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.
x
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.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: ChenThe"Lawyer" from: Vancouver
May 25, 2012 10:50 AM
Mr. Chen would have been procesuted for fraud in the US if he did exactly the same as in China. Keep in mind of one fact that has been intentionally omitted by the Western press: he claims himself to be a "lawyer" and actually practiced as such though he doesn't hold a law degree.

by: Wangchuk from: NYC
May 25, 2012 9:58 AM
The CCP claims Chinese people have the last say on human rights but the CCP denies Chinese people that say. The CCP censors the media, news, radio, TV and Internet in China & arrests people who speak out against the Party. The CCP imprisoned Liu Xiaobo to 11 years b/c he wrote about democracy & human rights. Local Party officials harassed & detained Chen Guangcheng so that he couldn't speak about forced abortions & sterilizations in Shandong. It's clear the Chinese people have something to say about the lack of human rights in China but the CCP won't let them.
Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More