RSDL is the acronym for China’s “Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location,” itself a euphemism used for its system of Enforced Disappearances. In RSDL, people can disappear off the streets for up to six months and be placed in solitary confinement in custom-built prisons operating outside the judicial system. In RSDL, family members are not notified of the person’s whereabouts, they have no access to a lawyer, and even the state prosecutor is barred from providing oversight and control. Once inside, there is no mechanism for appeal or challenging your abduction. You simply disappear.
Since enacted into law in 2013, thousands of people, many of them lawyers, journalists, NGO workers and other human rights defenders, have been subjected to this system, which itself has been steadily expanding in scope. Applied systematically, or in widespread form, Enforced Disappearances, are by definition under international law, a “crime against humanity”.
The RSDLmonitor platform shares the latest news, research and opinions on China’s new and expanding system of state-sanctioned kidnappings. It also releases content on related forms of human rights abuses, such the new National Supervision Commission system, the use of torture inside RSDL and on forced televised confessions, etc.
So little is understood about RSDL, its alarming implications for the rule of law in China, and the potential for this transgression of international law to become normalized overseas. Given this urgent need for better information, RSDLmonitor was founded to collect – and also generate – the best intelligence on this grave human rights violation.
RSDLmonitor was launched in November 2017 with the publication of The People’s Republic of the Disappeared, available in English a paperback book and kindle ebook, and in Chinese, available for free download on this site.
RSDLmonitor, run by a group of dedicated volunteers, collects news stories on RSDL, gathers analysis and commentary from lawyers and rights defenders in China and beyond, and tracks down victims for their stories.
Do you want to contribute or do you have information about RSDL? Are you a victim who would like to share your own story, in name or anonymously?