Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Written evidence submitted by Amnesty International

  Amnesty International is a worldwide membership movement. Our vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We promote all human rights and undertake research and action focussed on preventing grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression and freedom from discrimination.

  Amnesty International welcomes the inquiry by the Foreign Affairs Committee into the regional and international role of the People's Republic of China. We submit our views below on the human rights record of China and make some suggestions regarding actions on the part of the UK government.


  "If you don't dare to let people speak . . . you will sow the seeds of disaster. It is bound to trigger collective resistance and set off turbulence . . . History shows that only in totalitarian systems do you need media controls. This is in the mistaken belief that you can forever keep the public in the dark."

  These are the words not of a prominent Chinese activist but those of a group of veteran Chinese communist party cadre, including the former top propaganda official and Mao Zedong's personal secretary, in a joint statement sent last month to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, China's new leaders since 2003.

  These strong words were sent in reaction to recent closures by the authorities of Bing Dian (Freezing Point) a popular publication, and the recent wave of dismissals, arrests, and imprisonment of journalists, editors, and private internet users who push the boundaries of tight censorship. They reflect the sharp turn for the worse of the human rights situation in China today.

  The statement from Chinese Communist Party veterans make the absence, or weakness, of critiques of human rights violations in China from Western leaders all the more dismaying.

  Amnesty International shares the view that human rights in China have deteriorated under Hu and Wen. The space for public critique has narrowed. Lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders are being detained, imprisoned, harassed and intimidated with new intensity. There are numerous reports of government authorities relying on force to put down legitimate demands for redress of grievances, including land seizures without due process or adequate compensation. There appears to be a renewed use of the death penalty to address underlying social and economic problems. Thousands of people are still executed and sentenced to death each year, with China accounting for upwards of 80% of all executions documented in the world. The Uighur minority in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region face intensified repression under the guise of China's "war on terror". Freedom of expression and religion continue to be severely restricted in Tibet. And Christians not belonging to the officially recognised church must practice their belief underground-making themselves and their property highly vulnerable to police raids and arrests.

  The early confidence in the West that economic reforms in China would inexorably bring liberalisation and humanisation of society and politics must be reconsidered in light of this deteriorating human rights situation. In two years time China's economic reforms will be 30 years old.


  China continues to restrict international human rights organisations from carrying out research in the country, seriously limiting the international community's ability to monitor human rights there.


  The heightened intolerance—stemming from fear—on the part of the current Chinese leadership towards any public criticism, or even mild questioning of the CCP, has resulted in the detentions, disappearances, imprisonment, beatings, intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders and other seeking justice. On 8 February 2006, Gao Zhisheng, a prominent human rights lawyer, initiated a hunger strike to protest the harsh treatment of lawyers, petitioners, and other human the detentions. Numerous individuals have been detained, formally arrested, or remain missing in relation to the hunger strike. Hu Jia, a prominent HIV/AIDS activist, went missing on 16 February. Public authorities have refused to provide any information, including refusing to admit he is being held. According to those close to him, Hu suffers from hepatitis B and needs daily medication. Qi Zhiyong, an activist for the rights of people with disabilities, has been missing since 15 or 16 February. Qi received gunshot injuries during the crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy demonstration, which left him disabled. Wang Lizhuang, a 48 year old media professor, who had drafted an open letter on behalf of people evicted from their homes in Shanghai, was taken away from his workplace by police on 21 February. The list also includes, Ouyang Xiaorong, Chen Xiaoming, Wang Lizhuang, Mao Hengfeng, Ma Yalian, Yan Zhengxue, Yu Zhijian, to name only some of those known to us.

    —  Amnesty International urges the UK Government to speak our forcefully, both in public and in private meetings, on the violation of the rights of Chinese human rights defenders, including those recently involved in the hunger strike in China.


  According to Chinese government statistics over 40 million Chinese farmers have had their land wholly or partially taken away. Based on the government's own statistics of 87,000 incidents of mass unrest, in addition to the specific cases we have information on, we may conclude that land is frequently expropriated forcefully, without due process, and with inadequate compensation. Localities that organise to seek redress often face police and military suppression, and in some cases violence by criminal gangs allegedly backed or hired by local authorities or enterprises. One village, Taishi, has remained blockaded for months, surrounded by police and military personnel seeking to control all movement in or out of the village, and preventing Chinese and foreign journalists from entering and any news from getting out. Lawyers and other activists that have sought to help local villagers pursue legal channels of redress have been detained, beaten, harassed, placed under house arrest, and their families have in some cases been intimidated.

    —  Yang Maodong (also known as Guo Feixiong), 39, a legal assistant to Taishi villagers, was detained on 4 February 2006 for 12 hours in a police station and beaten upon his release by a group of unidentified men. On 8 February Yang wrote an open letter to Chinese president Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao, protesting against attacks on human rights activists and excessive force used by authorities in recent demonstrations in rural areas. He remains under residential surveillance.


  Chinese authorities have not done away with the system that fundamentally divides Chinese society into different classes of citizens based on their place of origin (rural or urban), that derives from the earlier household registration system, or hukou. This system fundamentally discriminates against rural migrants to urban areas—some 100-200 million people, in terms of public services, health insurance, housing, etc., and puts them in a state of permanent illegality, making them vulnerable to abuse from the police, employers, landlords, and permanent city residents. This system has contributed to the persistent low wages of this workforce, perhaps in violation of WTO standards.

    —  Amnesty International urges the UK government to raise the issue of China's residential system through appropriate UN bodies in relationship to China ratifying the ICCPR, as the system violates the right to freedom of movement provided for in the treaty.


  The death penalty continues to be used in an extensive and arbitrary manner, at times as a consequence of political interference. People are executed for non-violent crimes such as tax fraud and embezzlement as well as drug offences and violent crimes (some 68 offences in total). Contrary to global trends towards abolition, and reduction of the scope of crimes subject to the death penalty, Guangdong provincial authorities last month announced that convictions for the crime of "violent bag snatching" could incur the death penalty. Based on public reports available, Amnesty International estimates that there were still thousands of individuals executed and sentenced to death last year.

  Amnesty welcomes a recent announcement by the SPC that all death penalty appeal cases must be held in open court from the second half of this year. The announcement in September 2005 that the Supreme Court would establish three branch courts to review death sentences may bring a reduction in executions, however the reform nevertheless leaves entrenched the use of the death penalty. That national statistics on death sentences and executions remain classified as a state secret impedes effective analysis and monitoring of the death penalty.

  We urge the UK government to:

    —  Call on the Supreme People's Court (SPC) to conduct an immediate review of the Guangdong Province ruling regarding the crime of bag snatching with a view to overturning it.

    —  Urge Chinese authorities to reduce the number of capital offences, especially for non-violent crimes.

    —  Advocate for the publication of full national statistics on the application of the death penalty.

    —  Institute an immediate moratorium on executions.


  Systemic flaws in China's judicial system, including the absence of an independent and impartial judiciary, severe problems with access to justice particularly in rural areas, extensive corruption among judges and other legal personnel, and the lack of transparency in judicial proceedings, compound problems with use of the death penalty. China's system of "Re-education through Labour" has permitted hundreds of thousands of individuals to be incarcerated up to four years without charge, with no access to a lawyer, with no trial or hearing at which to defend themselves, and without judicial review.

  A proposed new Law on the Rectification of Illegal Behavior is reportedly being discussed by legislators as a replacement for Re-education through Labour. Officials have indicated that the new law would probably reduce terms of detention and provide for appeal in a court of law. While positive, these reforms entrench a system which AI believes fundamentally contravenes international fair trial standards.

  People accused of political or criminal offences continued to be denied due process. Detainees' access to lawyers and family members continue to be severely restricted and trials fall far short of international fair trial standards. The vaguely defined, retroactive, and broad application of the notion of "state secret" and "national interest", suggests an abuse of these legitimate concepts. Furthermore, those charged with offences relating to state secrets or terrorism have their legal rights restricted and are tried in camera.

  We urge the UK government to:

    —  Advocate for abolition of the system of Political and Legal Commission because of the manner in which they institutionalise the supremacy of the Chinese Communist party over the law.

    —  Advocate for the abolition of the system of Re-education through Labour.

    —  Urge the Chinese government to devote more resources to the training of judges and lawyers and to strengthen legal aid, particularly in rural areas.

    —  Urge the Chinese government to adhere in practice to constitutionally protected procedures.


  The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, who visited China in November 2005, concluded that the use of torture remain widespread in the country.

  Amnesty's own findings supports this view. Torture and ill-treatment continue to be reported in a wide variety of state institutions despite the introduction of several new regulations, a campaign to prosecute police who extract confessions through torture, and a pilot project allowing police interrogation of criminal suspects in front of video cameras and lawyers in three regions. Common methods include kicking, beating, electric shocks, suspension by the arms, shackling in painful positions, and sleep and food deprivation. Restricted access to the outside world for detainees and a failure to establish effective mechanisms for complaint and investigation continue to be key factors allowing the practice to flourish. Amnesty International has documented the case of Gao Rongrong, a Falun Gong practitioner, who died in custody in June 2005 after being detained in Longshan Reeducation through Labour facility in Shenyang, Liaoning province. Officials had reportedly beaten her in 2004, including using electro-shock batons on her face and neck, which caused severe blistering and eyesight problems, because she was discovered reading Falun Gong materials in the facility.

  We urge the UK government to:

    —  Speak publicly on the issue of torture in China, and continue to raise individual cases through UN and other international mechanisms. The fact that prisoners have reported amelioration in their prison treatment as a result of international campaigns suggests the effectiveness of public pressure.


  The Chinese authorities continue to add layers of regulations and controls to an already sophisticated system of censorship. Controls are integrated at every level-from service providers, internet cafes, blog managers, and individual users. Western corporations have given in to government censorship demands. However, despite sophisticated technological filters, the effectiveness of censorship in China still rests on self-censorship, as companies, institutions, and individuals seek to avoid punishments associated with crossing the line. Broadly, and vaguely, defined "state secrets" offences continue to be used to prosecute journalists, editors, and internet users, often utilising the clause that allows a state secret to be defined retroactively. Journalist Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison in April 2005 for leaking "state secrets". He had posted on the internet a government order instructing the media on how to handle the upcoming anniversary of the crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy movement.

  We urge the UK government to:

    —  Demand that the Chinese government remove the requirement that domestic and foreign Internet companies sign a pledge of self-censorship and that Internet cafes verify the identities of their patrons before allowing them Internet access.

    —  Raise the issue of corporate complicity with government censorship on the part of Western companies operating in China.

    —  Press the Chinese authorities to eliminate the requirement for media organisations to have a government sponsor to obtain a licence, as well as the requirement for all Internet companies to sign a pledge of self-censorship.

    —  Urge the Chinese government to revise the State Secrets Law to rectify the vague, broad, and retroactive basis of definition of state secret and the "national interest".


  Religious observance outside official channels remains tightly circumscribed. The promulgation in March 2005 of a new Regulation on Religious Affairs has if anything, only facilitated intensified government control on religious activities. The crack-down on the Falun Gong spiritual movement was renewed in April last year. A Beijing official clarified that since the group had been banned as a "heretical organisation", any activities linked to Falun Gong were illegal. Many Falun Gong practitioners remain in detention where they are at high risk of torture or ill-treatment. Unregistered Catholics and Protestants associated with unofficial house churches are harassed, arbitrarily detained and imprisoned on a regular basis.

  In November 2005, prominent defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng was forced to close down his law firm for a year after he refused to withdraw an Open Letter to the President and Premier calling on the authorities to respect religious freedom and to stop the "barbaric" persecution of Falun Gong. The order came shortly after he had filed an appeal on behalf of underground Protestant pastor Cai Zhuohua who had been sentenced to three years in prison for illegally printing bibles.


  The use of the international "war on terror" to justify harsh repression in Xinjiang involves serious human rights violations against the ethnic Uighur community such as the harassment and arbitrary detention of Uighur peaceful protesters and dissenters, often described as "religious extremists" or "terrorists". While China's latest "strike-hard" campaign against crime had subsided in most parts of the country, it was officially renewed in the XUAR in May 2005 to eradicate "terrorism, separatism and religious extremism". Such repression resulted in the closure of unofficial mosques and arrests of imams. Uighur nationalists, including peaceful activists, continue to be detained or imprisoned. Those charged with serious "separatist" or "terrorist" offences are at risk of lengthy imprisonment or execution. Those attempting to pass information abroad about the extent of the crack-down face arbitrary detention and imprisonment. Rebiya Kadeer, a prisoner of conscience released in March 2005, continues to be targeted by the authorities to counter her influence as a Uighur activist abroad.

  Nurmuhemmet Yasin, a 35-year-old writer is currently serving a 10-year-sentence for "inciting separatism". He was detained on 29 November 2004 after his short story entitled "Wild Pigeon" was published in a Kashgar Literature Magazine in late 2004 and tried behind closed doors in February 2005. In May, Nurmuhemmet Yasin, father of two, was transferred to Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) No 1 Prison in Urumqi. At the time of his arrest, authorities confiscated Yasin's personal computer, which contained an estimated 1,600 poems, commentaries, stories, and one unfinished novel.


  Freedom of religion, expression and association continue to be severely restricted and arbitrary arrests and unfair trials continue in Tibet. While some prisoners of conscience have been released at the end of their sentences, dozens of others, including Buddhist monks and nuns, remained behind bars where they were at risk of torture or ill-treatment.

  Contacts between the Chinese authorities and representatives of the Tibetan government in exile have continued, with some signs that progress was being made. However, this has not resulted in any significant policy changes leading to improved protection for the basic human rights of Tibetans.

  Amnesty International has documented the cases of Topden and Dzokar, two monks from Chogri Monastery, together with Lobsang Tsering, a layman, who were reported to have been sentenced to three years in prison in August 2005 for putting up posters advocating Tibetan independence.

    —  Amnesty International endorses the call of the Foreign Affairs Committee (paragraph 189 of the FAC report on the FCO Human Rights Report 2005) that the UK government make public its condemnation of the human rights abuses carried out by the Chinese authorities in Tibet.


  People continue to flee across the border into China to escape the acute food shortages in North Korea. The Chinese authorities continue to arrest and return hundreds, possibly thousands, of North Koreans as economic migrants and deny them access to any refugee determination procedures, in breach of the UN Refugee Convention.

  The Chinese authorities should allow the UNHCR to travel to border regions and other affected areas to investigate the treatment of North Korean asylum seekers.


  Despite laws prohibiting such practices, many women continue to be subjected to forced abortions and sterilisations by local authorities attempting to comply with strict family planning policies. Prohibition of sex identification of fetuses appeared to have little effect on the sex imbalance. Trafficking in women and children, especially girls, continues to be reported. Some provinces have adopted regulations aimed at preventing domestic violence but abuses reportedly remain widespread. Women in detention remain at risk of sexual abuse and other forms of torture or ill-treatment. In August 2005, the authorities amended the Law on the Protection of Women's Rights and Interests specifically to prohibit sexual harassment of women and strengthen women's rights to lodge complaints. Amnesty International has documented the case of Chen Guangcheng, a blind, self-trained lawyer, who was harassed, beaten and arbitrarily detained at his home in September 2005 after he attempted to sue the local authorities in Linyi city, Shandong province, for conducting forced sterilisations and abortions in pursuit of birth quotas.


  Chinese authorities have not lived up to their promise—made during their bid to host the 2008 Game—that winning the bid and hosting the Games would bring improvements in the human rights situation in China. While the Chinese authorities promote the Beijing Olympics as a showcase of the country's social and economic progress, preparations for the Games are undermining core social and economic rights.

  According to officials from the Beijing Olympic project's construction headquarters, 6,000 families have been affected by preparations for the Games, although Amnesty International believes the actual number to be much higher (put at 300,000 by some). Many of these families have been evicted without full procedural protection or due process and without adequate compensation. In addition, individuals have been arrested and imprisoned simply for peacefully protesting evictions from their homes. For example, Amnesty International has documented the case of Ye Guozhu who was detained in 2004 and sentenced to four years' imprisonment for having protested against the razing of his home and two restaurants that he owned.

  We call on the UK government to:

    —  Speak out publicly against the Chinese government's practice of forced evictions of individuals from their homes carried out without full procedural protection, due process, government provision of adequate alternative accommodation for those unable to provide for themselves, and adequate compensation for any property affected.


  China's expanding global role is of major concern to Amnesty International, as evidence increases that China is contributing to human rights abuses in third countries through arms sales, support to repressive regimes, blocking of multilateral initiatives to deal with humanitarian crises through the UN, and economic activities in third countries that do not take human rights into account. China's role in the Sudan is only one of a series of disturbing cases. While the Chinese government continues to engage with UN human rights mechanisms, it largely fails to implement their recommendations.


  Evidence suggests that arms exports from China continue to fuel massive human rights violations in Sudan, and the Chinese government has opposed strengthening the UN Security Council arms embargo on Sudan. Reports indicate that Chinese jets sold to Sudan since the 1990s include over 40 Shenyang J-6 and J-7 jet fighters, and more recently some F-7 supersonic fighters. A company in China, Harbin Dongan Engine, was reported to have a contract to repair Mi-8 helicopters for Sudan. According to UN Comtrade data, Sudan imported $845,918 worth of "parts and accessories for shotguns or rifles" as well as $34,827 of pistols and revolvers and $97,437 of "sporting and hunting shotguns" from China during 2002.

  We urge the UK government to:

    —  Call for an immediate suspension of transfers of these types of arms and related logistical and security supplies to Sudan which are used by the armed forces or militias for grave human rights abuses and war crimes.


  Amnesty International welcomes the fact that the EU has made progress on human rights a prerequisite for lifting the embargo on arms sales to China, and resisted lobbying from the Chinese government.

  We call on the UK government to:

    —  Call for a full, impartial, public investigation into the events and military crackdown of 3-4 June.

    —  Call for the release of the dozens of people still held in connection with the 1989 pro-democracy protests.

    —  Call for an end to the imprisonment and harassment of relatives of victims and of those who call for an end to impunity in connection with those events.

    —  Allow family members and friends of those killed on 4 June 1989 to publicly mourn the loved ones they lost.


  The UK and China have had 13 rounds of human rights dialogue, and China continues to hold human rights dialogues with a select number of other countries. Amnesty International agrees entirely with the conclusion of the Foreign Affairs Committee (paragraph 36 of the FAC report on the FCO Human Rights Annual Report 2005) that the "UK-China human rights dialogue appears to have made glacial progress". We await with interest the UK government's response to the committee's request that the government set out what measures it uses to determine whether the dialogue is a success, what it sees as the achievements of the dialogue to date, and why it wishes it to continue. Amnesty International does not oppose the dialogue but, after thirteen rounds, we question whether it has achieved tangible human rights advances in China. We note the FCO's own limited expectations as set out in paragraph 186 of the FAC report. We share the concerns of HRW (paragraph 182) that the UK government remains reluctant to express its concerns over China's human rights record in public or at the highest level.


    —  Develop specific benchmarks against which to measure progress by China within an agreed timeframe.

    —  Retain the option of reviewing the dialogue approach if this is not yielding significant results.

    —  We encourage the UK government to continue to press the Chinese authorities for a timetable for the ratification of the ICCPR and for the lifting of China's reservation to Article 8.1 (A) of the ICESCR (the right to form trade unions and join the trade union of choice. We note that the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights was unable to obtain a clear indication on the timetable for ratification of the ICCPR during her visit to China last year.


Freedom of expression and the press

  Concerns have risen over recent years about growing restrictions on freedom of expression in Hong Kong. In May 2004, three radio talk show hosts resigned after they allegedly received threats for calling for greater democracy in Hong Kong. More recently, the creation of an independent committee in January 2006 to review the future of public broadcasting has fuelled fears that the authorities wish to undermine the autonomy and editorial independence of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK). In particular, there is concern that the authorities wish RTHK to play a greater role in broadcasting and explaining government messages and policies. In February 2006, Hong Kong legislators passed a motion calling on the authorities to respect editorial independence and defend freedom of the press.

Freedom of association and assembly—police response to WTO protests

  Amnesty International has long-standing concerns that provisions of the Public Order Ordinance (POO) in Hong Kong contravene international human rights standards, including rights to freedom of expression and assembly as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Hong Kong is a party. The organisation raised these concerns with the Hong Kong authorities in advance of the World Trade Organisation conference in Hong Kong in December 2005, requesting explicit assurances that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression would be upheld. While recognising that the Hong Kong authorities had a difficult task in policing the protests, and that not all protesters were peaceful, Amnesty International remains concerned about possible excessive use of force, including the use of pepper spray, beanbag rounds and teargas against demonstrators; and large-scale detentions of more than 1,000 protesters, some of whom alleged they were ill-treated in police custody. The vast majority were later released without charge. The organisation urges the authorities to conduct a full, independent and impartial investigation into the actions of the police in connection with the protests and for the results to be made public.

Violence against women

  Amnesty International is concerned that the Domestic Violence Ordinance narrowly defines domestic violence as physical violence between couples, leaving many victims or survivors outside the scope of protection. A coroner's court verdict on the death of Kim Shuk-ying and her two daughters at the hands of her husband in September 2005 helped to accelerate the process of revising the Ordinance, but it remains unclear when an amended version will be introduced.

Anti-racial discrimination legislation

  Amnesty International provided a detailed submission to the Hong Kong authorities as part of a public consultation on proposed anti-racial discrimination legislation in February 2005. The organisation called on the authorities to:

    —  include new arrivals, including persons from the Chinese mainland, within the scope and protection of the law;

    —  ensure that immigration legislation is subject to the principles of the law;

    —  ensure that any special exception regarding application of the law to small companies and small-scale employers is limited to a time reasonable to adapt to the new law; and

    —  amend the definition of "indirect discrimination" to ensure greater protection, for example by reviewing similar legislation in other States, in particular Australia and the United Kingdom.

  [For further information, see submission by Amnesty International Hong Kong at] A draft of the proposed legislation is not yet available and it remains unclear when it will be passed.

Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation

  Amnesty International urges the authorities to ensure greater protection from discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in Hong Kong. The organisation welcomed the ruling of a first-instance court last year that a law prohibiting sex between consenting men under 21 was discriminatory and a violation of human rights. The Hong Kong authorities have appealed the ruling but the hearing has not yet taken place. Hong Kong rights activists have also protested the decision of the Hong Kong authorities to commission the Society for Truth and Light, a conservative Christian group which opposes gay rights, and "excessive" use of human rights to educate school teachers on human rights and anti-discrimination. Amnesty International understands that the Hong Kong authorities are currently considering whether to allow the UK Consulate to conduct same-sex civil partnerships in Hong Kong in line with recent UK legislation.

Protection of asylum seekers and refugees

  While China has ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention, it has not extended it to Hong Kong. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) assesses the claims of asylum seekers in Hong Kong, but such individuals remain vulnerable to discrimination and are generally detained pending the results of their application. They are not entitled to assistance and are not allowed to engage in either paid or voluntary work, leaving many of them destitute. In June 2004, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal ruled that the authorities must assess individual asylum seekers' claims that they had fled torture before issuing a deportation order. Amnesty International welcomed this decision but considers that extending the scope of the Refugee Convention to Hong Kong would provide far greater protection for asylum seekers and refugees in the SAR.

Rendition and the death penalty

  Amnesty International is concerned at the failure of the authorities to conclude a formal agreement governing the rendition of individuals between the Hong Kong SAR and the Chinese mainland. These concerns are particularly acute in connection with Hong Kong residents facing the death penalty in China. Hong Kong abolished the death penalty in 1993. However, formal procedures governing the transfer of criminal suspects from Hong Kong to the mainland to face the death penalty do not appear to exist. Hong Kong residents on capital charges in China and their families receive little assistance from the Hong Kong authorities in terms of practical support, such as legal aid, or information regarding their rights throughout the criminal process.


  Chinese government officials are sensitive to public comment and criticism on their human rights record from world leaders, as found in the press, in international venues. The Chinese authorities aspire to be a well-respected, modernising, forward-looking nation. They want to be compared favourable to the "developed" nations, and do not want to be categorised among the worst cases.

Amnesty International thus urges the UK government to:

    —  Speak out forcefully in regarding human rights violations in China through both public and private channels.

    —  Be sure to raise human rights concerns during high-level meetings with Chinese leaders. The failure to do so will not only send the wrong message to the Chinese leadership, but to Chinese civil society as well.

Amnesty International

March 2006

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