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United States/China 11 March 2008

The U.S. drops China from its list of the world’s worst human rights violators: “A bad decision at a bad time”

Reporters Without Borders denounced the U.S. State Department’s decision to drop China from its list of the world’s worst human rights violators. “The situation in China is not, of course, comparable to the one in North Korea or in Eritrea, but Washington’s decision occurs at the worst possible time, just when the situation is worsening prior to the opening of the Olympic Games.

This move is seen as a major setback for human rights organizations, who have been striving especially hard in these last five months before the Games to improve the status of human rights in China. This decision was announced even as it was learned that some one hundred Tibetan monks have been arrested. and Chinese authorities are refusing to release activist Hu Jia and dozens of other freedom of expression advocates,” stated the organization from its Washington bureau.

"U.S. authorities are depriving themselves of yet another effective way to pressure China, without having achieved any goodwill gesture from Beijing. The human rights dialogue between the two countries is set to resume, but shouldn’t the U.S. have waited for a massive release of prisoners and an end to censorship before dropping China from this list?” the organization stipulated.

In its 2007 Human Rights Report published today, March 11, 2008, the State Department placed China on the list of authoritarian countries undergoing full economic reform and rapid social change, yet which "have not undertaken democratic political reform" and continue to deny their citizens human rights and basic freedoms. The report added: "The government also continued to monitor, harass, detain, arrest, and imprison activists, writers, journalists, and defense lawyers and their families, many of whom were seeking to exercise their rights under the law." Beijing had figured among the worst violators in the 2006 and 2005 reports.

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2 June - China
All references to Tiananmen Square massacre closely censored for 20 years
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in the annual report
China - Annual report 2008
China - Annual report 2007
China - Annual report 2006

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