30 , 2021)

Please send appeals to the following:


Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
Zhong Naihai
Beijing 100032

People’s Republic of China


Zhou Qiang
President, Supreme People’s Court
No. 27 Dong Jiao Min Xiang
Beijing 100745
People’s Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 6529 2345 (c/o Ministry of Communication)


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China’s most famous dissident, Liu Xiaobo, has died in custody at age 61. The cause was liver cancer. His death, confirmed on July 13 by Chinese justice authorities  in the northeastern city of Shenyang, comes more than two weeks after prison authorities announced he was being moved to a hospital for treatment, news that was followed by pleas from around the world to allow him to travel abroad for care.