China omits Tibet from its rights report, claims tremendous progress
Dharamshala -- Despite being among the worst human rights violators in the world, China recently claimed to have made "tremendous achievements" on human rights with legal reforms, including ensuring impartial trials, but omits the human rights situation in Tibet from its report.
"The tremendous achievements China has made in its human rights endeavours fully demonstrate that it is taking the correct path of human rights development that suits its national conditions," the white paper, published by Chinese government under the title "Progress in China's Human Rights in 2014", said.
'China's legal reform gained momentum when the Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership adopted a comprehensive plan to promote rule of law at a key meeting last October,' it claimed.
"The fundamental purposes of the blueprint are to protect civic rights, to defend human dignity and to put basic human rights into practice," the report said refuting criticism by the international rights groups of persistent crackdown against dissidents who questioned the CPC with long term imprisonments.
Famous among the dissidents who remained imprisoned is Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. The paper claimed that judicial justice and transparency were greatly improved in 2014 thanks to reform measures in the judicial system.
Courts, procuratorates and police worked hard to prevent and correct unjust, false and wrongful practices from investigation and prosecution to trials, it said adding that in 2014, courts nationwide reheard 1,317 cases and corrected a number of wrongful ones.
Unlike previous reports, this year's white paper has a single chapter about protecting people's right to impartial trials, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Zhu Liyu, deputy director of the Center for Human Rights Studies of the People's University of China, said legal reform has been one of the most notable progresses for human rights protection in China in the past two years.
"A number of new measures were made to improve the transparency and efficiency of judicial departments, empower them to better supervise administrative power and protect civic rights, which are of profound significance," Zhu claimed.
"In the cases that a person's rights are violated by administrative power, the judicial system will be the last resort. "Without the legal system, it is impossible to actually protect human rights," he said.
Nationwide annual per capita disposable income reached 20,167 yuan (USD 3,290) in 2014, up 8 per cent over the previous year and faster than the economic growth rate in 2014.
By the end of 2014, the number of rural residents with an annual income less than 2,300 yuan had decreased by 12.32 million to 70.17 million, it added, saying "Guarantee of educational equity has also been improved."
Approximately 92.6 per cent of children of school age received the nine-year compulsory education and 86.5 per cent were enrolled in senior high schools.
Being the world's largest developing country, the right to development is still the most important human right in China, said Liu Huawen, secretary general of Center for Human Rights Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"Easier access to health care service, better houses, stable jobs and higher income are all tangible improvements for ordinary Chinese," Liu said.
He also considered China's fierce anti-corruption campaign as a solid contribution to human rights protection, since cleaner governments and more diligent officials will take better care of people's rights and welfare.
"The concept of human rights varies in different countries and will be updated according to the changing reality, he said, adding that "The rest of the world should respect China's unique conditions and traditions and give us more time to develop."
The paper also said Chinese courts sentenced 876 offenders to five years or more in prison, or even death last year for crimes against women and children.
These criminals were convicted in 1,048 cases involving the kidnapping of women and children and sexual assault on minors in 2014, according to a white paper released by the Information Office of the State Council.
China has always handed out severe punishment to offenders in order to better protect the rights of women and children. The paper claimed that Beijing has also made efforts in forming more effective laws and systems for them.
However, dozens of bloggers, writers, rights lawyers, environmentalists, journalists and other activists still face arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, torture, and unfair trials. The France-based watchdog group Reporters Without Borders ranked China 175 out of 180 countries in its 2014 worldwide index of press freedom. Reports say Chinese media outlets usually employ their own monitors to ensure political acceptability of their content.
Tibetans in Tibet are being severely beaten, imprisoned, tortured and killed for their faith and culture preservation. Since, 1949, 1.2 million Tibetans died as a direct result of occupation- persecution, imprisonment, torture and severe beatings. At least 140 Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet since 2009 and and of them 120 were reportedly passed-away while the status of the rest remains unknown or critically injured.
In an effort to crackdown even harder on Tibetans, including writers, artists, intellectuals, and cultural advocates who criticised the government's policy, Tibetans are sentenced to death or life imprisonment for only sharing news about Tibetan protests, including self-immolations with Tibetans abroad.
Various human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have reported that Tibetans are still victims of arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, and torture for their political and religious beliefs, and face severe punishment because of the activities or beliefs of their family members.
Reported abuses of human rights in Tibet include use of education as a tool to implement their One-China policy and inculcate loyalty to the Chinese state, and to denigrate Tibetan cultural identity and values, including compulsory "patriotic re-education" campaigns to denounce their spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
China has released similar human rights report 12 times since 1991. The last report came out in 2013.
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