The News Lens
By: Dinah Gardner
On the International Day of the Disappeared, China is seen as the worst perpetrator of state-sanctioned enforced disappearances this year.
August 30 is the Day of the Disappeared. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was the name of a horror film. Indeed, what it commemorates is horrific.
The International Day of the Disappeared, on every August 30, was created to draw the world’s attention to the victims of state-sanctioned enforced disappearances. Every day countless numbers of people are snatched up into secret imprisonment, and their families are left to wonder where they are and whether they’ll ever see each other again.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) loves to argue it is the biggest and best at everything. Here’s another statistic it can boast of: it is now a world leader in enforced disappearances. Since 2012, when Xi Jinping (習近平) took the helm of the CCP, the party has launched several new mechanisms for vanishing people. The victim base has expanded from rights lawyers, journalists and dissidents to foreigners kidnapped for hostage diplomacy, celebrities, and businesspeople.
Taiwanese are at risk of being disappeared, too. Although official figures are hard to come by, some estimated between 1 and 3 million Taiwanese nationals residing in China. Considering China’s pattern of bullying the island nation, Taiwanese citizens are particularly vulnerable targets.
On the Day of the Disappeared this year, a large group of international human rights NGOs including Safeguard Defenders are speaking out against China, the worst perpetrator of state-conducted disappearances in the world. Here are the three main systems for enforced disappearances in China:
The CCP has placed over 1 million Uyghurs into "re-education camps" in Xinjiang.
CCP authorities terrorize human rights defenders and lawyers by swallowing them up into a system of secret detention called “Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL)."
In 2018, the CCP launched its fearsome anti-corruption watchdog, the National Security Commission (NSC). The Commission, which operates outside the country’s judicial system, has the power to disappear both party members (that’s over 90 million people), anyone working for the Chinese state (many millions more, theoretically including nurses, kindergarten teachers, etc) and anyone from anywhere who is connected to an NSC investigation. The detention system called Liuzhi (留置) works like RSDL — it spirits detainees off to a secret location for intense interrogation in isolated cells for up to six months.
All victims who are trapped in China’s ever-growing ecosystem of enforced disappearances are extremely vulnerable to physical and mental torture. A few of them won’t make it out alive. [FULL STORY]