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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

China responds to human rights report

February 9, 2009

AAP Staff Report, February 6, 2009
(Asian American Press)

A spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. answers
question on Jan. 28, regarding the China related portions of the annual
“Human Rights Watch World Report 2009” last month.

The unnamed spokesperson was asked about the Human Rights Watch report
2009", in which it criticizes the human rights situation in more than 90
other countries including China and the United States.

The spokesperson replied that the report comments on China's human
rights and freedom of religious belief “fail to reflect the reality in

“It is recognized throughout world that China has made enormous progress
since the beginning of reform and opening up 30 years ago, and the
Chinese people enjoy much higher level of civil, political, economic,
social and cultural rights,” said the spokesperson. “Meanwhile, China
remains a developing country confronted with many difficulties and

The report focuses on several areas of rights issues in China. There are
subject headings on treatment of human rights defenders, women’s rights,
labor rights and party controlled unions, workplace safety, and lack of
medical and accident insurance. The report also addresses freedom of
religion, oppression Tibet and in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

“In the spirit of putting the people's interest first, the various
levels of government in China are working hard to build a harmonious
society and raise the level of human rights protection further,” the
spokesperson added.

“The Chinese side urges the Human Rights Watch to stop the accusations
on China's human rights and religious freedom, and adopt an objective
perspective when looking at China's progress in human rights and various

The report also mentions Hong Kong, for the December 2007 decision by
China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee concerning Hong
Kong authorities claim of its timetable to move toward election by
universal suffrage of the chief executive in 2017 and of all members of
the Legislative Council in 2020.

The report also addresses immigration authority and the refusal to allow
several visitors critical of China’s human rights record into Hong Kong
ahead of the Olympics raised concerns that the territory’s autonomy was
being eroded.

China was also criticized for not doing enough to assist the fate of
HIV/AIDS victims in extreme poverty stricken areas, most of which was
introduced to families after a blood selling pool infection epidemic
began years ago.

The United States was criticized in the report for legal issues
surrounding the death penalty, juvenile life sentences without parole,
having the largest incarceration rate in the world, corporal punishment
in pubic schools, women’s rights, low sexual violence arrest and
prosecution rates, rights of non-citizens, Guantanamo Bay, indefinite
detention and military commissions, torture policy, and denial of
refugee protection.

The U.S. was given good marks for domestic prosecution of torture abroad.
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