“Increased Disregard of Law”

There’s a new CECC report out on human rights in China. This shouldn’t be a surprise, but they come down on the situation pretty harshly:

Human rights in the world’s most populous nation have worsened in 2011 amid a “troubling trend” in which officials themselves brush off the law when it suits them to silence dissent, a U.S. congressionally-mandated panel on China said in an annual report released Wednesday.

China’s human rights and rule of law record “has not improved“ and “appears to be worsening in some areas,” said the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC), which monitors human rights and the development of rule of law in the country.

The Chinese government commonly cited the “law” as a basis for cracking down on peaceful protests, religious freedom, autonomy of ethnic groups, independently organized workers, and to clamp down on civil society organizations, it said.

The report said the Chinese government “threaten[ed] the viability of the language and culture of Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongols, and other groups … [through the] imposition of Mandarin Chinese language in schools at the expense of other languages, the compulsory resettlement of large numbers of nomads, tight curbs over religious practice, and economic development projects that threatened livelihoods and sacred sites.”

The CECC said Chinese officials maintained “heavy” censorship of the Internet, media, and publishing, in addition to limiting the coverage of public disasters and emergencies.

The report also noted some “hopeful” developments in China, most notably at the grassroots level, including an increased willingness on the part of citizens to publicly call for justice.

It pointed to the use of the Internet by netizens and journalists in outmaneuvering censors to raise questions about the handling of a high-speed rail crash and an incident in which church members defied an official ban on holding outdoor worship services in the capital.

But the CECC said that China also set “negative precedents for other countries and [in] reshaping international human rights standards to allow for China’s abuses.”

I don’t know what other conclusion you realistically could come to these days. Some people try to balance it out by saying it’s all just heightened security before the leadership change, but I’d be really surprised if there’s any plan to ever walk back some of these policy changes.

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Filed under 2012 power transfer, Communist Party, human rights

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