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China: Women Prisoner Numbers Rise 10 Times Faster than Men

Between 2003 and 2014, the number of women incarcerated in Chinese prisons soared 46%, 10 times faster than growth for the population of incarcerated men. By comparison, the number of women in US prisons grew 15% over the period, about one & a half times faster than the growth rate for men. Gender-based violence, poverty, and political activism are possible causes. The results appear to be overcrowded prisons and a greater need for the Bangkok Rules.

PHOTO Women exercise in the yard at Henan Women’s Prison. Image credit: sina.com

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Dui Hua Digest

In this issue of Digest, we discuss Executive Director John Kamm’s recent trip to Hong Kong and Beijing, where he discussed legislation on political reform and foreign NGOs. Prisoner updates include sentence reductions for a June Fourth prisoner and land rights activist. Looking back to 1991, we review Kamm’s first prisoner list and his engagement in Guangdong Province.

PHOTO Executive Director John Kamm meets with PRC Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Baodong on May 29, 2015.

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Despite Legal Reform, SPC Still Blocks Lawyer-Client Access

Improving criminal defense lawyers’ access to clients was hailed as one of the highlights of the revised Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) that came into force in 2013. That law requires detention centers to arrange for access within 48 hours of request by a lawyer. But what recourse is there when these provisions are not strictly enforced? Institutional reform doesn’t appear to be on the horizon and intervention by the courts hasn’t been effective since 1999.

PHOTO Defense lawyer Zhang Kai requesting to meet with his client, October 2014. Credit: Weibo

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Annual Report 2014

In our 15th year, Dui Hua cemented its status as the only organization in the world, other than the United Nations, that receives information from the Chinese government on prisoners of conscience. In 2014, we asked about 64 prisoners and received responses regarding 38 people and 13 acts of clemency. We also engaged China by holding an international symposium on women in prison and a seminar on the sealing of juvenile records.

Read the 2014 Annual Report

Quest for Retrial: Court Holds Novel Hearing on Nie Shubin Case

Executed in 1995 for crimes that another man confessed to 10 years later, Nie Shubin has been synonymous with the problem of wrongful conviction in China for a decade. Nie’s family has been trying for years to get his conviction overturned, and a novel hearing procedure conducted by a provincial court last month may be the key to reopening the case. With so much public attention, it seems almost inevitable that the court will agree to a retrial. But, what then?

PHOTO Evidence is presented to a 15-person panel during the hearing. Credit: Shandong People’s High Court

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Featured Video: China’s Human Rights Diplomacy

Developments in China’s human rights diplomacy since June 4, 1989.

What We Do

Dui Hua is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that brings clemency and better treatment to at-risk detainees through promotion of universally recognized human rights in well-informed, mutually respectful dialogue with China.

We focus on four areas, with an aim to help at-risk detainees—political and religious prisoners, juvenile justice, women in prison, and selected issues in criminal justice. And we take a five-pronged approach, premised upon our belief that positive change is realized through constructive dialogue—advocacy, expert exchange, research, publications, and community engagement.

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