By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, December 16: Following a White Paper issued yesterday by China hailing its ‘remarkable progress’ in the ‘law-based protection of human rights’ over five years, the New York-based rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) called it ‘hollow’ and a ‘self-congratulatory report’.
Sophie Richardson, China Director of HRW said, “A routinely self-congratulatory report has been issued while the authorities simultaneously are silencing critical views and ignoring inconvenient facts, such as the appalling ongoing arbitrary detention of Liu Xia, the detention of anti-corruption campaigners and torture claims against the police.”
“Until they’ve got credible explanations for – and commitments to ending – serious human rights violations, these documents ring hollow,” Richardson said in response to the White Paper issued by China's State Council Information Office.
Contrary to the international pressure from the US and European Union over the deteriorating human rights situation in China, Beijing in the White Paper claims that the human rights situation in the past has improved. However, reports of HRW, ‘Chinese Human Rights Defenders and Freedom House’ show that the human rights situation has declined under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s rule.
While ignoring the freedom of speech and right to religion, China has included anti-corruption drive using ‘Sky Net’, Internet security, counter-espionage and use of law to protect public security and health as success.
The official news agency of Chinese Communist Party Xinhua said, “Never before have Chinese people enjoyed such full economic, social and cultural, and civil and political rights as today. The cause of human rights in China is making consistent progress in the right direction.”
However, expert on China studies Steve Tsang, Director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of London told South China Morning Post that it is a ‘Leninist approach to human rights’ and different from how human rights are treated and respected in democratic countries.
“Human rights with Chinese characteristics implies Chinese people should be treated as a special kind,” Tsang said, “If Chinese people are considered exactly the same as people of other ethnicities, their rights as individuals must be treated on exactly the same basis regardless of nationality, color, gender, sexual or any kind of inclination.”