Written on Monday, February 4, 2013
Event at SIS, American University
US Policy and Human Rights in China
American media and China scholars have widely discussed both the recent changes in China’s leadership and the success of China’s economic reforms. The question remains, howver, whether these developments will improve China’s respect for human rights and the rule of law. We are welcoming a panel of experienced experts and practitioners who will be here to promote reform in China as part of AU’s commitment to dialogue concerning the human rights issues both at home and abroad.
Dr. Han Lianchao, VP of Initiatives for China, began his lecture by stating there has been “30 years of progress” but China continues to experience a “bamboo curtain.” Dr. Han follows that 200,000 protests are conducted per year in China. There are 7 different types of protests held in China: Workers, Residents, Religious, Ethnic, Hong Kong, professional protestors and Agriculture. About $100bn is spent purely on stability maintenance, with $2.4bn going to the Police Force. 12bn people in China have committed to doing their part in the stability maintenance movement.
However, Dr. Han expresses concern that China has evolved from a mafia-esque authoritative government to a more military-like state. For example, in today’s society, the use of tortue as a tool is acceptable for the Chinese authorities to extract particular information.
Ms. Sarah Cook, Senior Analyst for East Asia at Freedon House, provided additional information on the nature and scope of human rights suppression in China. Economic development is obviously at an all-time high in China and will continue to increase. Even though there is an increase in internet controls, civil society organizations are constantly pushing the boundaries. The people want their internt freesdom to be the same as in 1997, when the internet was first introduced and there were no restrictions. Ms. Cook gave the example that in 1997, you could look up the 89′ Massacre and score about hundreds of hits full of information. Now-a-days, the only 89′ Massacre coverage available is screened through the government and the total online hits, tally close to 15.
Ms. Cook is astonished to report that the people in China are hopeful regarding the new leader and his proposed promises. Current NGO and other US advocacy groups are working to expose and press for the improvement of China’s human rights record by initiating, implementing and exchanging strategies with innovative people in China. Her advice, if you find a way in, take advantage and push through western strategies/ideas.
Such delicious food. Peruvian is the best, plus I’m a sucker for plantains.