Research: Execution Estimate Gets Global Attention

In December, Dui Hua announced that an estimated 4,000 executions took place in China in 2011, marking a 50 percent drop since 2007. Executive Director John Kamm said that “China has made dramatic progress in reducing the number of executions, but the number is still far too high and declining far too slowly.”

Dui Hua’s press statement about the estimate resulted in at least 28 media reports including those by The EconomistThe Washington Post, and South China Morning Post. Agence France-Presse referred to the statistic as “rare data.” Dui Hua’s estimate was calculated as a result of information released at a first-of-its-kind death-penalty seminar jointly organized by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in December 2011.

Engagement: Kamm Travels, Testifies to House of Representatives

Executive Director John Kamm testifies to the U.S. House of
Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs about political
prisoners and revisions to the Criminal Procedure Law.
Photo credit: House Committee on Foreign Affairs


In November, Kamm went to the East Coast and Europe, stopping in Washington DC, New York, Oslo, and Geneva. In Washington, he testified to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs about the treatment of state security detainees, who are often detained for exercising their rights of freedom of speech and association, and proposed revisions to the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL), which threaten to legalize “enforced disappearance.” (At a subsequent meeting held in January 2012, Dr. Sun Jin, the Chinese Embassy’s newly appointed Counselor in charge of bilateral human rights and rule of law exchanges, maintained that those subjected to detention in an undisclosed location without family notification remain under the protection of the law.) In New York, Kamm spoke at the New York University School of Law and Columbia Business School and participated in a roundtable series at the Council on Foreign Relations titled: “At Risk: Treatment of Political Prisoners, Juvenile Offenders and Women Prisoners in China’s Justice System.”

In Europe, Kamm spoke at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and gave a presentation to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, citing state security and mass incidents data to illustrate China’s growing crackdown on dissent.

In early 2012, Kamm traveled to New York; Washington DC; and Lexington, Kentucky. In New York, Kamm met with Chinese Ambassador Li Baodong and spoke at the National Committee for US-China Relations on recent developments in human rights in China. In Washington, Kamm met with senior staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Jeff Bader of the Brookings Institution; Dan Baer, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; and Kin Moy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific. In Lexington, Kamm spoke at the University of Kentucky about the direction of US-China relations as part of the school’s “Year of China” program. He was interviewed by students contributing to the China Beat blog and recorded a podcast with Denise Ho, assistant professor of history and historian of modern China.

In March, Kamm will set out on another month-long trip through Europe and China. Accompanied by Development & Program Manager Daisy Yau, he will visit Bredtveit Women’s Prison in Oslo, Norway’s model prison for women; attend meetings at the 19th Human Rights Council, including a side event on the implementation of the Bangkok Rules titled: “Female Offenders: What Difference Can the Bangkok Rules Make?; and discuss upcoming initiatives on juvenile justice with Professor Jean Zermatten, chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Outreach: Focus on New Opportunities

Visitors listen to Kamm speak at Dui Hua’s open
house in December 2011.

While in Washington in November, Kamm was the guest at the 2nd Annual Friends of Dui Hua DC Reception hosted by Dui Hua Director Linda Ziglar. Nearly 40 close friends and supporters attended to hear about Dui Hua’s expanded mission to meet the needs of more at-risk detainees. Kamm emphasized that Dui Hua will continue to pursue well-informed, mutually respectful dialogue with China despite the difficult political environment. On the West Coast, Dui Hua opened the doors of its San Francisco headquarters for the Friends of Dui Hua San Francisco Reception to talk about the challenges of working on human rights in 2012 and the opportunities for cooperation on issues like juvenile justice. Present at the event was Judge Julie Tang of the San Francisco Superior Court, who participated in Dui Hua’s Juvenile Justice Exchanges in 2008 and 2010.