Thu, Aug 05, 2010 - Page 5 News List

Experts urge US to press China harder on rights

REUTERS , WASHINGTON

China’s crackdown on critics and ethnic minorities, amid reversals in the rule of law since 2008, warrants redoubled US efforts to press Beijing on human rights, experts told a congressional panel on Tuesday.

In testimony to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, human rights and legal experts said Washington had played down human rights as it sought Beijing’s help with the global financial crisis and diplomatic crises with North Korea and Iran.

The vague and catch-all charge of “endangering state security” has been applied to a series of cases involving writers and lawyers as well as ethnic minorities from Tibet and Xinjiang, regions roiled by violent protests in 2008 and last year.

“Roughly since the beginning of 2008, there has been a palpable sense that earlier progress towards rule of law in China has stalled, or even suffered a reversal,” researcher Joshua Rosenzweig of the Dui Hua Foundation said.

“There is mounting evidence that a crackdown is under way, one particularly targeting members of ethnic minorities, government critics and rights defenders,” he told the panel.

The Dui Hua Foundation, which works to win medical parole or early release for political prisoners, has compiled a list of 5,800 people imprisoned in China for nonviolent expression of religious and political beliefs, Rosenzweig said.

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