Linkedin may have censored China-critic’s account, globally

 

Update: Three days after being requested to comment on this issue from Safeguard Defenders, a media outlet, and Peter Humphrey himself, the account of Peter Humphrey was quietly back in working order as of late yesterday, but with no comment issued from Linkedin as to why.

 


 

After UK’s TV regulator Ofcom launched a formal investigation of CGTN (China Global Television Network), based on a complaint by British former journalist Peter Humphrey and Safeguard Defenders, U.S. social media company LinkedIn appears to have started censoring Peter Humphrey’s account, globally.

After Peter Humphrey posted a few newspaper articles on the subject on May 8, his social media account, which is still accessible, ceased to show any new posts, comments, or other updates that he made after 16.00 (GMT+1) on May 9. He has made numerous postings, including comments and links to newspaper articles over the past 48 hours and received no error messages when posting. But the posts fail to appear in the Linkedin feed. Older posts and activity remain visible and in other respects, his account is functioning, so it is unlikely to be a technical error. Linkedin earlier in December 2018 blocked his account in China.

The effect is effective on Linkedin globally, and not just for Linkedin China. Safeguard Defenders have reached out to Linkedin for a comment and will post any response here. Peter Humphrey has reached out to Linkedin and has so far received no reply.


 

This is the second time within half a year that Linkedin has blocked Peter Humphrey’s posts. In December 2018 Mr. Humphrey received a notice from Linkedin saying  he would be blocked in China because of the “presence of specific content.”

After Buzzfeed reached out to Linkedin,  Nicole Leverich, a spokesperson for the company they said that his profile had been blocked in error. They refused to say why he had been blocked.

This followed blocking in China of another vocal critic of the Chinese government, Zhou Fengsuo. In a message to Zhou, Linkedin said the company “strongly supports freedom of expression,” but his profile and activities would not be viewable to users in China because of “specific content on your profile.” After media attention, Linkedin claimed again that it had been an error.


 

The above two incidents concerned ‘merely’ blocked access to an account for users of Linkedin China. The current development regarding Mr. Humphrey’s account is global in effect, and no new posts, comments, likes or other functions posted appears visible for anyone.

UK regulator launch investigation of Chinese State-TV

UPDATE: 2019-05-09 (17:30 GMT+1)

One day after Ofcom launched an investigation of Chinese State TV broadcaster CGTN, after a complaint filed by victim Peter Humphrey and Safeguard Defenders – it has now launched a second investigation of the same broadcaster based on a complaint filed by Angela Gui and Safeguard Defenders concerning two Forced TV Confessions by imprisoned/disappeared Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai.

Since Gui’s last TV confession in 2018, China has continued to extract and air such televised “confessions”, domestically as well as internationally. Gui’s last confession was also broadcast on CGTN Francais in French, and two Canadians, a Chinese journalists (and his family members), a uighur poet and even a judge on China’s supreme court – who is still missing – has been paraded on TV ‘confessing’ to crimes they have not been convicted, or even arrest, for. The use of these confessions have slowed since its height 2016, but remains a continuously used tool by the Chinese state.

 


 

BREAKING NEWS. The broadcasting regulator of the United Kingdom,  the Office of Communications (Ofcom), has launched a formal investigation into forced confessions broadcast by Chinese state TV giant CGTN – China Global Television Network. A similar investigation, based on a very similar complaint against Iran’s Press TV, previously led to Press TV losing its license and being given a large fine.

This investigation has been launched following a “privacy and fairness complaint” (view complaint here) filed by British former journalist and fraud investigator Peter Humphrey on November 23, 2018. Mr. Humphrey is one of many victims of China’s recurrent use of Forced TV Confessions and was forced to record a “confession” under duress, long before indictment, trial or conviction of any crime in order to deny him justice and to prejudice his case. That “confession” was then aired in China by state broadcaster CCTV on multiple channels, and in English around the world on CCTV’s overseas arm CGTN. Mr. Humphrey was later paraded on Chinese television in another such forced and false “confession”, which was again aired both in Chinese in China and in English worldwide, including in the UK.

The violation is considered so grave that Ofcom has exempted Mr. Humphrey’s complaint from a normal time limit of having to file a complaint within 20 days after an accused broadcast, given the fact that at the time, he was incarcerated and not allowed to communicate with the outside world and that after his release he has battled cancer, PTSD and other illnesses caused by deliberate rough handling in captivity.


 

A similar complaint, concerning Swedish citizen and Hong Kong-based bookseller Gui Minhai, who remains detained at an unknown location, was filed by his UK-based daughter Angela Gui, on December 30, 2018. A decision on whether to launch a second investigation into CGTN based on Ms. Gui’s complaint remains pending. However, considering that her father’s multiple forced “confessions” are more recent, it is unlikely that Ofcom can shirk launching a formal investigation into the Gui case as well. Should that investigation be launched, the full complaint filed with Ofcom will be made public.


 

Ofcom’s ability to revoke a broadcaster’s UK license hangs heavy over CGTN, as London has been selected as the hub for a massive new CGTN European division. Their brand new Chiswick Park facility in London has recently opened and is undergoing rapid expansion.

As China’s ties with the United States, Canada and Australia deteriorate sharply, and given the EU’s importance in China’s trade equation, especially as its economic growth continues to slow down, Beijing’s push for expanded influence across Europe and in the EU, in which the massive expansion of CGTN and Chinese state media play a key role, is now at risk.


 

Around June 10, China, if it respects its own draconian rules and laws,  will have to move two Canadian prisoners, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, from “Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location” (RSDL) and place them under formal judicial arrest. Both have been “disappeared” into RSDL in response to a political and diplomatic crisis with Canada. If they are moved to judicial arrest, the Communist authorities will no doubt launch a propaganda campaign to justify their actions. With CGTN’s abuses now under an official probe in the UK and under the international spotlight, the parading of Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig in forced TV “confessions” in front of an international audience may have been curtailed.


 

Separately, two other complaints, filed by Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing Kee and Peter Dahlin of Safeguard Defenders, both against CCTV-4, not CGTN, for broadcasting Chinese language “confessions”, has not led to any investigations, as CCTV, unlike CGTN, does not maintain a license in the UK and only broadcasts over IP-TV. This is despite the fact that all of CCTV’s channels, regardless of their channel number, are part of one single organisation directed by the Chinese Communist Party.


 

Of note is that, upon further examination, CGTN included in one of its broadcasts a wrongful translation (into English) of Peter Humphrey’s spoken Chinese words, adding words to the translation that were never said, changing the meaning significantly, in a clear distortion of fact. This exposes CGTN to supervision by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which, unlike Ofcom, operates with a narrower mandate but with the scope to take action against “intentional falsification of the news”. A complaint to the FCC, based on eight different aired “confessions” by CGTN in the United States is now under preparation. 


More information will be presented shortly, with this page being updated.


To learn more about China’s use of Forced TV Confessions, and the recent reorganisation of Chinese state/party media, and its expansion worldwide, especially in Europe, see Safeguard Defenders recent book Trial By Media, available on Amazon worldwide and other select online stores.

Missing Chinese Supreme Court Judge makes Forced TV Confession

CCTV13 today (2019-02-22) aired the 50th known Forced TV Confessions since Xi Jinping came to power. CCTV13’s news program Focus On (共同关注) aired a confession in their evening news broadcast featuring Wang Linqing (王林清), a judge on China’s Supreme Court that went missing on January 3, 2019, and possibly placed into Liuzhi under China’s new National Supervision Commission.

 

Updated Database file on Forced TV Confessions: Forced TV Confessions Database EN, CN 2019-02-22 RSDLmon

The broadcast

The broadcast also viewable on CCTV website here.

 

 

Brief background on missing judge

On December 26, 2018, an Intellectual – and former CCTV presenter – Cui Yongyuan exposed news on his weibo, indicating that there was thief inside the Supreme Court, and that files related to 100 billion CNY mineral ownership case had been missing for two years. The post brought great public attention. The next day, the Supreme Court responded that the allegation was a rumor.

 

On December 29, 2018, Cui revealed further evidence through weibo, pointing out the file had been stolen in the judge’s office, and that the judge who handled the mineral case was Wang Linqing (王林清), and released two photos that looked like the missing files. The same day, The Supreme Court admitted the content shown in the photos matched the copy of the file that exists at the Court’s documentation office. Supreme Court stated that they will start an investigation.

 

On December 30, 2018, “China Times” received a video, a testimony video by Wang Linqing (王林清) who serves as a judge of the Supreme Court Civil Trial. In the video, Wang said he made the video for self-protection and released it as evidence in case something happen to him. In the video, Wang exposed two cases of similar nature, one that was about a contract dispute starting back in 2003, and when he was about to write a judgment on it before trial at second instance, the relevant files had all gone missing. Due to the seriousness of the case, he reported it to the court president and asked to check surveillance cameras. The preseident checked it himself and said no one but Wang appeared in it. The next day the camera was broken. Wang said he became very suspicious.

 

 

On January 2, 2019, another Wang Linqing video leaked online, in the video, Wang talked about another case that he was involved in back in 2012, which may be related to his current situation. The case concerned infringement of property rights worth billions of renminbi.  When Wang Linqing handled the case, the president of Supreme People’s Court Supervision Bureau called Wang to report on the case twice, and indicated that one upper leader had a strong concern about the case, and wanted Wang to judge the case to the benefit of one particular party. Wang Linqing refused to do so and reported that this very same party had tried to bribe him. After an unfavorable outcome to the same party, Wang received a threat from this party, saying he would have trouble in the future.

 

In 2014, when Wang Linqing was appointed to hold a lecture in a court in Jiangsu, he was arrested due to an order from higher up, police claiming that he committed a serious crime. Wang was interrogated both in Jiangsu and in a hotel of Beijing. Police didn’t find anything unusual after they went through Wang’s bank account. Eventually, police used the talk he had held as an excuse, and called it an illegal business activity, and seized the income he earned from it and gave him a demerit.

 

Judge Wang was taken to a hotel near the Supreme Court in Beijing for interrogation by investigation team on January 3 and has not been heard from since. On January 9, 2019, Cui Yongyuan made a post on weibo, said had phone call with Judge Wang Linqing Wang sounded fine, but couldn’t meet with Cui yet.

 

 

New developments regarding Chinese state TV broadcaster CCTV/CGTN

Standards complaint to Ofcom for broadcasting known lies and intentional distortions

On February 28, 2019, a complaint will be filed by Safeguard Defenders to the UK’s TV regulator Ofcom, concerning systematic violations of the UK’s rule concerning due impartiality and due accuracy in TV broadcasts (standards section five), calling on Ofcom to investigate the broadcast of known and provable lies and intentional distortions in newscasts. The full complaint uses eight different broadcasts by CCTV/CGTN to show the systematic nature of these violations.

 

>> EMBARGOED COPY OF THE DOCUMENT AVAILABLE FOR INTERESTED MEDIA PARTIES.

Make a request at Info@SafeguardDefenders.com

 

Update on prior, Ofcom Privacy and Fairness complaints

This larger complaint follows four individual complaints made, under Ofcom’s Privacy and Fairness complaint mechanisms, namely Peter Humphrey (November 23, 2018), Angela Gui, on behalf of her missing father Gui Minhai (December 30, 2018), Peter Dahlin (January 7, 2019) and Lam Wing-kee (January 14, 2019).

 

At the time of writing, Ofcom has not issued any decision on whether to launch full and formal investigations based on any of these complaints.

 

Standards complaint with United States TV regulator FCC

A larger complaint has been prepared for the United States Federal Communications Commission regarding CCTV and CGTN in the U.S. FCC, operating with a narrower mandate than Ofcom, has mandate to act only when evidence of broadcast of lies and intentional distortion can be provided. This complaint, 23 pages in length, will do just that. To be filed April, 2019.

 

New documentary by award-winning TV news show on Forced TV Confessions, and those fighting back

On February 21, 2019, the award-winning Al Jazeera show 101 East premiered their newest documentary, made by Lianain Films – who before made the much watched documentary on the missing five Hong Kong Causeway bay booksellers. The film, China’s TV Confessions, documents not only the use of this practice, but is focused on the disparate group of people fighting back against how CCTV and CGTN can participate in making and broadcasting these without scrutiny or penalty across the world. With Safeguard Defenders’ Peter Dahlin, Wang Yu, Teng Biao, Bao Longjun, Angela Gui, Lam Wing-kee, and Peter Humphrey.

 

China’s state media airs another Forced TV Confession

On February 10, 2019, Chinese state media recorded and broadcast another Forced TV Confession, of Uighyr Abdurehim Heyit. This time it was done by CRI – China Radio International, which like CCTV/CGTN, will soon be folded into the new media behemoth ‘Voice of China’. The broadcast, a foreign policy statement responding to Turkish criticism of the situation in Xinjiang, had all the hallmarks of the typical Forced TV Confessions aired by CCTV in the past.

 

New online campaign for TV confessions

Following CRI’s broadcast of a confession by Abdurehim Heyit, a Uighyr long thought dead, there is now a growing call from Uighurs around the world asking the Chinese state to broadcast confessions of their loved ones missing in Xinjiang and its system of camps for arbitrary, unlawful, incarceration.

 

Safeguard Defenders’ Peter Dahlin goes on TV with Chinese ambassador to Sweden to talk about Forced TV Confessions

On February 3, 2019, Swedish current affairs TV program Agenda focused, again, on China’s use of Forced TV Confessions, and invited both the Chiense ambassador (in Chinese) and Peter Dahlin (in Swedish) to be interviewed, although not together or simultaneous. Soon after, February 17, 2019 Angela Gui appeared to discuss the new developments regarding Gui Minhai’s disappearance. The Swedish ambassador to China has now been placed under investigation by SÄPO – Sweden’s security police.

 

The same TV channel – SVT, Sweden’s public TV broadcaster – broadcast an extended seven minutes news segment, with an in-depth interview with Peter Humphrey (in English), on January 28, 2019, part of which can be viewed at the link above.

 

New brief report on disappearances inside China’s detention centers

Safeguard Defenders, through its website for information on Disappearances, RSDLmonitor.com, on February 13, 2019, released a brief paper outlining a new, and as of yet, unreported on, phenomena. The brief paper presents information on how people are disappeared inside the normal judicial process, that is, even after they have been arrested. Many of those victims disappear initially, under RSDL – residential surveillance at a designated location – but as can now be shown, disappear again after their arrest and when placed into detention centers to await trial. The method is as simple as disturbing, as the 25 cases presented in the report shows – in that these victims are signed into the detention facilities under false names. In effect, they disappear, because they seize to exist, as no person with their names exist within the detention centers – leaving family and lawyers unable to locate or access the victims before their trial. Read the brief paper at https://rsdlmonitor.com/hidden-in-detention/ or download it as a PDF. Chinese edition available here.

 

 

 

Hidden in Detention

Hidden in Detention

 

How the CCP disappears its critics, even after arrest

 

This brief paper looks into how critics are effectively disappeared after arrest, while awaiting trial, by police’s use of false names for those placed into pre-trial detention, done by police sometimes with, sometimes without, the detention centers’ knowledge.

Download as pdf: Hidden in Detention – Vanishing Suspects

 

Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋) disappeared not once, not twice, but three times. First, at the start of the 709 crackdown, on July 9, 2015, in which hundreds of human rights defenders around the country were detained, Wang Quanzhang went into hiding. Close to a month later, he was caught and placed into ‘residential surveillance at a designated location’ (指定居所监视居住) (RSDL), his whereabouts unknown. But even after his RSDL ended six month later, after he was arrested and placed into pre-trial detention, he remained disappeared. For more than three years, while awaiting his trial and inevitable guilty verdict, which came abruptly in January 2019, there simply was no Wang Quanzhang in the records of the Chinese detention system. He had simply vanished, again.

 

Wang’s story is not unique. In China, countless human rights defenders have been subjected to the same fate of ongoing disappearance after detention or arrest. Until now, the systematic refusal to acknowledge the fate or whereabouts of the detained person, from the arbitrary denial of access to a lawyer to the outright use of false names to hide the record of detention, has largely gone unnoticed. Based on research into some 25 cases, including interviews with victims, this brief demonstrates the increasingly sophisticated and planned nature of secret detention in China.

 

Enforced disappearances have seemingly exploded under Xi Jinping, through codified (“legalized”) and wholly extrajudicial systems, such as in Xinjiang. The full scope of which is still unknown. In China’s codified systems for disappearing people, RSDL under the 2013 Criminal Procedure Law and ‘Liuzhi’ (留置) under the 2018 National Supervision Commission (国家监察委员会), no figures are published and data related to most cases is kept unreported in the Supreme Court’s database on legal proceedings in China.

 

Alongside these systems, a new form of disappearances has now been identified – suspects vanishing in detention centers after arrest.

 

 

Vanishing Suspects

 

In almost all known cases of using false names when victims are placed under arrest and taken to detention centers to await prosecution and trial, it follows earlier placement into RSDL. In most of those cases, the victim has spent six months incommunicado and in solitary confinement, and with the six months’ time-limit is up, the use of false names is primarily a system for denying them the rights that their arrest would otherwise afford them.

 

The use of false names in pre-trial detention is similar to forcing victims to fire their own lawyers – it’s a step taken to keep them incommunicado, and it’s coerced and not willfully agreed to, as all the victims spoken to have shown.

 

The reason given to the suspects themselves can vary wildly. When police told Zhai Yanmin (翟岩民) that he would from now on be called Zhai Tiancheng (翟天成) police said it was for his own good. For Tang Zhishun (唐志顺), who was named Tang Biao (唐彪), it was both for his own sake and for the good of the people he would be sharing a cell with. For Xie Yanyi (谢燕益) it was to prevent ‘risk’, which was never explained any further. For many people, no reason was given, and whether they had to be registered into their detention center with a false name or not up for debate, and many wouldn’t even argue, realizing the futility of it.

 

Even though some rights defenders, such as Ni Yulan (倪玉兰), and Su Changlan (苏昌兰), and Jia Lingmin (贾灵敏), to mention a few, were arrested right away, for most known victims, the placement into detention centers with false names came after time inside RSDL. A difference may be that the above people were considered local activists, being persecuted by local authorities. This is different from the many victims to follow, most of which were part of the 709 crackdown, coordinated out of Tianjin, targeting lawyers and legal activists specifically. For these victims, related to 709, arrest almost always followed long-term placement into RSDL.

 

For most of the victims in the table below, like with Wang Yu (王宇), who was named Wang Ning (王宁), the name was decided on by the head interrogator. For Dr Liu Sixin (刘四新), named Liu Shunli (刘顺利), his name was told to him during the night before he was taken to the detention center and placed under arrest. Wang Yu was told just as they placed her into the car to take her to her detention center, just like with Xing Qingxian (幸清贤).

 

Other details vary from case to case, but one thing is clear, all the victims are told that their real name must be kept secret, they are instructed not to divulge their real names to the inmates with whom they shared their cell. For many, this would mean living with the false name for at least six months, for some much longer than that. For Wang Quanzhang, who despite being sentenced in January 2018 but still kept incommunicado, he has likely lived with his name for almost three years at the time of writing.

 

Dr Liu Sixin writes in Trial By Media: China’s new show trials, and the global expansion of Chinese media:

 

…I was in the cell when the cell leader told someone to switch over to CCTV13 even though we were not allowed to watch the news. The guards outside were not paying much attention to us. The news reported that Zhai Yanmin had been given a three year suspended sentence. One of the other prisoners in my cell who had been transferred from the same detention center as Zhai said: “That’s Zhai Tiancheng!”

 

Zhai had been given the name Tiancheng when he was locked up, to conceal his real identity. I’d been given a fake name too – Liu Shunli. We were given false names so no one could find us. Technically, there was no one called Liu Sixin in my cell. I was not allowed to disclose my real name even to my cellmates.

 

Most victims, when analyzing how they were ‘checked-in’ into the detention centers, think that only the police in charge of their cases before arrest were aware, and that detention center staff were not informed or told that the name used was fake. They were all told to keep their real names from detention center staff. Almost everyone says they did at some point tell at least one other inmate their real name, but were cautious to discuss it if any detention center staff were nearby. When the guards found out that Su Erqi (苏二七) was actually Su Changlan, and that she had been placed into the Nanhai detention center in Foshan, Guangdong, under a false name, it became a joke for the guards, a way to ridicule Su.

 

The use of false names seems to be related to two issues, namely keeping the victims unable to be reached by his or her lawyer, and denying access or even knowledge of whereabouts to the victims’ family. As such, the underlying purpose is to keep the victim incommunicado. Considering that the incommunicado and disappearance aspect seems to be key to the CPP, as can be seen in RSDL, in Liuzhi, and in mass disappearances in Xinjiang, and that the normal criminal procedure does not afford them the right to do this after people’s arrest, it is likely this new method will appear more frequently in higher profile cases, especially when victims have first been placed into RSDL – as by using false names in detention center, police effectively get the same level of control of the victim that the RSDL system affords them.

 

With disappearance in detention centers, with the victims’ whereabouts unknown to family, friends or for that matter, anyone within the judicial system itself except the police officers in charge of the suspects’ investigation, China has now launched yet another attack on law, and found a new system for disappearing rather than detaining its critics.

 

 

Background: From RSDL to Liuzhu

 

Despite growing resistance to RSDL, in 2018 the promulgation of the National Supervision Law and National Supervision Commission led to the establishment of a new system for custody during such investigations – Liuzhi. Unlike RSDL, which is applied most frequently to lawyers, journalists, and other critics, the Liuzhi system is aimed at party members, state workers, and functionaries related to China’s vast state-controlled system of schools, hospitals, state-owned enterprises and research institutes. Like RSDL, Liuzhi can last for up to six months, but since Liuzhi is managed with no involvement by police nor prosecutor, those kept in Liuzhi are given even less protections than what’s afforded in RSDL. Like RSDL, it is a system for mass disappearances.

 

The NSC is an enforcement body independent of the police and prosecutor, supposedly to investigate economic crimes and corruption within party- and state organs or its functionaries. Only rarely does such investigations, and the incommunicado detentions that is part of it, lead to prosecution. For most, their investigation and custody inside Liuzhi is the punishment itself. Since the system directly follows and continues that of the party’s internal system, ever since the 1970s, it is easy to recognize that the true aim is political control and effective control over its vast bureaucracy, where corruption is but one possible crime.

 

Before its establishment, a similar system already existed for party members, but with the establishment of the NSC, the scope of its mandate, from 90 million party members, will increase somewhere between 200% and 500% based on pilot schemes run in select provinces the year before launching. In 2017 some near half a million ‘investigations’ were launched, a number likely to at least double to about 1 million, based on growth since 2013 and the set expansion in the scope of their mandate. No statistics on how many are placed into Liuzhi, or its predecessor system – Shuanggui (双规) – exist, but a noted Chinese academic earlier estimated that maybe 10-20% end up in custody[1]. If so, the system alone will likely be responsible for well over 100,000 disappearances annually.

 

While China has expanded its legislative powers to disappear its citizens, in Xinjiang the state has implemented a terrible campaign of mass disappearances on a scale perhaps unknown anywhere else in the world. Over a million, mainly Uyghur and Kazakh Muslims have, without any legal proceedings, been placed into a vast system of concentration camps. Many are taken from the streets or their homes and placed into these camps, without time limits, without acknowledgment or communication with their family, amounting to enforced disappearances.

 

 

For more information on Disappearances

 

The most authoritative resource on the use of RSDL, with exhaustive domestic and international law analysis, alongside victim testimonies, can be found in The People’s Republic of the Disappeared: Stories from inside China’s system for enforced disappearances.

 

A Chinese language edition is available for free as pdf on RSDLmonitor.com, and likewise available as paperback on Amazon worldwide.

 

In addition, Trial By Media, a new book which focuses on the use of Forced TV Confessions and collaboration between CCTV and police in extracting and producing such, likewise includes information on disappearances.

 

A briefer report on the new National Supervision Commission and its Liuzhi system, From Central Control to National Supervision, has also been released. Submissions regarding RSDL for UN reviews, as well as other types of materials, is regularly posted on RSDLmonitor.com.

 

 

[1] https://rsdlmonitor.com/new-report-central-control-national-supervision/

International Civil Society Calls for China Human Rights Resolution Ahead of UN Meeting

At upcoming session of Human Rights Council, States should pass resolution to address human rights violations in the People’s Republic of China

 

Your Excellency,

The past year was marked by vitally important monitoring and review of China’s human rights situation by the United Nations human rights system. The upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council provides a key opportunity to reinforce the issues raised over the last year, and express collective concern about worsening rights abuse in China and the government’s failure to follow through on its obligations and commitments.

Considerable information has been available in the last year for governments to deepen their understanding of the situation in the country, spanning two UN reviews and nearly two dozen expert letters or opinions, including a full paragraph in the annual update from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Nonetheless, the Chinese state, at the direction of the Chinese Communist Party, continues to suppress dissent and undermine efforts to hold it accountable to its obligations under international agreements.

Millions in the country face dire abuses of their fundamental human rights – be they members of ethnic groups, practitioners of Islam, Tibetan Buddhism or Christianity, human rights defenders, feminists, petitioners, lawyers, journalists, professors or students. Uyghurs and Tibetans are particularly targeted with discriminatory policies and practices. Furthermore, these abuses increasingly affect individuals and communities beyond China’s borders.

In light of this, the international community must push with one voice for change. We urge your government to contribute to and support a resolution on the human rights situation in China.

In doing this, you will join with others to make clear that no State’s development model or economic and political influence can exempt it from its international human rights obligations. If China seeks to be a responsible member of the United Nations and global actor, it should be open to and engage with criticism, rather than seek to deflect or discredit views with which it disagrees.

Such a resolution and any other joint action at the Council should:

  • urge prompt, unfettered and independent access to all parts of the country, in particular Uyghur, other Turkic Muslim and Tibetan areas, by independent international human rights experts, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant UN Special Rapporteurs;
  • demand an end to the abuse of national security legislation as a means of criminalising the work of human rights defenders, freedoms of expression, association, religion or belief and subverting due process, and call on China to seek technical assistance from UN experts to this end, including at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
  • call for the immediate release of any and all individuals subjected to unlawful and unjustified deprivation of liberty, in particular those held extra-legally or in extended pre-trial detention, and provide remedies and reparations to address harsh treatment, at times including torture, and loss of livelihoods.
  • express support for the OHCHR and UN Country Team to take steps to expand, improve and regularise monitoring and reporting of the situation in China.

Resisting efforts by China to shield itself from international scrutiny, analysis, and reporting is essential to preventing widespread impunity for violations which, in some cases and based on available reporting, may amount to crimes against humanity. This resistance has the greatest, and perhaps only, chance of success when conducted jointly, and when backed by a multi-pronged multilateral and bilateral effort.

We therefore urge you to take advantage of this moment, and the platform of the Human Rights Council, to convey to China the need to open itself to international monitoring and reporting, and the need for rapid and drastic improvement of its human rights performance across all civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights.

In so doing, you will demonstrate your commitment to supporting  the Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur  human rights communities – those most central to sustainable change, and yet those most vulnerable in the struggle for it. You will also send a clear message to the Chinese government that such abuses cannot be tolerated or ignored, and that the international community will defend the universality of human rights.

Please rest assured, your Excellency, of our highest consideration, and our willingness to engage with you on these issues in the days and weeks to come.

 

Sincerely,

 

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Asociación Cultural Tibetano-Costarricense

China Human Rights Accountability Center

China Labour Bulletin

Christian Solidarity Worldwide

CIVICUS

Core Group for the Tibetan Cause

Free Tibet

Frontline Defenders

Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete

Human Rights in China

Humanitarian China

International Campaign for Tibet

International Commission of Jurists

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

International Service for Human Rights

International Tibet Network Secretariat

Lawyers for Lawyers

Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada

LUNGTA – Actief voor Tibet

Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders

PEN America

Safeguard Defenders

Students for a Free Tibet

Students for a Free Tibet Denmark

Swedish Tibet Kommitten

The Rights Practice

Tibet House, Moscow

Tibet Initiative Deutschland

Tibet Justice Center

TIBET LIVES

TibetMx Querétaro

Tibet Society UK

Tibet Support Group Netherlands

Tibet Watch

Tibetan Youth Association Europe

Uyghur Human Rights Project

West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (ROADDH)

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

World Uyghur Congress

 

Relevant Background

 

The below points summarize key updates from the last six months and provide additional detail for the substance of a resolution. It is important to note that joint action should not preclude continuing the positive practice of raising the overall deterioration of human rights in China through bilateral statements under the full range of dialogues and general debates on the Council’s agenda.

  • In August 2018, a review by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination declared that western China’s Xinjiang region was akin to a ‘no-rights zone’, and urged the government to take prompt action to disclose information about internment camps and to release the up to one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities arbitrarily detained there.
  • In her update to the September 2018 session of the Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet echoed the Committee’s concerns, noting ‘deeply disturbing allegations of large-scale arbitrary detentions of Uighurs and other Muslim communities, in so called re-education camps across Xinjiang’ and adding that her Office has also received ‘reports… of patterns of human rights violations in other regions’. She requested access for her Office to all regions of China.
  • At the Universal Periodic Review of China in November 2018, the consistency of recommendations related to the need to improve respect for minority rights in general, and in particular address serious violations in Xinjiang and Tibet, was remarkable. Similarly, key issues of interest to the diverse human rights community in mainland China – freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of religion or belief, civil society space, ‘residential surveillance in a designated location’, and protections for LGBTI individuals – were clearly articulated.
  • Over 2018, the UN Special Procedures issued at least 21 official communications on China, on issues ranging from access to education and cultural rights for Uyghurs and Tibetans; to due process violations, including risk of torture and suppression of the legal profession; to forced evictions and occupational safety risks for electronics workers. Also in 2018, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted at least two opinions, concerning two citizen journalists and three lawyers, deeming their detentions in China arbitrary under international human rights law.
  • Naming specific individuals is critical; this contributes to sustained attention and improved conditions. Those who have been the subject of Communications by Special Procedures and, in some cases, referred to in the Concluding Observations of UN treaty bodies, include: Huang Qi, Li Yuhan, Jiang Tianyong, Qin Yongmin, Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk, Uyghur intellectual Ilham Tohti, and human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, sentenced after a closed trial on 26 December 2018 to four and a half years imprisonment for subversion of State power.
  • An additional Communication by 10 Special Procedures, issued in August 2018, called for the removal of legal provisions permitting ‘residential surveillance in a designated location’, echoing concerns of the Committee against Torture that this constitutes de facto incommunicado detention.

 

For media inquiries, contact michael [at] safeguarddefenders [.] com

 

 

 

Peter Dahlin files complaint against CCTV4 in the UK

On Monday, January 7, Peter Dahlin, the director of Safeguard Defenders, filed a complaint with Ofcom, the UK’s Broadcast regulator. The complaint is a standard Fairness and Privacy complaint against CCTV-4 which broadcasts in the UK.

The full complaint also includes a section against breaches against standards, and include an ‘autopsy’ of lies and intentional distortion of facts made, many time knowingly, by CCTV, both in them helping the Ministry of State Security agents extract and record the “confession as well as in extensive post-production before the newscast.

 

Fairness and Privacy complaint

China Central Television channel 4 (CCTV-4)

 

This complaint is filed by the victim of the broadcast, Swedish citizen Peter Dahlin, on 2019-01-07.

Download the full complaint as a PDF here.

 

Background to complaint

 

This complaint concerns China Central Television (CCTV) Channel 4, a Chinese-language channel broadcasting in some 121 or more countries around the world, and in the United Kingdom under CCTV’s license CCTV (DTAS100508BA/15)[1].

 

 

In mid-January 2016, after having spent a few weeks incommunicado, in a secret prison facility in China, in solitary confinement, I was asked by agents of China’s Ministry of State Security, to record a video. I was at this time, along with several coworkers and even my girlfriend, being kept under what is called ’residential surveillance at a designated location’ (RSDL for short). This system allows for solitary confinement, incommunicado detention for half a year, and has been classified by the United Nations as a tool for ’Enforced Disappearances’. By law, victims are kept outside the normal facilities of the judicial system, in what amounts to custom-built prisons that are not allowed to be called prisons, and where all victims must be kept in solitary confinement in anti-suicide-padded cells.

I was told, for the judicial system to decide on whether to prosecute me, for having worked with legal aid and rule of law issues in China, or to deport me under diplomatic pretext, that they needed me to record a video, one that would show their higher ups that I was repentant and accepted my wrongdoings. Not doing so would have kept my girlfriend in solitary confinement for up to half a year.

Recently, it has become well known how police and Chinese CCTV collaborate in making ”Forced TV Confessions”, always before trial, but back then it was less well known. I, like many victims who have later spoken out, was never told or informed, that this was to be a public TV recording, but that it was for internal use only. Even when CCTV staff has been involved in making these, police would, as victim have testified this year, been told it is merely for higher production value.

 

 

I was given a paper with prepared questions and answers, and told to memorize it. I was told to change to my civilian clothing and to shower. Later that day, i was hauled to another room inside the same secret prison facility. There, almost a dozen agents from state security filled the room, along with a cameraman from CCTV, CCTV camera equipment, and a CCTV journalist.

As has been widely reported, and therefore I will not go into details here, the journalist was given a paper with questions to ask me. I was then told to reply with the memorized answers. In between takes, agents would direct re-takes, instructing me to change posture, change answers, change tone. My paper with the questions and answers visible to the journalist sitting opposite.

Being kept incommunicado, I was not aware of this being released on CCTV13, China’s main news channel, on primetime, and aired across China. Again, I was never told this was for public use or TV or anything similar. Later seeing the broadcast, after having been deported, I could also see two other coworkers, who had been kept in same facility, also having recorded such confessions. CCTV had then taken them all, edited them, added significant graphics and post-production, and broadcast it. I had not been tried, nor even arrested.

 

 

Due to the recent work by Safeguard Defenders and their reporting (I am a member of that NGO) and exposure of this use of Forced TV Confessions against critics, and especially following reveleations this month, December 2018, by a Swedsh journalist, of how these have then been broadcast outside of China, including in the UK, it has now become known that my ”confession” was broadcast, by CCTV4, in the United Kingdom.

 

Basis for complaint

 

— Violations of the Broadcasting Code —

The production of, and the airing of, violates a significant part of the privacy and fairness provisions in the Broadcasting Code, especially as no consent was asked for, not could, in any meaningful way, be given even if asked. Key among these violations are;

Derogatory. The postproduction added, without my knowledge, abusive and derogatory material, and accusations presented as facts. (article 3.3)

Impartiality. CCTV staff would be well aware of my situation, witnessing how the recording was produced, yet did not in any way or form include that in the broadcast. (article 5.1)

Corrections not made. Despite my vocal denouncement of this treatment and broadcast, including in Chinese language media, CCTV has made no attempts to issue a correction. (article 5.2)

Lack of partiality. At no point is the true role of the CCTV staff shown in the broadcast. (article 5.8)

Unfair treatment. Broadcast presents me as a willing participant, despite knowing it not to be so. (article 7.1)

Fairness to contributors. Broadcast presents me as a willing participant, despite knowing it not to be so. I was kept incommunicado, without access to lawyer, in solitary confinement by what is by definition a secret prison. The scripted nature was clear to CCTV staff. Additional accusations added in post-production presented as facts without any trial having been held to convict me. (article 7.2)

Concerning article 7.3, CCTV is in breach of many different points, as presented above. I was intentionally not told the true nature of the recording or its purpose, was not informed of other (forced) contributors (my coworkers), and was not told of changes made from my “confession” and the finished production.

Editing. I was not told about the editing undertaken, and the many parts added in post-production, and allegations were presented as facts. (article 7.6)

Checking that material is correct. CCTV staff has not taken reasonable care to check that material to be presented was unfair, or that selection of material to present was factual. (article 7.9)

Chance of contributor to respond. I was not informed at any point of the allegation presented against me in the TV broadcast, was never given a chance to see it (I was even unaware it has been shown on TV), and certainly never given a change to respond to any such allegations. (article 7.11)

Privacy infringement. The broadcast severely infringed on my privacy, presenting falsehoods to a viewership in the hundreds of millions. No consent given in any way, nor could it ever, as I was never informed this was for TV, and even if so, was kept under duress and could not legally give or not give consent of any form. (article 8.6)

No broadcast of thus suffering emergency or tragedy. It was not warranted for CCTV to broadcast this “confession” as I had not been convicted of it, it also severely infringed on my privacy, and no consent was given. (article 8.16)

Not use recordings of people in distress. I was kept incommunicado, in solitary confinement, as a secret location. CCTV staff was aware of the scripted nature of the recording. It was by very definition a situation of great distress. (article 8.17)

 

— Violations of the Human Rights Act —

 

CCTV has violated paragraph 6 of the Human Rights Act, in being directly responsible for denying me the possibility of a fair trial.

CCTV is responsible for severe violations of my privacy, as defined in article 8.

 

Standards Breach

 

Throughout the broadcast the newscast, and the newscaster, presents what are merely accusations against Peter Dahlin as facts. This is done despite the then widely known fact that Peter was being investigated, and that no arrest had been made of him, and certainly no trial or conviction of him been made. Thus, CCTV intentionally distorted the fact.

All statements made by myself was known by CCTV to be made under duress. The videographer and the journalist both were aware that I was kept in a facility for investigation, and were aware that my answers were pre-determined, and was being read from a piece of paper that both CCTV staff saw. Both also asked questions supplied, on paper, by the security agents. They are also aware that those security agents guide and directed the whole recording, being present in the room. They instructed on tone of voice, posture as well as on re-takes as well as updated questions and answers.

Despite the presence of a large number of security agents in the room making the “confession” video, and the fact that it was made inside a prison-type facility, is hidden in CCTVs filming of the “confession” as well as in the newscast.

The newscast begins by stating that security forces have successfully cracked down on an organization that was engaging in activities threatening national security. The organization, and its director Peter Dahlin, were merely under investigation. The broadcast convicted him in public of this accusation despite no arrest nor trial of him.

The newscast falsely states that Peter’s work and his group operated under instruction from a foreign, non-specified, institution (they mean National Endowment for Democracy). This is false, and this statement is known by security personnel involved to be false. I did not make this, nor any similar statements to CCTV. Any understanding, even basic one, would know this to be false, because grant makers do not direct their grantees.

The newscast includes statements against me that could not be verified by CCTV. Those are statements from two co-workers. Neither of these were interviewed by CCTV, and those videos were made by the Ministry of State Security while both were kept incommunicado. CCTV had no access to either persons, and thus had no way to verify such statement from them, yet nonetheless included them in the broadcast to further add defamatory statements. These statements include that I intentionally collected negative or damaging information about developments in China, and that I would distort and exaggerate them, and even fabricate such information. It also said my work sought to intensify disputes inside China.

The newscast, voiced by one of these forced statements from a detained co-worker, but also by the newscaster/narration, states, as a fact, that we, in collusion with overseas forces, planned and helped smuggling someone across China’s border into Burma. This is false, the security services knows that it is false, and CCTV did not ask about it in the interview, but issued it as a statement of fact nonetheless.

The newscast directly lies when it then states that I confessed to the above accusations. I did not, and no video of me exist where I confess to any involvement in this smuggling. The newscast also says that I admitted that any report made “did not reflect the true situation”. This is false, and no such admission was made, nor does it exist. This is a false statement, and CCTV interviewer did not ask about this, yet included this as a statement by newscaster in the broadcast.

In addition, I was forced to use the word “criminal” against two people. I made it clear, repeatedly, that neither of those had been tried and convicted of any crimes, therefore by definition are not criminals, but MSS agents refused to change it. CCTV staff were aware that neither of them had been convicted, nor even been arrested. Despite that, they intentionally included this forced statement from me in the newscast, as an act of intentional distortion.

Finally, the newscast states that I said that we would pay professional lawyers to launch lawsuits against the government. I did not say that, and it is false. Professional lawyers provide criminal representation for those facing criminal prosecution. This is not in any way related to lawsuits against the government. CCTV did not ask about this, yet presented it, in newscaster/narrators voice, as having been admitted and said by me. This is both a direct lie and an intentional distortion.

The newscast ends with stating that I had been placed in “residential surveillance”. This is false, and knowingly false by CCTV. I had been placed into “residential surveillance at a designated location”, a very different situation, and me being held in a MSS run facility would make it clear to CCTV staff as they visited to interview me.

 

Further information

 

Safeguard Defenders, the human rights NGO, has released an exhaustive report on the use of forced TV confessions in China, Scripted and Staged, available as pdf here: https://rsdlmonitor.com/new-report-offers-backstage-pass-to-chinas-forced-tv-confessions/

The same NGO has also, with help from Swedish journalist Kurdo Baksi, been able to reveal, just this December, the true scope of broadcasting of these Forced TV Confessions in the UK, and this database can be accessed here: https://rsdlmonitor.com/revelations-cctvs-use-forced-tv-confessions/

More information and a long list of victims’ testimonies can be requested from Safeguard Defenders at info@safeguarddefenders.com.

Full victim testimonies and in-depth information about CCTV’s role in the practice of “Forced TV Confessions” can also be read about in the first ever book on the subject, Trial By Media, available on Amazon worldwide.

 

 

— Time of filing complaint –

 

This complaint is being filed after the 20 day normal reporting period. The broadcast of this, my own, TV “confession”, and the vast scope of broadcast of many others, in the UK, was unknown until exposed in December 2018. It seems to have been unknown and gone unnoticed by Ofcom as well.

Now that this has been exposed, this complaint is being filed, requesting a waiver to the time limitation, as allowed for in the procedures of Privacy and Fairness complaints, and as has been given in nearly identical situation before, with the first known precedent being the filing against Iran’s Press TV for engaging in identical behaviour as CCTV, in the case of Iranian-Canadian journalist Mazair Bahari[2].

 

— The Broadcast –

 

The broadcast was made by CCTV4, 2016-01-20, starting at 21:37:32 local China time (GMT+8) on the program “中文国际” (Zhong Wen Guo Ji, in English: Chinese International). The video is available for viewing on CCTV’s specialized web-viewing platform CNTV here: http://news.cntv.cn/2016/01/20/VIDEiPEjHu2jkZlriiYtTQlj160120.shtml

[1] http://static.ofcom.org.uk/static/radiolicensing/html/tv/cs/dtas100508ba15cctv.htm

[2] Ofcom decision BSC 68(11) https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0032/52997/press-tv.pdf

Statement on Wang Quanzhang’s indictment, by Peter Dahlin

By Peter Dahlin

The indictment of Wang Quanzhang has circulated, with one of three points of prosecution resting on Wang’s work with what Chinese prosecutor calls “中国维权紧急援助组”, also known in English as ‘China Action’. His work for cases handled while working for Feng Rui law firm constitutes the other two points.

 

The co-founder of that small group, Peter Dahlin, is likewise the founder of today’s Safeguard Defenders (which also run RSDLmonitor.com), and one of several people who from ‘China Action’ and controls its legacy, including managing all its old documentation. With that in mind, Peter Dahlin today issued this statement.

 

The very mission of ‘China Action’ was to strengthen enforcement of China’s law,s the very opposite of claims that it was in any way or form working to violate or break Chinese law. There is no legal basis for the prosecution of Wang Quanzhang as presented by the prosecutor, and the court should, without delay, have Wang Quanzhang set free. Likewise, the prosecution of Wang for participating in the now famous Jiansanjiang case have no merit in law, and any legal violations were perpetrated by Jiansanjiang police, not any of the many lawyers involved.

 

The evidence, as indicated by the prosecutor – according to an older, sealed, indictment, includes testimony from several other people, all but one which was effectively disappeared during their interrogations, placed into ‘residential surveillance at a designated location’ (RSDL). The indictment names Wang Yu, Chen Songzhu, Xing Jianshen and myself, Peter Dahlin. All were held in solitary confinement, without access to a lawyer, incommunicado, and as testimony released before has shown in some of those cases, some received physical and mental torture. Any ‘evidence’ collected through such interrogations should be inadmissible, as per Chinese law.

 

 

Knowing, based on what has been said either in public or in private by all those named, there is nothing in what was said in those interrogations that can qualify as evidence for the charge of subverting state power – the crime Wang Quanzhang is charged with. Many other people have been investigated in relation to this accusation, all of whom has been set free. The insistence of using this point to prosecute Wang, but no one else, makes it clear the prosecution has no basis in law and is a political statement from the Chinese government.

 

No part of ‘China Action’s’ work, focused on training of lawyers in Chinese law, providing legal representation and aid, nor its research and limited reporting, in any way constitute subversion of state power, especially important to note as the group’s mission was to improve the enforcement of Chinese law, the very opposite of violating or breaking said laws. Furthermore, all documentation underpinning the work of ‘China Action’, all the way back to its founding year, 2009, has been preserved and can illustrate every aspect of ‘China Action’s’ work.

 

More information will be released once more information from the prosecution and court hearing becomes known.

 

2018-11-26

Peter Dahlin

 

BBC Journalists Union Condemns China’s Broadcaster CCTV

BBC Journalists Union Condemns China’s Broadcaster CCTV and Supports Ofcom Complaint on Forced Confessions

 

BBC World News AGM: Chapel Meeting – Friday 21st December 2018 1.30pm, Richard Dimbleby Room, B1 NBH

 

Referral of China Central Television to OFCOM

BBC World News NUJ Chapel notes that China Central Television (CCTV) is opening its largest media hub outside China in Chiswick, employing over 300 staff. According to Reporters Without Borders, China’s state and privately-owned media are under the Communist Party’s close control, while foreign reporters are encountering more and more obstacles. More than 50 journalists and bloggers are currently detained.

This NUJ Chapel condemns moves to deepen control by the Chinese Communist Party of news and information and the online surveillance of its citizens. We also condemn how forced televised confessions, filmed and broadcast by CCTV, are now commonplace in China. 

This Chapel therefore supports the complaint filed by victim and former Reuters journalist Peter Humphrey with OFCOM against CCTV for operating in violation of the regulator’s broadcasting code and for complicity in committing gross human rights violations.  This Chapel states that broadcasters cannot be accomplices to torture.

Proposed: David Campanale

Seconded: Jatinder Dillon

 


 

21 December 2018 – The human rights organisation Safeguard Defenders has learned today that BBC television journalists have moved a resolution condemning China’s state broadcaster CCTV over its airing of forced confessions from China in the UK and supporting the recent complaint to Ofcom of victim Peter Humphrey against Chinese TV’s involvement in this human rights abuse.

 

Mr. Humphrey, a former Reuters correspondent for almost 20 years and then due diligence consultant for 15 years in China, submitted a detailed complaint to Ofcom on 23 November calling for curbs on CCTV’s UK broadcast rights due to CCTV’s role in extracting and broadcasting forced and falsified “confessions” from him and his wife twice (in 2013 and 2014) while they were held under duress in a Shanghai jail on false charges of illegally acquiring private information.

 

Ofcom is the UK broadcasting regulator which enforces UK broadcasting laws. Mr. Humphrey’s complaint has pinpointed 15 violations of this law by CCTV in its broadcasting of his forced “confession”, centering around CCTV’s violation of the law’s privacy and fairness provisions and the standards of content. Ofcom has yet to reach a decision on Mr. Humphrey’s complaint.

 

Mr. Humphrey, a British citizen, and his American wife Yingzeng Yu, were incarcerated in Shanghai from July 2013 to June 2015, and Mr. Humphrey was denied medical treatment in captivity, causing cancer.

 

Safeguard Defenders welcomes the principled decision taken by BBC journalists trade union, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), convened on Friday. This resolution upholds professional ethics and journalistic values against the encroachment of abusive media practices employed by CCTV, an arm of the Chinese Communist Party.

 

“We call upon all journalists in the UK to act in concert with this move by the NUJ group at the BBC”, Safeguard defenders director Peter Dahlin said.

 

“I am very grateful for this thoughtful action from the BBC NUJ members and for their devotion to ethical journalism and the law,” Peter Humphrey said. No genuine professional journalist anywhere should accept CCTV’s behaviour.”

 

Friday’s resolution (above) was adopted by the television arm of the NUJ in BBC Global News.

Further revelations about CCTV’s use of Forced TV Confessions

Following continued research into the phenomenom of Forced TV Confessions (FCs), and in particular research undertaken in collaboration with Swedish journalist and social commentator Kurdo Baksi on the true extent of how these are broadcast outside China, through its various international Channels, this brief post has been drawn up to highlight the key points, and offer an updated version of the earlier database on Forced TV Confessions. New revelations range from which international channels are used, or not used, to broadcast, either directly or repackaged, such FCs internationally, to the companies that airs them abroad – from the United Kingdom to Canada to Sweden and beyond. More data has also come forth about Dong Qian, the former CCTV journalists, expanded role in working with police to make these confessions.

 

Mass broadcasts of Forced TV Confessions by CCTV/CGTN internationally

At the time of writing, since Xi Jinping came to power, Chinese media, almost always CCTV, have aired 48 TV confessions on primarily national TV. The hidden number of confessions aired but not identified, and confessions aired by regional or provincial TV stations, is likely large. Those 48 confessions videos have targeted at least 106 victims, many of them journalists, lawyers, other rights defenders or those with a strong social media presence. Now, new research has uncovered at least 29 of those videos aired internationally, often in stark violation and in clear breach of target countries’ TV broadcast regulations.

CCTV4, part of CCTV, not the international arm CGTN, airs around the world in Chinese, targeting the Chinese diaspora worldwide, with at least 121 countries receiving its broadcasts. CCTV4, for its broadcasts, hold its own CCTV license in those jurisdictions where a license is required, separate from any CGTN license. It has aired at least 27 TV confessions, and airs such confessions with foreigners in those foreigners’ home countries, from Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the United States.

CGTN – China Global Television Network, has, in additional to CCTV4’s broadcasts, has also broadcast, in reworked segments in English language, eight (8) or more of these confessions. Other CGTN, like CGTN Francais – China’s French-language global channel, has also broadcast several such confessions. No research has been made into CGTN’s Arabic or Russian language broadcasts yet.

For more details, download and view the newly updated database (bilingual) here: Forced TV Confessions Database EN, CN 2018-12-18

 

Dong Qian: exposed as a key journalist in the attack on 709 lawyers

At the height of use of FCs, often tied to political campaign or crackdowns, against the 709 lawyers, Dong Qian, a high profile journalist with CCTV, emerged as a central figure. Over a period of a year CCTV ran FCs with some 20 different victims, some of whom were paraded on TV multiple times, and Dong Qian has now been named by four of those victims, as well as by Wu Gan, another 709 activist police and CCTV together tried to force to make such a TV recording but refused. As Dr. Liu Sixin exposes in his testimony in the new book on CCTV’s role in these Forced Televised Confessions, Dong Qian is seen not merely being one of several journalists brought in to extract, record, and produce such FCs, but taking an active coordinating role. Several other 709 activists who have been willing to provide background information have not felt secure enough to expose certain details, such as the specific journalists involved, and yet others have been too fearful to speak at all. Nonetheless, Dong Qian’s role in a slew of these, and her key role, often among several other journalists, have been exposed. Dong Qian left CCTV on murky grounds, and for now only rumors exist on how she exited CCTV.

More details on the true scope of CCTV’s collaboration with the Police, and on how Chinese state/party media is now expanding its broadcast and production centers around the world, and how it relates to Xi Jinping’s going out policy, is available in Safeguard Defenders new book, edited by Peter Dahlin, Trial By Media – China’s New Show Trials and the global expansion of Chinese state media.

 

 

Foreigners targeted through Forced Televised Confessions

Much has been made of the potential forced TV confessions from current Canadian detainees Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. However, CCTV has not only aired such TV confessions of Canadians before, but aired those confessions in Canada (Chen Zhiheng, Chen Zhiyu). Likewise, confessions by two Swedes, Safeguard Defenders’ Peter Dahlin and Hong Kong-based book publisher Gui Minhai have likewise been aired in Sweden. The list concerning other foreign victims, and broadcasts of their confessions in their home countries, goes on.

So far nine (9) such Forced TV Confessions with foreign victims have been broadcast internationally by CCTV4 – in Chinese, while China Global Television Network (CGTN) have also produced and aired tailored English-language broadcasts, so far eight (8) such Forced TV Confessions have been identified as broadcast on CGTN (English) internationally. In addition, a cursory look shows that some of those have also been aired in French language productions on CGTN Francais. More research could well find more broadcasts on CGTN’s Spanish, Arabic, and Russian channels.

Should Michael Kovrig or Michael Spavor appear on CCTV in a Forced TV Confession, chances are those confessions will likely be broadcast in Canada and around the world too.

 

 

Storm brewing over CCTV/CGTN broadcasts in several countries

CCTV4 and CGTN are made available in a great many countries, and is accessible in a variety of forms, from terrestrial broadcasts to Satellite and Cable. The United Kingdom holds one of the strongest TV broadcasting regulatory bodies (Ofcom), and is currently assessing a complaint against CCTV and CGTN made by UK victim Peter Humphrey is collaboration with Safeguard Defenders. The complaint was filed in tandem with a much-covered press conference held in London by Peter Humphrey and Peter Dahlin on November 23 this year.

Both precedent and the official Broadcasting code makes it clear CCTV/CGTN stands a very real risk of losing their license to broadcast there for these systematic and serious breaches of the Broadcasting code. Several additional complaints have been completed and stand ready to be filed.

In Sweden, due to CCTV4s broadcast of those Swedish citizen’s Forced TV Confessions, and due to the work by Swedish journalist Kurdo Baksi, there is a growing discussion of how the media company Telia offers both CCTV4 and CGTN in Sweden, referred to as ‘blood money’ by Sweden’s Peter Dahlin in an open letter in Sweden’s largest newspaper most recently.

In Canada, CCTV4 is being made available through cable transmissions, including by Shaw Communications and Rogers Cable, the latter one of Canada’s largest such provider, and which also offers GCTN. CGTN Francais is likewise available through Bell Fibe TV. In the United States terrestrial, Cable and several Satellite providers offer CCTV4 and CGTN, from DirecTV to Dish Network to Comcast, despite repeat broadcast of Forced TV Confessions of American citizens.