US Department of State: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices States China's Human Rights Record Remains Poor

The U.S. Department of State released 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on March 6th, 2007.

The report stated, "Although the constitution asserts that 'the state respects and preserves human rights,' the government's human rights record remained poor, and in certain areas deteriorated. There were an increased number of high-profile cases involving the monitoring, harassment, detention, arrest, and imprisonment of journalists, writers, activists, and defense lawyers, many of whom were seeking to exercise their rights under law. The government tightened restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, including stricter control and censorship of the Internet. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), both local and international, continued to face increased scrutiny and restrictions. As in previous years, citizens did not have the right to change their government. Other serious human rights abuses included instances of extrajudicial killings; torture and coerced confessions of prisoners; and the use of forced labor, including prison labor. Legal reforms continued to stall, as the party and state exercised strict political control of courts and judges, and maintained closed trials and administrative detention. Executions often took place on the day of conviction or immediately after the denial of an appeal. A lack of due process and new restrictions on lawyers further limited progress toward rule of law. Individuals and groups, especially those considered politically sensitive, continued to face tight restrictions on their freedom to assemble; their freedom to practice religion, including strengthened enforcement of religious affairs regulations implemented in 2005; and their freedom to travel."

The report further stated, "The government continued to wage a severe campaign against the Falun Gong movement. Since the crackdown on Falun Gong began in 1999, estimates of the numbers of Falun Gong adherents who died in custody due to torture, abuse, and neglect ranged from several hundred to a few thousand. UN Special Rapporteur Nowak reported in March that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of victims of alleged torture while in government custody."

The report further stated, "The People's Republic of China (PRC) is an authoritarian state in which, as specified in its constitution, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the paramount source of power. Party members hold almost all top government, police, and military positions."

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