by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Chinese government has cracked down on human rights more severely over the last year, according to a commission of lawmakers and Obama administration officials, at the same time the United States has sought to cooperate with Beijing on issues such as climate change.
China’s persistent violations of international human rights standards warrant a stronger response from the U.S. government and need to play a larger role in America’s foreign policy, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China said in its annual report delivered to President Obama last week.
Over the past year, “the Chinese Communist Party and government further restricted the limited space for peaceful expression, religious activity, and assembly with harsh consequences for rights advocates, lawyers, and civil society, and continued to implement the world’s most sophisticated system of Internet control and press censorship, affecting both domestic and foreign journalists,” the comprehensive 340-page report states.
As of May 2016, authorities in China had arrested at least 20 people in under a year as part of a crackdown on lawyers and human rights advocates, according to the commission. Sixteen of the individuals were jailed for allegedly “endangering state security.”
“The government routinely denied medical treatment to imprisoned activists, targeted family members and associates of rights activists, including those overseas, with harassment and retribution, and became more brazen in exerting its extraterritorial reach,” the report states. “The government also continued harsh security measures that disregarded the protection of human rights in ethnic minority regions including Tibetan autonomous areas and the XUAR [Xinxiang Uighur Autonomous Region].”
Your response, Thomas Friedman?