Beijing: China is violating the basic principle of free trials. China is detaining people as young as 10 years old under the allegation of leaking “state secrets”.
It is worrisome that the term ‘state secret’ used by China is wide and very vague. Chinese law does provide any definition of the term as such.
In one of the incidents, a 10-year-old Cheng Lei, who is born in China and migrated to Australia was detained by Chinese authorities over allegedly revealing state secrets. The Australian Embassy August 2020 announced that they had been notified by Chinese authorities that Cheng Lei was suspected of illegally revealing state secrets outside of China and had been detained.
However, no details were given to the Embassy of the trial as it happened behind closed doors. Her lawyer and family have been forbidden to speak about the trial. Family visits are prohibited and Cheng Lei has limited contact through letters only.
Her elderly parents and children live in Australia and are very worried. The Australian Ambassador was prevented from attending the trial. In its defence, Chinese authorities said that the decision will be announced later but no details have been provided yet, reported The Hong Kong Post.
Graham Fletcher, Australian Ambassador while speaking to the media said, “This is deeply concerning, unsatisfactory and regrettable. We can have no confidence in the validity of a process which is conducted in secret. Our consular agreement says that we ought to be able to attend trials.”
The case of Cheng Lei is not the only one as China has a long-standing history of detention and of carrying out the trials behind closed doors. China’s criminal laws have been used to crack down on foreign human rights activists and media as well as citizen-journalists reporting on the Covid-19 pandemic and the human rights violations during the Hong Kong protests and of Uyghur Muslims, as per the media outlet.
Another defamed form of detention used by China is Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL). This form of detention is widely criticized for being archaic and a gross violation of human rights. There have been allegations of extreme physical and mental torture, including psychological torture suffered by detainees under RSDL.