Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications [October 31, 2008]   [open pdf - 220KB]

"In the past two decades, human rights has been a principal area of U.S. concern regarding the People's Republic of China (PRC), along with security and bilateral trade. Some U.S. leaders argue that U.S. policies of engagement with China, particularly since granting the PRC normal trade relations status in 2000, have helped to accelerate economic and social change and build social and legal foundations for human rights progress in the PRC. Others contend that U.S. engagement has failed not only to produce meaningful political reform but also to set any real change in motion. This report analyzes China's mixed human rights record of the past several years - major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social activism. It also discusses factors that may help shape trends during the next several years. In the past decade, PRC government has attempted to respond to public grievances and popular calls for redress while subduing activists who attempt to organize mass protests. This approach has produced both incremental improvements in human rights and allowed for continued, serious abuses. Major, ongoing problems include unlawful killings by security forces, torture, unlawful detention, the excessive use of state security laws to imprison political dissidents, coercive family planning policies, state control of information, and religious and ethnic persecution. Tibetans, ethnic Uighur Muslims, and Falun Gong adherents have been singled out for especially harsh treatment. This report discusses major areas of concern but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses in the PRC."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34729
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