Text of report by German news agency ddp on 8 April
Berlin: The human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) has called on President Johannes Rau and the federal government to urge China's State President Jiang Zemin publicly to respect the rights of minorities in China.
Last year the number of serious human rights violations increased in the People's Republic of China, the expert on China of the German branch of AI, Dirk Pleiter, stated in Berlin today. Jiang Zemin is to arrive in Berlin this afternoon for a six-day visit to Germany.
Pleiter accused the federal government of pursuing a "policy of
pussyfooting". Instead of merely advocating a dialogue largely behind closed doors, Rau and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (Social Democratic Party of Germany) should now "openly and publicly" criticize the situation in China.
It must be made clear to the Chinese leadership that the fight against terror must not be an excuse or even a justification for human rights violations.
Persecution for religious reasons rose in particular last year, Pleiter stated. Approximately 200 supporters of the Falun Gong spiritual movement died from the consequences of torture. Following the 11 September attacks in the United States, the Chinese authorities also tightened the restrictions against the predominantly Muslim population in the autonomous Uigur region
of Xinjiang. A wave of executions of supposed "separatists" and "terrorists" took place there.
In addition, the number of death sentences that were handed down or carried out "rose dramatically" in the entire country in 2001, Pleiter stated. During the period between April and the end of June 2001 alone, 2,960 death sentences were handed down and at least 1,781 were carried out within the framework of a so-called "anti-crime campaign". These were more executions than in the past three years in all other countries, Pleiter stressed.
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