China proud of progress on human rights

BEIJING – China takes pride in the impartiality of its judicial system and its protection of citizens’ rights to know and be heard, as well as other progress it has made in securing human rights, according to a recent report.

That’s true despite experts’ calls for the country to make further improvements along those lines, according to the Assessment Report on the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010).

The report said the country has worked to end illegal detentions. In 2009 and 2010, investigations began into 1,002 cases in which government authorities were suspected of taking advantage of their positions and powers to infringe upon citizens’ rights.

Among the alleged infringements have been illegal detentions of prisoners, perpetrations of vendettas and framings, and disruptions of elections, it said.

The report, which is the first of its kind and was released by the State Council Information Office on Thursday, said another 18,600 cases involving illegal detentions, some of them committed by government functionaries, were heard during 2009 and 2010.

As for detainees, the report said they must in almost all cases be interrogated in detention houses. To ensure their protection, every interrogation room must contain a metal mesh separating detainees from interrogators. It must also have two entrance doors; detainees will have to go through one and interrogators through the other to prevent them from coming into contact with each other.

Detainees also have the right, with the approval of the courts, to have copies of the audio and video records of their own court trials. They also must undergo physical examinations before and after an interrogation and upon leaving and returning to a detention house.

The 59-page report, which covers economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights, allocated two paragraphs less than one page to speech freedoms and another five pages to the rights to know about public matters and to participate in politics and social life.

The report said the freedom of speech of citizens has been guaranteed, especially with the advent of the Internet, which has given the public a new way to exercise its right to be heard.

Statistical sampling shows Chinese netizens go the Internet frequently, using it to issue more than three million statements a day. Even so, complaints about deleted posts are frequently seen on weibo.com, a popular micro-blogging website. The report said the country is disclosing more and more information about emergencies, government business and budgets.

Yet despite the remarkable improvements, Tian Wenchang, director of the criminal committee of the All China Lawyers Association, said the country has a long way to go.

Source: China Daily

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