A group of independent UN rights experts on Wednesday expressed concern [press release] over reports that Chinese human rights activists have been subject to harassment for their attempts to participate in a UN human rights assessment of China. The activists have reportedly been prevented from participating in protests or leaving the country as this month's second review of China's human rights record approaches. The UN experts noted that "[i]ntimidating civil society members who seek to contribute to such an important international dialogue is completely unacceptable." Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya [official profile] found that Chinese human rights defenders are intimidated, threatened or arrested for cooperating with the UN. UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, also highlighted that "[a]ccess to information and an open space for the free exchange of opinions and ideas are essential to ensure a proper review of the human rights record of any country." The review will take place in Geneva on October 22.
China has been under scrutiny for its low human rights record. In August Chinese writer, lawyer and human rights advocate Yang Maodong, commonly known by his pen-name Guo Feixiong [HRIC profile], became the second leader of the New Citizens movement to be arrested [JURIST report] on suspicion of disrupting the peace. In June a Chinese court in Huairou on sentenced [JURIST report] Liu Hui, brother-in-law of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], to 11 years in prison on charges of fraud. In May China's Nanjing Intermediate People's Court issued a life sentence to Huang Sheng, the former provincial deputy governor of Shandong Province, for accepting almost $2 million in bribes from 21 organizations and numerous individuals between 1998 and 2011.