Initiatives for China (IFC a.k.a Citizen Power for China) applauds the Trump Administration's first round of sanctions imposed on 52 individual human rights abusers and corrupt officials under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, a 2016 law that allows the President to deny U.S. visas and freeze U.S.-based assets of any individual human rights abusers and corrupt officials in the world.
IFC is particularly pleased that Gao Yan was included among those sanctioned. Gao Yan is a former director of the Beijing Public Security Bureau Chaoyang Branch and is directly responsible for the death of human rights activist Cao Shunli. In September 2013, Gao Yan commanded his police force to arrest Ms. Cao at the airport when she attempted to board a flight to Geneva to attend a human rights training course sponsored by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Gao detained Ms. Cao at Chaoyang district detention center under the fabricated charge of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble." Gao Yan mistreated her and denied her medical treatment for months while she suffered from tuberculosis, liver disease and uterine fibroid, despite the international community's repeated calls for her release. The mistreatment and neglect caused Ms. Cao to fall into a coma, and she died from organ failure in March 2014. Gao Yan rightly deserves the U.S. sanction for his gross human rights violations.
While Gao Yan's sanction is just the beginning of a running battle to combat massive human rights abuses in China, IFC believes his listing will warn other Chinese human rights abusers that they can no longer hide behind sovereign immunity and superior orders to commit gross human rights violations. Now violators will be held responsible for their actions.
IFC hopes that more high-ranking Chinese human rights abusers and corrupt officials such as Fu Zhenghua and Xiao Baolong will be targeted by the US sanction, because we strongly believe that holding these superiors accountable will deter many more abusers and change their behavior.
IFC views the Global Magnitsky sanction mechanism as a paradigm shift that will significantly strengthen and enhance the enforcement of international human rights laws, and provide a powerful tool for global human rights activists fighting against authoritarian regimes.
IFC will continue to work with the Administration by submitting more Chinese gross human rights violators and training more human rights activists to use this tool to ensure the robust implementation of the Global Magnitsky Act.