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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.

Friday, March 05, 2004

China's constitutional amendment is flawed


IHT: China's constitutional amendment is flawed:

"The Chinese Communist Party should be commended for proposing to add to the constitution this sentence: 'the State respects and safeguards human rights.' Once adopted, it will be the first time that the term human rights has been used in the document, which, at present, only provides for 'rights.'
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One must not assume, however, that 'human rights' used in this context has the same meaning as that under international law. Although China signed - but has not ratified - the international covenant on civil and political rights, the lack of explicit or implicit references to this agreement or other human-rights treaties in the Chinese Constitution makes it arguable that the term human rights as proposed carries a different meaning.
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China often wraps a well-understood political term in its own rhetoric to mean something different. 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics' and 'a Socialist rule of law state' are good examples. The final version of the amendment must clarify the meaning of 'human rights.'"


So says Veron MeiYing Hung of the International Herald Trubune. And of course she is right but lets put the horse in the harness before we drive the wagon to town.