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Groups Urge Pressure on China to Improve Human Rights - 2002-04-04


Various non-governmental organizations are urging the U.N. Human Rights Commission to pressure China to improve its human rights record. The groups argue Beijing's abuses have mounted against religious groups, minorities, labor organizers and pro-democracy activists.

Activists have said they do not want a discussion on human rights violations in China to slip off of the U.N.'s agenda since the war in the Middle East is grabbing international headlines.

They argue Beijing is carrying out a crackdown affecting millions of its citizens. They have said China is using the war on terrorism as an excuse to step up arrests, torture and executions of separatist Muslim Uighurs and Falun Gong practitioners.

The head of the Unrepresented People Organization, Erkin Alptekin, said more than 30 Uighurs have been executed and 3,000 arrested since September 11. He said Chinese officials blame the Uighurs for a series of bombings and claims they are linked with Osama bin Laden's terror network.

"Although there has been no claim for responsibility for the bomb attacks in Eastern Turkestan in such cases, Chinese officials have always blamed the Uighurs. The great majority of the Uighurs believe that Chinese agents are planting bombs in order to discredit the just cause of the Uighur people," Mr. Alptekin said.

A Falun Gong representative, Erping Zhang, said Chinese authorities have sent more than 150,000 practitioners of the banned spiritual movement to forced labor camps or mental hospitals without trial.

Mr. Zhang alleges women are tortured and raped during detention to force them to renounce Falun Gong.

"Pregnant women have been subjected to forced late-stage abortion, as late as eight months pregnancy, rather than be released from jail to give birth to their child. In police custody, female practitioners have suffered from a variety of sexual abuse, such as being stripped naked and thrown into jail cells with male inmates," he said.

The Falun Gong say more than 5,000 members have been arrested in the northern eastern city of Changchun last month, and 100 have died in custody.

The United States traditionally presents a resolution on China before the UNHRC, but it was voted off the commission last year. Diplomats say so far no other country seems prepared to challenge China's rights record despite persistent concerns over its alleged religious and political persecution. Various non-governmental organizations are urging the U.N. Human Rights Commission to pressure China to improve its human rights record. The groups argue Beijing's abuses have mounted against religious groups, minorities, labor organizers and pro-democracy activists.

Activists say they do not want a discussion on human rights violations in China to slip off of the U.N.'s agenda since the war in the Middle East is grabbing international headlines.

They argue Beijing is carrying out a crackdown affecting millions of its citizens. They have said China is using the war on terrorism as an excuse to step up arrests, torture and executions of separatist Muslim Uighurs and Falun Gong practitioners.

The head of the Unrepresented People Organization, Erkin Alptekin, says more than 30 Uighurs have been executed and 3,000 arrested since September 11. He said Chinese officials blame the Uighurs for a series of bombings and claims they are linked with Osama bin Laden's terror network.

"Although there has been no claim for responsibility for the bomb attacks in Eastern Turkestan in such cases, Chinese officials have always blamed the Uighurs. The great majority of the Uighurs believe that Chinese agents are planting bombs in order to discredit the just cause of the Uighur people," Mr. Alptekin said.

A Falun Gong representative, Erping Zhang, says Chinese authorities have sent more than 150,000 practitioners of the banned spiritual movement to forced labor camps or mental hospitals without trial.

Mr. Zhang alleges women are tortured and raped during detention to force them to renounce Falun Gong.

"Pregnant women have been subjected to forced late-stage abortion, as late as eight months pregnancy, rather than be released from jail to give birth to their child. In police custody, female practitioners have suffered from a variety of sexual abuse, such as being stripped naked and thrown into jail cells with male inmates," he said.

The Falun Gong say more than 5,000 members have been arrested in the northern eastern city of Changchun last month, and 100 have died in custody.

The United States traditionally presents a resolution on China before the UNHRC, but it was voted off the commission last year. Diplomats say so far no other country seems prepared to challenge China's rights record despite persistent concerns over its alleged religious and political persecution.

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