Thu, Oct 13, 2005 - Page 1 News List

China going nowhere on human rights: US report

AFP , WASHINGTON

There has been "no improvement" in human rights in China over the past year as Beijing tightened controls on religion, speech, media and assembly, a US commission said in a report on Tuesday.

Although the Chinese government pursued certain judicial and criminal justice reforms, "these positive steps" were clouded by new detentions and state policies designed to protect President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) Communist Party and assert more control over society, the high-level panel said.

"These detentions and policies violated not only China's Constitution and laws, but also internationally recognized human rights standards," said the Executive Commission on China, mandated by the US Congress to monitor human rights in the country.

The commission found "no improvement overall in human rights conditions in China over the past year, and increased government restrictions on Chinese citizens who worship in state-controlled venues or write for state-controlled publications."

The panel is made up of nine US senators and a similar number of legislators from the House of Representatives as well as five administration officials appointed by President George W. Bush.

The commission's chairman, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, said that China's leaders would not achieve their long-term goal of social stability and continued economic development "without building a future that includes human rights for all Chinese citizens."

Among other recommendations, the report called on Bush and Congress to prod Beijing to hold direct dialogue with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and not to use the "global war on terror" as a pretext to suppress the rights of minority groups.

The report coincided with the Bush administration's expression of concern over last weekend's violence at a southern Chinese village marked by the beating of a pro-democracy activist and efforts to intimidate foreign journalists.

The US embassy in Beijing had asked the foreign ministry to investigate the incident in Taishi village in Guangdong Province, Deputy State Department Spokesman Adam Ereli said.

Chinese Legislator Lu Banglie (呂邦列) was beaten on Saturday when he accompanied a journalist from the Guardian to Taishi to talk with villagers embroiled in a legal battle to remove a village chief accused of corruption.

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