In China, influential, powerful, rich 'disappear' for criticising ruling Communist Party

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Beijing [China], October 6 (ANI): In China, thousands of people have "disappeared" as authorities "snatched" them from their homes and off the streets, as part of a secretive and sinister program against those who fall foul of the regime, according to a media report.

For the communist regime, it doesn't matter how rich and powerful a person is, nor how anonymous and low-profile they are, Australian website News.com.au reported. Anyone who dares criticise the Communist Party or not espouse its values can be targeted, it said.

Safeguard Defenders, the human rights group said that on average at least 20 people a day have been 'disappeared' by authorities across China for offending or upsetting the system and its gatekeepers.

There have been many high-profile cases such as billionaire tech guru Jack Ma, founder of the mammoth Alibaba Group - China's version of eBay, Amazon and PayPal, rolled into one - who had spoken at the Bund Summit in Shanghai in October 2020 and expressed frustration with the country's banking regulation.

Jack Ma was later summoned and suddenly his financial benefits were adversely affected through fines and other measures, according to News.com.au.

In China, being wealthy and influential can be a cause for scrutiny by the government, as officials are worried that the "celebrity could be a kind of creeping Western ideology."

Billionaire actress and singer Zhao Wei was also suddenly erased from Chinese social media and streaming platforms, for no apparent crime at all - just for being popular, said News.com.au.

Victims have no contact with loved ones and no access to lawyers during their detention.

"There is virtually no oversight, torture is common," Safeguard Defenders said. "This is mass state-sanctioned kidnapping (that constitutes the) widespread and systematic use of enforced disappearances."

Fang Bin, a businessman in the city of Wuhan, posted videos to social media showing a local hospital overflowing with Covid-19 patients and victims in the early weeks of the pandemic.

He was detained and hasn't been seen since.

Often, the disappeared who return must then face court for dubious 'crimes' and are swiftly found guilty and sentenced to yet more punishment.

Apart from these, there are an estimated 1.5 million Uighurs imprisoned throughout a vast network of camps across China. The persecution of the Muslim minority has been the subject of international condemnation for years, as well as various independent inquiries that liken it to genocide, according to News.com.au. (ANI)

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