Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications [June 12, 2009]   [open pdf - 392KB]

"Human rights has been a principal area of U.S. concern in its relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC), particularly since the violent government crackdown on the Tiananmen democracy movement in 1989. Some policy makers contend that the U.S. policy of engagement with China has failed to produce meaningful political reform. Others argue that U.S. engagement has helped to accelerate economic and social change and build social and legal foundations for democracy and human rights in the PRC. This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights -- major human rights issues, PRC human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents. [...] The U.S. government's efforts to promote human rights and democracy in China have included open or formal criticisms of PRC human rights conditions, bilateral dialogue, sanctions, and congressionally sponsored legislation, hearings, and investigations. Members of the 111th Congress have called upon the PRC leadership to release political prisoners, cease persecution of Falun Gong and 'house churches,' and respect the rights of ethnic minorities; introduced various resolutions supporting human rights in China; and passed legislation upholding Tibetan rights, commemorating the 1989 democracy movement, and supporting human rights activists. The U.S. government also provides funding for rule of law, civil society development, participatory government, labor rights, Tibetan culture, Internet access, and other programs in the PRC."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34729
Public Domain
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