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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

World

China activist Cao Shunli ‘disappears’: rights group
Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Beijing, September 25, 2013
First Published: 22:50 IST(25/9/2013)
Last Updated: 22:54 IST(25/9/2013)

Beijing-based rights activist Cao Shunli was boarding a flight for Geneva earlier this month to attend an UN training on human rights when she was taken aside for questioning.

Cao has not been seen or heard since, a global rights group said on Wednesday, terming it as the latest case of forced disappearance by the Chinese government.

“The Chinese government should immediately release Cao Shunli, a Beijing-based activist who has been forcibly disappeared since September 14, 2013,” the rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

“She has not been heard from since she was questioned and barred from boarding a flight to Geneva to attend a training session ahead of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council review of China’s rights record, planned for October 22,” the group said in an emailed statement.

“Since February the government has arbitrarily detained at least 56 activists, taken into custody critics and online opinion leaders, and increased controls on social media, online expression, and public activism,” the statement added.

A number of other activists travelling to Geneva were stopped at the airport and threatened. “Cao is the only one whose whereabouts remain unknown,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, China’s online community has reacted angrily to the execution of street vendor, Xia Junfeng, who was accused of murdering two urban management officials – known as Chengguan in China – after an argument in 2009.

Xia was swiftly executed after China’s Supreme Court found him guilty of the murders despite his appeal that he was defending himself.


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