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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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