中国时间: 14:02 2016年10月22日星期六

Congressional-Executive Commission on China <br>Annual Report for 2002 - 2003-10-07

Executive Summary

(You can download a copy of the complete report in PDF by clicking on this link:

Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report for 2002)

An evaluation of human rights and the rule of law in China reveals a complex picture of contradictory trends and isolated improvements, overshadowed by the Chinese government's persistent violations of fundamental, internationally recognized human rights. China's leaders have worked to develop a market-oriented economy while maintaining firm Communist Party control. Over the past two decades, China has made important strides toward building the structure of a modern legal system. Chinese citizens today enjoy greater individual autonomy and more personal freedom than they could have imagined during the days of Chairman Mao Zedong. Nevertheless, China's leaders still do not respect fundamental international standards on many human rights for the Chinese people.

A wide gap remains between the law on paper and the law in practice. The Chinese Constitution guarantees freedom of worship, assembly, speech, and other fundamental liberties, but provisions elsewhere in the Constitution undermine such freedoms. Furthermore, the political considerations of central and local leaders often trump constitutional and other legal protections. Chinese authorities often ignore legal protections for suspects and defendants in criminal cases. Although China has passed numerous laws and regulations on working conditions, these protections are frequently ignored by factory managers or go unenforced by local officials. This gap between law and practice is rooted, in part, in the Communist Party's desire to maintain unquestioned authority and power, the Chinese government's deliberate manipulation of the legal system, and a lack of public awareness of the law. The gap is also the result of official corruption, decentralization, and the sheer size of China.

Some believe that long-lasting change in China depends on the expansion of specific legal mechanisms that empower the Chinese people to assert their rights and interests. China's 20-year program of legal construction is accelerating as China implements its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments requiring greater transparency in the lawmaking process, more effective procedures for challenging administrative action, and greater judicial independence. Although these commitments are aimed primarily at improving the legal framework for commercial transactions, they complement other government efforts designed to provide Chinese citizens with limited remedies for official misconduct. No one can be certain that these legal reforms will spur political liberalization and greater respect for human rights in China. However, they contribute to an essential legal framework in which human rights may be protected.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China

Congress created the Congressional-Executive Commission on China to monitor China's compliance with international human rights standards, encourage the development of the rule of law, establish and maintain a list of victims of human rights abuses, and promote bilateral cooperation. With Commissioners drawn from both the Congress and the Administration, the Commission has a special role and a unique vantage point in developing recommendations for policy and action. It seeks to mobilize members of Congress and encourage the Administration to act on human rights and rule of law issues, providing a forum where both branches can work together. The Commission's website (www.cecc.gov) informs Americans and others about these issues. The Commission also serves as a scholarly resource on China for the Congress and the Administration. In its annual report and at other times during the year, the Commission recommends legislation and policy and reports on progress in China. The Commission holds hearings, conducts visits to China, and meets with key decision-makers both in China and the United States.

This inaugural report presents the Commission's findings for its abbreviated first year of operation. It is the product of a variety of activities undertaken since February 2002, including three public hearings and twelve staff-led roundtables involving 63 witnesses, staff research and visits to China, and ongoing cooperation and exchange with government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Through these activities, the Commission has focused on many of the core issues outlined in its statutory mandate, including religious freedom, labor rights, free flow of information, criminal justice, the rights of ethnic minorities, and the rule of law. The Commission will examine these issues and others in greater depth over the coming year.

This report also includes the Commission's initial set of recommendations for legislative and executive branch action. The Commission believes that the United States should continue to take a dual approach to promote both human rights and rule of law in China. Dialogue and high-level advocacy on human rights and cases of specific political prisoners should be coupled with enhanced financial and technical support for efforts to build a system based on the rule of law that will help protect the human rights of China's citizens. The Commission has highlighted its thirteen priority recommendations at the conclusion of this Executive Summary. These and other recommendations (41 in total) are discussed in greater detail in the body of the report.

The Commission's Executive Branch members have participated in and supported the work of the Commission, including the preparation of this report. However, the views and recommendations expressed in the report do not necessarily reflect the views of individual Executive Branch members or the Administration.

Findings of the Commission

China has worked vigorously over the last two decades to modernize its economy and improve living standards. To provide a foundation for market reforms and to attract foreign investment, China has undertaken an unprecedented program of legal construction. In its effort to rebuild a legal system left in shambles after the turbulent Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), China has promulgated hundreds of laws, revamped its court system, engaged in a nationwide effort to professionalize and expand its corps of lawyers and judges, and undertaken a host of other reforms.

These reforms have had a profound effect on Chinese society and government. Economic and political power has been gradually shifting from Beijing to provincial and local governments, making it more difficult for the central government to implement many legal reforms from the top down. One result is significant regional variation both in the pace of legal change and in the protection of human rights. The transition from a planned to a market economy has triggered the collapse of inefficient state-owned enterprises, contributing to rising unemployment and a breakdown in social services. Crime and corruption have grown at alarming rates. At the same time, state control over many aspects of daily life has weakened, and citizens have begun to use the law to protect their own interests. Nevertheless, farmers, workers, and religious practitioners are also increasingly taking their dissatisfaction to the streets, demanding their rights through protests and demonstrations. The Chinese government has consistently suppressed these efforts and, at times, arrested the protest leaders.

Despite deepening economic reforms, China's authoritarian government has resisted calls for political liberalization and has made little progress on improving civil and political rights. Although the Chinese government is seeking to ease widespread anger over rampant official corruption by requiring the direct election of village leaders and encouraging official accountability, the Party has overshadowed such promising steps by continuing to suppress any threat to its unchallenged grip on power. The violent suppression of peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989 set in motion a renewed period of intolerance of political dissent. The current Chinese leadership appears determined to modernize the economy while keeping a tight lid on political dissent, continuing firm Party rule, and maintaining its vision of social stability.

China's leaders are keenly aware of the role that labor unions played in undermining Communist Party rule in Eastern Europe and are determined to prevent similar challenges in China. The Chinese government forbids independent trade unions, and labor leaders who have tried to organize independent unions have been detained or imprisoned. All unions are subject to the supervision of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), which is tightly controlled by the Communist Party and serves the interests of the state and the Party. There is no right to strike. Regulations on workplace health and safety, as well as on work hours and overtime pay, are often ignored. The massive migration from rural to urban areas and the increased unemployment from shrinking and closing state-owned enterprises have seriously exacerbated worker unrest.

The Chinese government and the Communist Party also attempt to maintain strict control over religious groups. All temples, mosques, churches, and monasteries in China are required to register with the state and submit to the supervision of government-controlled religious umbrella organizations. These organizations approve the selection of religious leaders, vet religious texts, and oversee religious education. In many regions, Chinese authorities have engaged in a systematic campaign to root out underground and unsanctioned religious groups and branded some as dangerous "cults." Numerous religious leaders have been detained and imprisoned in this effort. In other regions, authorities have interfered less in unsanctioned religious activity.

In enforcing their vision of "national unity," China's leaders have made ethnic minorities a target of tight control as well. Although the Chinese Constitution grants nominal autonomy to many ethnic minorities, they are not able to exercise this autonomy in practice. A small number of Uighur separatists has committed acts of terrorism, and one Uighur group, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, has recently been added to a U.S. list of foreign organizations that support terrorism. However, many Tibetans and Uighurs who have protested peacefully for greater autonomy or, in some cases, independence, have been imprisoned and tortured. The Chinese government has not distinguished clearly between separatism and legitimate political, cultural, and religious expression. Thus, its efforts to control ethnic minorities have led to restrictions on the religious and cultural practices of Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims, including a recent ban on Uighur-language instruction at Xinjiang University and a large public burning of Uighur-language books. China continues to forbid open expressions of loyalty to Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese government regards as a separatist.

The Chinese Constitution guarantees freedom of assembly, but demonstrations must be approved in advance by police and permission is rarely granted. Authorities often break up demonstrations, such as the worker protests in Daqing, Liaoyang, and Fushun earlier this year, using a combination of detention of demonstration leaders, minor concessions to demonstrators, and, if necessary, force. After a peaceful demonstration by more than 10,000 Falun Gong members in 1999 outside the central leadership compound in Beijing, the Chinese government banned the spiritual movement and launched a nationwide campaign to eradicate "heretical cults." This campaign has resulted in the detention of thousands of practitioners and the torture and death of many Falun Gong leaders and members. The crackdown has led to intensified persecution of other groups as well, including underground Protestant and Catholic "house churches."

Information control in China remains strict. In recent years, authorities have allowed journalists to write about some cases of official malfeasance as part of a government attempt to crack down on corruption. Newspapers and magazines have been quick to capitalize on this opportunity, feeding a public desire for investigative reporting. However, the government still prohibits direct criticism of the Communist Party and limits reporting on topics it deems sensitive, including workers' protests, rural unrest, Falun Gong, corruption at high levels, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. At the same time, the limits of reporting are often arbitrary and unclear. Journalists who cross these undefined lines can face demotion, job loss, and, in some cases, imprisonment. Chinese authorities regularly block foreign government radio and television broadcasts into China.

Chinese leaders have embraced the Internet for its technological and commercial benefits, and there has been exponential growth in the on-line community. But they have also gone to great lengths to control Internet content and access. Authorities regularly block international news websites and have imposed strict registration and content requirements on Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Security networks monitor Internet traffic. In the past year, the government has intensified efforts to control the Internet, recently blocking the AltaVista and Google websites. The government requires Internet businesses to police their customers, and more than 100 Internet businesses, including Yahoo's China subsidiary, recently signed a government-sponsored pledge, agreeing to monitor users and remove "harmful" information. Under Chinese law, any person who posts content that the government has not approved is subject to potential fines and imprisonment. For example, it is illegal to post anything that harms social stability, a vague phrase that authorities use as a pretense to silence those who use the Internet to criticize the Communist Party or its policies.

China's criminal justice system provides the machinery for enforcement of many of the social and political controls discussed above. Despite revisions to the Criminal Procedure Law and Criminal Law, the impact of such reforms on the protection of criminal suspects and defendants has been minimal. China's criminal justice system remains subject to manipulation by authorities. Torture is illegal but remains widespread, and confessions coerced by torture are still admissible as evidence in criminal cases. Chinese authorities frequently ignore legal provisions that guarantee criminal defendants access to lawyers. Criminal defense attorneys who represent their clients zealously may be subject to intimidation and, in some cases, detention and criminal prosecution, particularly in politically sensitive cases. Undergirding the government's manipulation of the criminal process is Party control of the judiciary. Inadequate legal training and the generally low level of education of judges in China are also problems.

In many criminal cases, Chinese authorities ignore even the minimal protections that Chinese law provides. During China's periodic Strike Hard anti-crime campaigns, local criminal justice authorities, under pressure from the central government to produce convictions, often flout basic criminal procedures (for example, by denying defendants access to lawyers) in order to obtain quick convictions. Many Chinese are detained for long periods without trial. The police have the administrative power to send individuals to "re-education through labor" for up to three years, with a possible one-year extension, for a variety of offenses that include prostitution, drug possession, and "disturbing social order." Re-education through labor is frequently used in political cases to circumvent the formal criminal justice system, a practice of grave concern to the international community.

United States Action on Human Rights and the Rule of Law

The Chinese people themselves will ultimately determine China's direction and the degree to which the Chinese government respects fundamental human rights. The Commission believes that the United States should work to provide China's government and citizens with an enhanced understanding of the law and with a range of legal tools to protect human rights. The United States can achieve this goal in part by supporting legal development programs in China. U.S. NGOs have been at the forefront of these efforts. However, the U.S. government lags far behind other nations in providing technical and financial assistance for rule of law programs in China. This gap represents a missed opportunity by the United States to assist China's reformers.

Human rights advocacy gives hope to those in China who risk their personal liberty, and even their lives, by demanding internationally recognized rights and freedoms. While engaging China through trade, political dialogue, and legal development initiatives, the United States must continue to pressure the Chinese government on both broad human rights and rule of law issues and individual cases of political prisoners. While the United States extends the hand of friendship, it will continue to support those who suffer persecution for asserting their internationally recognized human rights.

Priority Recommendations

Based on the findings presented in this report and the Commission's belief that the United States must continue to pursue a dual policy of high-level advocacy on human rights issues and support for legal reform efforts, the Congressional members of the Commission highlight the following 13 priority recommendations to the Congress and the President:

The Commission recommends that the President, senior Executive Branch officials, and members of Congress continue to raise human rights issues, as well as individual cases of victims of human rights abuses, including those discussed in this report, whenever they meet with Chinese government officials. The Commission further recommends that the Administration include Commission leaders in any future Presidential visit to China.

The Commission recommends that the Congress and the Administration expand U.S. government efforts to disseminate human rights, worker rights, and rule of law-related information in China through radio, television, and the Internet.

The Commission recommends that the Administration continue to work multilaterally to encourage China to cooperate fully with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

The Commission recommends that the Congress appropriate funds to an American university, NGO, or other organization to train individuals from U.S. faith-based or other organizations with links to religious groups in China to assist Chinese religious leaders in asserting their existing right of freedom to practice religion under the Chinese Constitution and international human rights documents.

The Commission recommends that the Administration sponsor programs with key Chinese officials and policymakers to examine the role of religion in society and to promote the concept of religious tolerance.

The Commission recommends that the Congress and the Administration provide assistance to legal clinics to expand the availability of legal representation in cases involving worker rights, and that special assistance be provided to legal aid centers in communities with large numbers of migrant workers, and migrant women in particular, to build expertise and capacity in resolving the issues of concern to this vulnerable group.

The Commission recommends that the Administration facilitate meetings of U.S., Chinese, and third-country companies doing business in a specific locality and industry in China to identify systemic worker rights abuses, develop recommendations for appropriate Chinese government entities, and discuss these recommendations with Chinese officials, with the goal of developing a long-term collaborative relationship between government and business to assist in improving China's implementation of internationally recognized labor standards.

The Commission recommends that the Congress appropriate funds for suitable U.S. institutions to conduct programs for Chinese criminal defense lawyers on the role of the criminal defense bar outside of China and promote exchanges between Chinese and U.S. criminal defense lawyers.

The Commission recommends that the Congress authorize the development of programming in popular legal education for groups in China, such as farmers in remote areas and migrant workers, who are unaware of their rights under existing law.

The Commission recommends that the Congress appropriate funds and earmark them for the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) to implement a commercial rule of law training program in China, as authorized by the U.S-China Relations Act of 2000.

With respect to specific ethnic problems considered by the Commission this year,

The Commission recommends that the Congress and the Administration continue to urge Chinese leaders to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives.

The Commission recommends that the Congress appropriate increased funding for NGOs to develop programs that improve the health, education, and economic conditions of ethnic Tibetans.

The Commission recommends that the Congress and the Administration continue to emphasize that the war against terrorism is not an excuse for suppression and violations of human rights of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang, and recommends that the Congress and the Administration provide funding for NGOs to develop programs that focus on preserving the Uighur culture and language.

The Commission's Executive Branch members have participated in and supported the work of the Commission, including the preparation of this report. However, the views and recommendations expressed in the report do not necessarily reflect the views of individual Executive Branch members or the Administration.

This report was approved by a vote of 18 to 5.

Voted to approve: Senators Baucus, Levin, Feinstein, Dorgan, Bayh, Hagel, and Hutchinson; Representatives Bereuter, Leach, Dreier, Pitts, Levin, and Davis; Deputy Secretary Findlay, Undersecretaries Dobriansky and Aldonas, Assistant Secretaries Craner and Kelly.

Voted not to approve: Senators Smith and Brownback; Representatives Wolf, Kaptur, and Brown.