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CHINA: Public Frustration Over Denial of Basic Rights and Freedoms, Magnified by a Lack of Rule of LawSalem-News.com
Salem-News.com Eye on the World Report.
(SAYDABAD, Bangladesh) - China continues to sharply curb freedom of expression, association, and religion; the govt. openly rejects principle of judicial independence. China arbitrarily restricts and suppresses human rights defenders and organizations, often with extrajudicial measures, and systematically condones abuse of power in the name of “social stability.”
Our goal with Eye on the World is to illustrate and highlight politically oriented problems and tragedies that traditional media channels don't have time or interest in covering.
The world has its own set of laws that were agreed upon by the ruling nations in 1948, and many people are not aware of this simple fact. At the root of the concept of world citizenry itself, is the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an overriding and supreme law that ensures many essential human rights that governments today fail to observe. Also central to any hope of human success, is the understanding of the human hierarchy of needs, as defined by Abraham Maslow- more information on this at the conclusion of this entry. We must use the Internet as a tool of justice at every junction, and we need to assist all human beings, everywhere, and not allow cultural, racial or religious preferences as determiners.
Here is the letter that was sent to Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and Mr. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, by William Nicholas Gomes, on the Website, William’s Desk
Mr. Herman Van Rompuy
Mr. José Manuel Barroso,
Re: CHINA: Public frustration about the government’s denial of basic rights and freedoms, magnified by a lack of rule of law
Dear President of the European Council,
I appreciate recent statements by the EU High Representative and the EU Ambassador to China expressing concerns about the deteriorating human rights environment in China, I believe that EU efforts to advance human rights will be compromised and effectively undermined if you fail to reiterate the EU’s human rights concerns and expectations with regards to remedies, both publicly and privately, during the forthcoming Summit.
The Chinese government continues to impose sharp curbs on freedom of expression, association, and religion; openly rejects the principle of judicial independence; and arbitrarily restricts and suppresses human rights defenders and organizations, often with extrajudicial measures. It systematically condones, with rare exceptions, abuses of power in the name of “social stability.” The security apparatus, which remains hostile to liberalization and legal reforms, appears to have steadily increased its power since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Since mid-February 2011, Human Rights Watch has documented a disturbing increase in the Chinese government’s use of enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, intimidation, and house arrest to silence those exercising their right to the freedom of expression. In recent weeks, Chinese courts have handed down severe prison sentences to a quartet of writers prosecuted for writings critical of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Chen Wei received a nine year prison term on December 23, 2011 on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” for publishing government criticism on-line. Three days later, a Guiyang court handed down a 10-year sentence on the same charge to Chen Xi, for similar on-line criticism of China’s one-party rule. Then on January 18, 2012 a Wuhan court sentenced Li Tie to a 10 year prison term for “subversion of state power” for writings which included reference to the official taboo topic of the June 1989 Tiananmen massacre. And on January 18, police charged veteran human rights activist Zhu Yufu with “inciting subversion of state power” for writings including a poem which police interpreted as a call for popular unrest against one-party rule.
Despite the Chinese government’s rhetorical commitments, the legal system in China does not protect the rights of activists and critics. In September 2011 the Chinese government announced proposed revisions to the criminal procedure code that would in effect legalize rather than prohibit disappearances; such a step runs counter to the government’s obligations not to deviate from the standards set out by international human rights covenants it has ratified, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Six of the country’s most prominent human rights lawyers — Teng Biao, Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong, Liu Shihui, Tang Jingling, and Li Tiantian — were “disappeared” by the police for periods of time ranging from several weeks to several months. Following their releases, some have described having been tortured in custody, and few have resumed their outspoken advocacy.
Other human rights lawyers have been disbarred, or warned by judicial authorities not to take up particular cases. In another recent instance, government officials in Wenzhou ordered lawyers there not to represent civil compensation cases filed by families of victims of the July 23, 2011high-speed rail crash. They relented only after fierce on-line criticism of the move by Chinese netizens.
Despite the Chinese government’s well-documented attacks on human rights defenders and civil society activists in recent years, Chinese citizens are increasingly aware of their rights and more assertive in cases in which those rights are denied. Public frustration about the government’s denial of basic rights and freedoms, magnified by a lack of rule of law, contribute to the more than 100,000 “mass incidents” or protests are estimated to occur annually in China. Those protests heighten the Chinese Communist Party’s concerns about potential threats to its 61-year monopoly on power, which have already resulted in greater budgetary allocations for “social stability maintenance” than national defense.
In addition, we remain gravely concerned about the situation in Tibet, where heavy-handed security measures appear to have fueled tensions between Tibetans and Chinese authorities in the region, contributing to desperate acts of protest by individuals, including sixteen self-immolations. Since the protests of 2008 in the region, the Chinese government has imposed drastic restrictions on Tibetan monasteries in the Aba prefecture of Sichuan province and other parts of the Tibetan plateau. These measures include brutal security raids, arbitrary detentions of monks, increased surveillance within monasteries, and a permanent police presence inside monasteries to monitor religious activities.
While I note and appreciate EU public and private diplomacy about the human rights environment and individual cases in China, Human Rights Watch nevertheless believes that EU efforts in this regard are not sufficiently robust and consistent. These efforts have not been designed to seriously affect change in China’s appalling human rights record or support the forces for positive change inside China, including those courageous individuals who dare to challenge abusive government conduct and demand that their constitutional rights of free expression be respected by their government.
As the “Arab Spring” reminds us, the EU and others must take public opinion into account when formulating policies towards third countries. Significant numbers of people in China, too, are making known their complaints about issues ranging from public health to corruption, from land seizures to access to justice. In doing so, they face a range of possible retributive measures, including torture and imprisonment. The EU has quite visibly demonstrated support for efforts to ensure better respect for human rights around the 2011 public protests in North Africa and the Middle East. It should do no less in response to peaceful public protest and government crackdowns and abuses in China.
I urge you :
I also urge you to encourage your Chinese counterparts to support efforts at the United Nations Security Council to exert pressure on the Syrian government to cease the serious human rights abuses that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says may amount to crimes against humanity. We believe that the shift in the position of the League of Arab States and its recent decision to seek the support of the Security Council for its proposed plan to end the crisis creates an opportunity to overcome China’s initial reluctance to support Security Council efforts to end the crackdown. We urge you to:
Making publicly known both the EU’s concerns about human rights violations in China and your expectations of China internationally is important. Public statements demonstrate the EU’s commitment to the issues, and, more important, provide critical support to all those in China and elsewhere struggling to exercise and protect their human rights.
William Nicholas Gome
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Baroness Catherine Ashton
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
As children we are educated in right and wrong, we are told how to conduct ourselves; we learn both expectations and limitations, and from that point we go forth with these tools, and our individual personalities, and fail or succeed accordingly.
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