Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported on Wednesday that the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD), a nonprofit organization set up by the Taiwanese government to promote democracy around the world, has concluded that China's human rights situation did not improve this year.
According to the TFD's annual human rights report for China, which was officially released 31 December, human rights conditions in Chinese social, political, judicial, economic, environmental, educational and cultural spheres have room for further improvement.
The report found that China's political system and its legal environment protect those government officials who infringe on citizens’ human rights, while at the same time, policies and regulations meant to protect human rights are not effectively implemented.
The report points out that the Chinese regime continued to pressure Chinese dissidents and human rights defenders and restrict freedom of speech this year, and it also severely punished those who criticized the shoddy construction quality of buildings that collapsed in the Sichuan Earthquake in May 2008.
The Chinese government also imposed new ways to control Internet access and interfered with the news media after last year’s Beijing Olympics, while also using a more systematic approach to apply greater pressure on human rights defenders, the report says.
The report observes that all of these factors contributed to the continued deterioration of human rights in the country.
Although China issued its first action plan on human rights this year—vowing to address a host of issues from torture to the death penalty and the environment—it still remains debatable whether China will be able to implement the plan. The report pointed out that China continues to execute more people than any other government in the world.
In terms of economic and environmental rights, the Chinese government lacks a practical and comprehensive development plan to solve outstanding problems left over from the past, with the rural garbage issue requiring the most urgent attention, according to the TDF report.
The annual report, first published in 2003, also points out that the government’s attempts to block many foreign news and domestic human rights-related websites also violates the people's right to information and their freedom of speech.