US rights report slammed

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-12 07:20

A leading Chinese human rights expert yesterday lashed out at a report accusing China of widespread rights abuse, saying the report is "completely groundless" and its authors have a Cold War mentality.

Human Rights Watch, a US-based group, released its annual report yesterday which criticized a handful of countries including China for poor rights records. But the group's judgment of China "has no basis in fact", said Dong Yunhu, secretary-general of the China Society for Human Rights Studies.

"This group (Human Rights Watch) always turns a blind eye to China's progress in human rights protection, no matter how remarkable it is," Dong said, adding that the group has a Cold War mentality when it comes to China, which leads to serious bias in its reports.

The Washington-based group criticized China for rights abuse in a wide range of fields, including what it called the country's tightened control over the Internet, press and aid groups.

"The report is politically motivated," Dong said. "In reality, China has made huge progress in human rights protection in the past year."

"Human rights protection" has been included in the guidelines for the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) and "the development of individual political rights" has been placed at the top of the country's development goals for the next five years, Dong said.

He said China had scrapped millennia-old agricultural taxes, promised to provide free nine-year education and tightened control over the use of the death penalty.

Dong also defended the government's supervision of the Internet, saying the measure is aimed to facilitate citizens' right of expression, and not to suffocate freedom of speech.

"No matter how much China improves its human rights, Human Rights Watch will always claim that rights abuses are getting more serious," Dong said.


(China Daily 01/12/2007 page2)

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