[JURIST] The Hong Kong police department [official website] on Friday cleared the main government compound of pro-democracy supporters who occupied the area in protest. It is reported that supporters were subdued [BBC report] with pepper spray and 60 arrests were made. The pro-democracy protesters and supporters are a part of an movement titled Occupy Central [official website]. Occupy Central is a “nonviolent direct action movement that demands genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong in compliance with international law, in particular one-person-one-vote and the right to run and be elected to office without unreasonable restrictions.” The supporters are made up of mostly activists and students from local schools and universities. While protesters were arrested, it is currently legal for a citizen to protest in Hong Kong.
China’s human rights record has garnered international attention for the government’s treatment of the growing civil rights movement in the country, led by a number of prominent rights activists and attorneys. In June a Chinese court denied bail [JURIST report] to prominent human rights lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang, who is likely to be indicted in the country’s attempt to deter growing legal activism. Pu was detained [JURIST report] last month for “causing a disturbance” after he attended a weekend meeting that urged an investigation into the 1989 crackdown of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. Many believe that the government’s actions against Pu are intended to set an example, in hopes of silencing the growing dissonance and social activism amongst lawyers in China. In May Chinese officials in the western region of Xinjiang held a public rally [JURIST report] at a sports stadium for the mass sentencing of criminals. While three of the 55 sentenced were convicted for crimes including “violent terrorism,” other prisoners’ crimes ranged from separatism to participation in terrorism groups.