On July 8, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to meet its “international human rights obligations” during the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the July 9 National Offensive in Beijing.

“On July 9, five years ago the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a nationwide offensive targeting hundreds of defense lawyers and human rights defenders for detention, interrogation, and politically motivated criminal charges,” Pompeo said in a press release Wednesday.

“The ‘709’ crackdown, named for the date it began on July 9, 2015, was designed to intimidate a generation of lawyers and activists from representing or assisting anyone the CCP perceives as a threat to its absolute power. It showed the world what it means to govern via “rule by law,” rather than a system based on the rule of law,” Pompeo said in the statement.

Pompeo stressed that despite the fact that five years had passed since the July 9 National Offensive, and the CCP’s thirst for absolute control has not diminished, pointing out that on the contrary it remains just as strong and this could be evidenced in the secret trial against lawyer Yu Wensheng who defended the victims of repression in 2015.

According to Pompeo, the situation of many other lawyers in China is not much different, arguing that some are kept under house arrest while others are disbarred.

“After detaining human rights lawyers like Wang Quanzhang for years and denying them visits from their families and chosen attorneys, the PRC [CCP] detained those lawyers’ own defense attorneys—such as Yu and Li Yuhan—without due process.”

“PRC authorities continue to keep some human rights lawyers under house arrest (Jiang Tianyong) and have disbarred others (Wang Yu, Tang Jitian, Li Jinxing, and Wen Donghai) even after their release from prison,” Pompeo said in the report.

He also mentioned those activists “who have worked with human rights lawyers to protect Chinese citizens’ rights and defend against the abuses of government officials.”

The statement concluded by calling on the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated leaders to ensure that basic civil liberties are protected.

Meanwhile, Pompeo announced on Tuesday that the United States would restrict the issuance of visas to CCP officials who are committed to obstructing travel to Tibet by U.S. journalists, diplomats, and tourists in connection with human rights abuses.

On Thursday, he announced that three high-ranking Chinese officials, including a member of the ruling Politburo, had been implicated in human rights abuses against ethnic and religious minorities in the western part of the country.

“The United States will not stand idly by as the Chinese Communist Party carries out human rights abuses targeting Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang, to include forced labor, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith,” Pompeo said in a statement.

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