.. ative procedures, and not by a trial (China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1999). The Chinese Constitution states that the courts shall, in accordance with the law, exercise judicial power independently (Muzhi Zhu). However, this has not been the case because the judiciary is subject to policy guidance from both the government and the Communist Party. It has been found that at both the central and local levels, the government and the CCP frequently interfere in the findings of the judicial system and take a hand in deciding court decisions (Amnesty International.
China, violations of human rights). Another problem is that judges are appointed by the people’s congress at the corresponding level of the judicial structure, which can lead to an undue influence by local politicians over the judges they appoint(Amnesty International. China, violations of human rights). During a May 1998 conference at a Beijing university, one expert estimated that more than 70 percent of commercial cases in the lower courts were decided according to the wishes of local officials rather than by the law.( Amnesty International. China, violations of human rights) State-run media published numerous articles calling for an end to such local protectionism and demanded the development of a judiciary that is independent of interference by officials.( Amnesty International. China, violations of human rights) Another violation of the Human rights code consists of the right to privacy.
Government interference in daily personal and family life continues to decline for the average citizen (Amnesty International. China, no one is safe). In some urban areas, most people still depend on government-linked work units for housing, permission to have a child, approval to apply for a passport, and other aspects of ordinary life. Despite legal protections, authorities often do not respect the privacy of citizens (Amnesty International. China, no one is safe).
Although the law requires warrants before law enforcement officials can search premises, this provision has frequently been ignored. However, the Public Security Bureau and the procuratorate can issue search warrants on their own authority (Amnesty International. China, no one is safe). The Constitution states, freedom and privacy of correspondence of citizens are protected by law( Muzhi Zhu). However, in practice, authorities often monitor telephone conversations, electronic mail, and internet-communications of foreign visitors, businessmen, diplomats, and journalists, as well as activists, and others. The security services routinely monitor and enter the residences and offices of foreigners to gain access to their computers, telephones, and fax machines (Amnesty International.
China, violations of human rights). Authorities also open and censor domestic and international mail. Han Chunsheng, a Voice of America (VOA) listener who allegedly sent over 20 letters criticizing of the Government to a VOA mailbox, remains in prison on an 8-year sentence for counterrevolutionary incitement and propaganda (Amnesty International. China, violations of human rights). Government security even monitors and sometimes restricts contact between foreigners and citizens (Amnesty International. China, violations of human rights).
Further problem of the Chinese Human rights debates addresses the fact that it is often dangerous and ill advised for protestors to peaceably assemble and protest the government. The Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly. However, the government severely restricts this right in practice (China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1999). The Constitution stipulates that such activities may not challenge, so to speak party leadership, or infringe upon the interests of the State(China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1999). Protests against the political system or national leaders are prohibited.
Authorities deny permits and quickly move to suppress demonstrations involving expression of negative political views (China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1999). At times police used force against demonstrators. In January the Western Press reported that one protester was killed and more than 100 others injured when police dispersed some 3,000 villagers in the province of Hunan, who were protesting corrupt government and high taxes (China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1999). Last March in the city of Suining, in Sichuan province, police reportedly beat demonstrators in an attempt to disperse a three-day protest by machinery factory workers over unpaid benefits (China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1999). In April two groups of CDP members in Hangzhou attempted to lay wreaths for victims of the Tiananmen massacre in two different parks.
Police reportedly dispersed one group, and arrested three participants. The other group was able to hold its vigil (China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1999). In October a violent protest reportedly broke out in Panzhihua, in Sichuan province, after police refused to help a robbery victim who subsequently was knifed by his attackers. Many of those protesting were injured in clashes with the police; 10 people were reportedly arrested (China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1999). In late October, police in Ganzi, an autonomous region in western Sichuan, reportedly clashed with up to 3,000 ethnic Tibetans who were protesting the arrest of 3 monks.
One of the monks arrested was the respected Buddhist teacher Sonam Phuntsok, from the nearby Dargye Monastery. The police reportedly fired upon the crowd, injuring some protestors. It is unknown whether any persons were killed, but up to 80 ethnic Tibetans reportedly were detained in connection with the incident (Amnesty International. China, no one is safe). To help combat human rights violations Chinese leaders have appealed to western powers to impose sanctions on the Chinese.
Some legislators include the prohibition of high Chinese government officials to come to the United States. Trade restrictions on certain goods, and less money to be given as foreign aid to China are a probable solution. According to Chinese Wei Jingsheng, China is at a critical juncture where its leaders really need economic support from the United States. This is the moment when America should be adding more pressure, asking them to change more, to reform more (Wei Jingsheng). Also the Chinese leaders are not so amenable to reason as they are to pressure, and the United States has tremendous influence on China’s policies.
There has however been some good news; one overseas human rights group reported in January that there has been some 9,000 cases of mishandling of justice discovered in 1998 and that 1,200 police officers had been charged with criminal offenses (Muzhi Zhu). It is also said that authorities will continue a nationwide crackdown on police corruption and abuses. Government statistics released in March showed that in 1998 corruption prosecutions were up 10 percent, to over 40,000 investigations and 26,000 indictments of officials ((Muzhi Zhu). In January there were reports that Public Security Bureau Deputy Minister, Li Jizhou, was detained for corruption. Several other high-ranking party officials also were prosecuted on corruption charges during the year.
Also late in the year, National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chairman, Li Peng issued a warning on police corruption (Jingsheng Wei). All though these are small steps they are steps in the right direction to help bring to an end the atrocities committed by Chinese officials. And the Chinese people can look up to the words of Wei Jingsheng. Some say that after the student protests of 1989 and the massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989, democracy and freedom in China died. I do not believe this to be so, and only have some patience and you will see what happens in a generation or two; wait and witness the backbone people can show when they are fighting for their freedom.
As Czechoslovakia democrat Tomas G. Masaryk said in totalitarian Central Europe nearly 50 years: Dictators always look good until the last minutes. Bibliography Bibliographies Amnesty International. China, no one is safe. Ed.
Edwin J. Feulner, Jr. New York, NY. 1996. Amnesty International.
China, violations of human rights : prisoners of conscience and the death penalty in the People’s Republic of China. Ed William Meyers. London, U.K 1994. China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1999. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. February 25, 2000.
U.S. Department of State. 18 March, 2000 Jingsheng Wei. What to do About China no date of publication or sponsor. 18 March, 2000 Muzhi Zhu. China’s Human Rights Record 25 June, 1997.
Chinese Embassy. 17 March 2000. Social Issues Essays.