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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Analysis: Pressure mounts on China rights

United Press International: Analysis: Pressure mounts on China rights

HumanThe recent US report on Human Rights in China paints a very damning picture and with good reason but it is said by some observers that all is not bad. The above link is to an analysis of trends in China's Human Rights and concludes that the question of Human Rights "management" is increasingly being taken out of the hands of the authoritarian government and old hardliners and into the hands of social pressures which erodes the government's stance.

The analysis argues that freedoms are "burgeoning out of official control" and that the likes of the internet, inbound and outbound tourism and travel, greater involvement in the world economy among other things are enlightening the Chinese people who are now setting the pace of Human Rights Reform not the PRC government.

The article cites The U.S. annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices in acknowledging "rising urban living standards; greater independence for entrepreneurs; the reform of the public sector ... and expansion of the non-state sector increased workers' employment options and significantly reduced state control over citizens' daily lives."

To quote en block

'Yes, say China supporters, old habits die hard, but the key word in the above quote is "space." Society has become more porous, they argue, and though people do get caught in the nets cast by suspicious and conservative officials, the majority has more freedom than ever before to read, think and discuss, if not to publish their views.

"The social environment is opening up," said a Chinese journalist, who preferred not to be named despite her insistence she enjoys greater freedom of expression than before. "People have more space to live, to breathe, to think, to express themselves. This is the result of the flow of information, from the Internet, from people who have been abroad. There is more exchange with the outside world, and no one can stop it."

..they (the PRC) know what is expected.


The article goes on to quote an academic who has a very unique turn of phrase

"They know what is expected. At least when they are cracking down on people, when they're putting them in prison, when they're shooting people, they do it with a bad conscience. This is a very big difference from the past," she added.

I do not have any doubts that increased interaction with the outside world will have the effect of increasingly taking away from the Chinese government the ability to set the Human Rights reform agenda and timetable.

And I agree with the articles analysis that in their own minds the PRC government feels that they are making great leaps and bounds with Human Rights reform but they just do not yet see things in quite the same way as others do.

What did it used to be called in the Vietnam War days? People Power?