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National security continued to be used as a pretext to prevent the exercise of rights including freedoms of expression, association and assembly. Both on- and offline discussion of many topics was subject to strict censorship. Human rights defenders were among those subjected to arbitrary detention and unfair trials. The human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region remained grave and there was no accountability for grave human rights violations committed against Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the region. UN experts raised new concerns that government policies and programmes were contributing to the destruction of the language and culture of ethnic groups, including Tibetans. Women’s rights activists were subjected to harassment, intimidation, arbitrary detention and unfair trials. Civic space in Hong Kong became ever more curtailed as the authorities maintained wide-ranging bans on peaceful protests and imprisoned pro-democracy activists, journalists, human rights defenders and others on national security-related charges. They also sought the arrest of opposition activists who had fled overseas. The Hong Kong courts ruled in favour of some LGBTI people’s rights in several landmark cases.

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