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24october200914The US Congressional-Executive Commission on China has released its 2009 Annual Report on human rights and the rule of law in China, together with case records of 1,279 political prisoners currently detained or imprisoned there.

The wide-ranging report found that, since the 2008 uprisings in Tibet, the Chinese authorities have increased the repression of Tibetans’ freedom of speech, religion, assembly and association.

It said that, in the past year, China has “used institutional, educational, legal and propaganda channels to pressure Tibetan Buddhists to modify their religious views and aspirations,” and “escalated its efforts to discredit the Dalai Lama and transform Tibetan Buddhism into a doctrine that promotes government positions and policy.”

The report also found that the level of harassment of human rights lawyers and advocates, and restrictions on Chinese reporters in Tibet, has increased, and that “extralegal detention’ remains a serious problem, with petitioners, peaceful protesters, and ‘undesirables’ being arbitrarily detained in ‘black jails,’ ‘law education classes,’ and psychiatric hospitals for nonmedical reasons.”

The Commission’s Political Prisoner Database contains 670 records of Tibetans detained on or after 2008’s March 10 uprising- “a figure certain to be incomplete” – for exercising their human rights.

The Commission called for the release of Chinese citizens confined, detained, or imprisoned in retaliation for pursuing their right to freedom of religion. It cited the case of Phurbu Tsering, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who was tried in April 2009 on a weapons charge - Tsering’s lawyers said the case involved coerced confession and insufficient evidence.

“The Chinese Government has made economic development a priority, and has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty,” said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Chairman of the Commission, “but Chinese government policies and practices continue to violate the rights of Chinese citizens and fall far short of meeting international standards”.

To view the Commission’s full report, click on www.cecc.gov

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