Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Beijing Police Raid Rights Group Office

BEIJING, Aug. 29 - The Chinese police raided the office of an American-financed human rights group here on Monday shortly before the arrival of the United Nations human rights chief, as the authorities sought to keep a tight lid on dissent during the visit.
The police searched the offices and copied computer files at the Empowerment and Rights Institute, a leading legal and human rights advisory group, employees and visitors to the offices said. The group's director, Hou Wenzhuo, said as many as 10 plainclothes and uniformed police officers had come to her home as well, but had not arrested her.The raid came shortly before Louise Arbour, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, arrived in Beijing to discuss China's rights record with senior Communist Party officials.
Ms. Hou said she had hoped to meet with Ms. Arbour to present evidence she has collected about human rights abuses. Her group has documented what she described as systematic suppression of people who complain about problems like land confiscations and police torture.
She said she feared that the police could take further action to prevent her from meeting Ms. Arbour and to punish her and her associates for accumulating records of rights abuses..........................


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