U.S. Concerned over Detention of Chinese Human Rights Activists

By Todd Bullock
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - The United States is concerned deeply by reports of China's alleged detention of human rights activists participating in hunger strikes over the recent beating of a Chinese human rights lawyer, says State Department spokesman Scott McCormack.

"Individuals should not be detained for the peaceful expression of political views," McCormack said during a February 27 press briefing.

According to media reports, Chinese authorities detained several human rights protesters, including Beijing AIDS activist Hu Jia, over hunger strikes in support of a protest launched on February 6 by Beijing-based lawyer Gao Zhisheng in response to the beating of a human-rights activist outside a police station in Guangzhou.

The United States raised these detentions with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier in February and continues to monitor the situation, he said.

Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Barry Lowenkron also raised this issue during recent discussions with Chinese officials on human rights, according to McCormack.

"The mistreatment of lawyers seeking to represent their clients undermines China’s efforts to promote the rule of law," McCormack said.

For additional information, see The United States and China and Human Rights.