News / Asia

China Pushes Back on US Criticism of Human Rights

Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who flew to the United States last week, said China's handling of the local officials who harassed and abused him and his family will determine whether the country can begin to achieve rule of law, May 24, 2012.Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who flew to the United States last week, said China's handling of the local officials who harassed and abused him and his family will determine whether the country can begin to achieve rule of law, May 24, 2012.
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Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who flew to the United States last week, said China's handling of the local officials who harassed and abused him and his family will determine whether the country can begin to achieve rule of law, May 24, 2012.
Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who flew to the United States last week, said China's handling of the local officials who harassed and abused him and his family will determine whether the country can begin to achieve rule of law, May 24, 2012.
Shannon Sant
BEIJING - China Friday pushed back against U.S. criticism of its human rights record in the past year, calling it “filled with prejudice.” But while Beijing defended its record, blind lawyer and government critic Chen Guangcheng says the country has progress to make in ensuring the rule of law.

China’s government criticized the U.S. State Department’s annual assessment of human rights issues that said Beijing had increased efforts to silence dissidents and lawyers through the use of house arrest and enforced disappearance.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei spoke to reporters in Beijing.

He says the China related content is filled with prejudice and disregards the facts and confuses right and wrong. He says more than 30 years of reform and opening up China’s human rights record has achieved remarkable progress.

Hong says that the Chinese people have the biggest say about the human rights situation in China.

The State Department report included a description of the harassment of blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who made a daring escape after being kept for several years under house arrest by local officials in his village in Shandong Province.

Chen Guangcheng had represented women who were victims of forced sterilization and abortions. His escape pushed the issues of rule of law and human rights to the forefront of news coverage of China, and created a diplomatic crisis with the United States.

China granted permission for Chen and his immediate family to move to the United States and they arrived in New York on Saturday.

In one of his first television interviews since his arrival with Reuters news agency, he called for the prosecution of the officials who kept him under house arrest and said he is deeply concerned for the welfare of his extended family in Shandong Province.

He says if the central government quickly investigates and deals with these officials who have violated China’s laws, then China can move towards a path of the rule of law as quickly as possible. But he says if local officials continue to act wildly and as they wish, perhaps in the near future my family’s situation will not be good, and I think construction of the rule of law the central government has undertaken during the last few decades will be thoroughly ruined.

This week Chen Guangcheng’s brother made his own escape from Shandong, after his son was charged by Shandong police with “intentional homicide.” Chen worries other members of his family will face torture and persecution by local authorities.

He says now my older brother escapes house arrest and comes to Beijing in search of a lawyer for my nephew. This is an extremely normal thing and the most basic right of a Chinese citizen.

Chen says, if his nephew’s legal rights cannot be assured, then it is a sign that the development of China’s legal system in the past few decades has already been undone by law breaking officials within the judicial system.

In 2008 the United State dropped China from its list of the worst human rights abusers, but this year’s report says human rights conditions in China have deteriorated. It accuses authorities of continuing to commit serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial detentions and house arrests.

China has long rejected outside criticism of human rights abuses as interference in its internal affairs - a view echoed by spokesman Hong Lei in Beijing Friday.

He says countries can have equal dialogue to enhance mutual understanding and promote each other, but such issues should never be used as a tool to attack others or interfere in other countries internal affairs.

The annual State Department report is mandated by Congress and runs several hundred pages long. This year the report praised Myanmar and Tunisia for positive changes in improving civil liberties, including freeing political prisoners and lifting restrictions on freedom of the media, assembly and association.

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by: whoever from: wherever
May 29, 2012 6:53 PM
I agree, US is much more evil than China. China only violate human rights in it's own country while US violate all over the world & directly responsible for millions of deaths.

by: Observer from: Asia
May 29, 2012 7:06 AM
There is a need for a fair competition among the Chinese to improve life in China. For that to happen, there need to be more than just one political party representing over one billion people.

by: An ordinary Chinese from: Wuhan
May 28, 2012 3:57 AM
I didn't see through the reports and the above article. I came directly to the comments. Zhuangmin, I have no interest to speak of it. The human rights report, I think it's like a saying of marritial relationship. Some guys treat their wives kindly, some guys don't and we have an example, North Korea. If the assuming it as marriage, the people should divorce the government.

by: Jedy
May 27, 2012 11:24 PM
From ordinary people like me, this fight like two dogs to kill other.

by: Ming Yao
May 27, 2012 5:16 PM
The Chinese support their government on the whole, you know.

by: Great from: Usa
May 26, 2012 12:52 PM
Good job obfuscating the truth, voice of America. The whole story has nothing to do with the blind activist, but that china lashed back at the US report. They published their own port on US human rights abuses, about US extra judicial killings abroad and trappling on the rights of our own dissidents. but no mention of that here. Excellent journalism, big brother.

by: Zhuangmin from: Shijiazhuang,Hebei,China
May 26, 2012 11:36 AM
Zhuangmin wants to challenge all American.Zhuangmin wants to be the democracy teacher of modern American.The reason is that the Chinese democracy activists ,who the United States of America supports,are the barriers that affects Chinese to have pragmatic and rational democracy.Are there any Americans dare to challenge the eight programme of Zhuangmin thought?

by: Jonathan Huang from: Canada
May 25, 2012 11:32 PM
In China the priority of human rights are right to have enough food, clean water, a place to live, chance to get educated, chance to find a job. Under this criterion, CCP did great job, and Chinese government is the best in the world because help majority Chinese come out of poverties. Democratic India should be shame of itself. CCP is also making China a second super power, majority Chinese around the world is supporting CCP.

by: Mary Wilson from: USA
May 25, 2012 7:48 PM
USA should help its own citizen illegally blocked in China for 4 years come home!!! Please see www.change.org/petitions/help-my-father-dr-zhicheng-hu-come-home

by: Cha Cha Cohen
May 25, 2012 1:37 PM
Every country on earth violets Human right it is time they should respect it without quibbling! At the end the ordinary people, many times innocent suffers, which is not fair!
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