There’s a new way in China that police are disappearing human rights defenders and it’s totally outside the law.

They are taking away their names.

It was just before lunch on a Monday in February 2017, when Tibetan refugee Dorjee Gyantsan stepped off a ferry from Poland in Nynäshamn, Sweden. The then 49-year-old began the short walk from the port terminal to the nearby station to take the one-hour train to Stockholm. But Dorjee never made it to the train.


On Tuesday 3 November Safeguard Defenders filed an appeal with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to review a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with China's National Supervision Commission (NSC), following mounting criticism of the NSC and its liuzhi system of detention from several UN bodies.

So much has happened in the past few weeks that an update to our coverage of China, Unwelcoming Nation, is well overdue. This time it's the US, Taiwan and Australia that have been in the spotlight with everything from threats to teenaged girls to a revival of the televised forced confession.

Despite international condemnation for broadcasting forced confessions, China aired yet another one Sunday night.

Who are we if our real name is taken away from us?

Chinese police are doing just this – forcing human rights defenders to take on fake names in detention centres – as a way to keep them disappeared from society for longer. With a fake name, no one can find you.

This January, as we were finishing a ground-breaking report on Vietnam’s practice of forced TV confessions, four new confessions were aired. They were part of a long-running land dispute that ended with deadly clashes between police and villagers, known as the Dong Tam incident.

artist rendering of RSDL facility Safeguard Defenders' founder and director Peter Dahlin describes what disappeared Australian journalist Cheng Lei is likely facing in her RSDL prison in China and how the latest data shows that the system is expanding at a terrifying rate.

Image of Australian journalist Cheng Lei from her Facebook pageThe latest victim of China's hostage diplomacy, in a very long line of victims, is Australian citizen Cheng Lei. She has been working for China's Party-state TV station CGTN for eight years and is a high-profile anchor of their Global Business show.

Cover of Rampant Repression reportA shocking new report by Safeguard Defenders exposes the scale of the numbers of people being held in China's secret RSDL jail system.