China | We remember the victims of enforced disappearances


Join ISHR and our partners this Friday, 30 August 2019, to commemorate the International Day against Enforced Disappearance and make visible those who have been disappeared by Chinese authorities.


Beginning in 2011, the international community has set aside 30 August as a day to commemorate the victims and to raise awareness of enforced disappearances. Between 29 and 31 August, join ISHR and our partners Safeguard Defenders, the World Uyghur Congress, the Tibet Network and the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG) to remember those gone, and those who are left behind. Raise your voice to call on China to #StopDisappearances.


Check out these 5 videos, where relatives of the disappeared tell the stories of their loved ones and the impact of disappearances on themselves and their families.


Through outreach, social media  and  direct advocacy, we want to make sure that none of the efforts of the Chinese government to target, intimidate and retaliate with enforced disappearance will go unchecked, and that journalists, academics, politicians and international organisations have both the means and the moral imperative to speak out. 

Grave concern has been consistently expressed by UN experts, diplomats, and civil society about the use of extralegal detention in unrecognised and unofficial detention facilities in China and how it may amount to enforced disappearance under international law.

To silence those with views different from those of the Party, and to discourage those who defend human rights, Chinese authorities have developed a cruel and coherent system of 'legalised' disappearance. This framework ranges from re-education camps in Xinjiang; incommunicado detention under ‘Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location’ (RSDL); the newly launched National Supervision Commission and its liuzhi system; to the elimination of due process guarantees against prolonged pre-trial detention, lack of access to counsel, and forced confessions; to the so-called ‘non-release release’, where those who have served a prison sentence - often unjustly or arbitrarily - are released into informal custody, house arrest, or worse.

Today, we call on the Chinese government to stop all forms of enforced disappearance. We urge all States to ensure that victims of enforced disappearance by the Chinese state, whether within the People’s Republic of China or elsewhere, are protected; can seek remedy; and can exercise their right to know the truth about the status of their loved ones.


At the 42 session of the UN Human Rights Council, ISHR delivered an oral statement expressing solidarity with all victims - be they the disappeared, or their families -, and calling on the Chinese government to end all forms of enforced disappearance. The statement is available in English, Chinese, French, and Spanish.


Want to know more about enforced disappearances and the campaign?

  • Read our joint statement in English or in Chinese.
  • Download our explainer, a short publication that explains how to approach the UN system in cases of enforced disappearances in English or in Chinese.
  • Join the campaign by downloading our visuals and reposting them on social media. 


For more information, please contact Sarah M Brooks (at or Twitter @sarahmcneer); or Raphael Viana David (at r.vianadavid@ishr.chT or on Twitter at @vdraphael).

Image credits: ISHR


  • Asia
  • Human rights defenders
  • NGOs
  • United Nations
  • Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Human Rights Council
  • China