Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Human rights has been a principal area of U.S. concern in its relations with the Peoples Republic of China PRC, particularly since the violent government crackdown on the Tiananmen democracy movement in 1989. Some policy makers contend that the U.S. policy of engagement with China, especially since granting the PRC permanent normal trade relations status in 2000, has failed to produce meaningful political reform. Others argue that U.S. engagement has helped to accelerate economic and social change and build social and legal foundations for democracy and human rights in the PRC. This report analyzes Chinas mixed record on human rights - major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents. Fear of social unrest, especially during times of economic uncertainty, appears to motivate the PRC governments resistance toward major political reform. The PRC government has attempted to respond to public grievances and popular calls for redress while subduing activists who attempt to organize mass protests and dissidents who openly call for fundamental change. This approach has both produced incremental improvements in human rights conditions and allowed for continued, serious abuses. Major, ongoing problems include excessive use of violence by security forces, unlawful detention, torture, arbitrary use of state security laws against political dissidents, coercive family planning policies, state control of information, and religious and ethnic persecution. Tibetans, ethnic Uighur Uygur Muslims, and Falun Gong adherents have been singled out for especially harsh treatment.
- Government and Political Science