Tue, Jan 25, 2011 - Page 1 News List

HRW accuses West of total cowardice

AFP, BEIJING

Human Rights Watch yesterday accused Western governments of a “near universal cowardice” in dealing with China, saying that they preferred opaque talks to taking a vocal stand against enduring repression.

In its World Report 2011, the US group said while the US, the EU, Australia and others had dedicated forums to discuss human rights concerns, those meetings were proving far from fruitful.

“Although more than a dozen countries continue to pursue human rights dialogues with the Chinese government, few of these opaque discussions produced meaningful outcomes in 2010,” HRW said. “While most of these governments offered strong support for the Nobel Committee’s choice of Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) as winner of the peace prize, many failed to seize other opportunities, such as conducting high-profile visits to China or meeting senior Chinese officials, to raise human rights concerns.”

It cited the “near-universal cowardice in confronting China’s deepening crackdown on basic liberties” as one of many examples of how governments “effectively close their eyes to repression.”

Human Rights Watch gave a litany of lingering concerns about China, from the imprisonment of journalists and bloggers to “pervasive” repression of ethnic Uighurs in the Xinjiang region.

It called the choice of Liu as last year’s Nobel peace laureate a “defining moment for China’s human rights movement” — one also that “focused global attention on the extent of human rights violations in China.”

Liu, a 55-year-old writer, was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009 on subversion charges after coauthoring “Charter 08,” a petition calling for political reform in China.

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