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People's Republic of China: State secrets - a pretext for repression

, Index number: ASA 17/042/1996

Since 1989 dozens of people, including prisoners of conscience, have been detained on charges related to "state secrets". At least 14 people, whose cases are of concern, are currently imprisoned on such charges. Others have been released but are still on bail awaiting trial on appeal. The nature of some of these cases raises concerns that the legislation on state secrets is being used to repress fundamental freedoms, in particular freedom of expression. This document presents a background to the legislation and its politically motivated use to arbitrarily detain people, restricting political debate, repressing the activities of human rights defenders and clamping down on the press. The document also describes current cases of people detained under the legislation.

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