China's human rights record has not kept pace with its economic rise and recent fine-tuning of laws and systems is designed to enhance control over the population, a report released yesterday said.
The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy's (TFD) 2006 China Human Rights Report details the human rights situation in China in the 12 months to June 30. The report includes observations on social, political, legal, economic, environmental, educational and cultural aspects. The foundation has released the report annually since 2003.
Regarding social aspects, Tung Li-wen (董立文), deputy executive director of the TFD, said that although Chinese leaders claim that the government has paid much attention to improving labor rights, last year saw a record in the number of crackdowns on labor protests.
"Over the past year, the Chinese government has intensified its suppression of labor protests calling for wage increases. Currently 26 labor activists are in prison without proper charges," Tung said. "We urge the Chinese government to release them immediately."
Tung also said that the safety and hygiene conditions that Chinese workers face are declining. Information released by China's Department of Health shows that the number of companies producing poisoned material stands at 16,000,000 and the condition is "critical." About 5,986 miners died in mine accidents last year, which accounted for 80 percent of all mine casualties in the world.
"China has to allow [its] workers to organize unions that are independent from the government, otherwise it is impossible to talk about the protection of human rights," Tung said.
Tung also urged China not to sacrifice human rights for the sake of hosting the 2008 Olympics, pointing out that more than 1 million people had been forced to move their homes for the government to construct stadiums and facilities.
Regarding political aspects of China's human rights problems, Chen Chun-ju (
"China has reinforced its clampdown on human rights activists, strengthened its censorship of the press and has implemented stricter surveillance on Internet users and cell phone users over the past year," Chen said. "The conflicts between officials and ordinary people have become more bloody and frequent."
Yen Jiann-fa (
Fort Liao (