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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Human rights in the People's Republic of China

 Human rights in the People's Republic of China are a matter of dispute between the Chinese government, other countries, international NGOs, and dissidents inside the country. Organizations such as the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have accused the Chinese government of restricting the freedoms of speech, movement, and religion of Chinese citizens. The Chinese government argues for a "wider" definition of human rights, to include economic and social as well as political rights, all in relation to "national culture" and the level of development of the country. In this regard, China claims that human rights are being improved. China also repeated many times that its constitution specifies not only citizenship rights but also the "Four Cardinal Principles"; in legal respects the "Four Cardinal Principles" are higher than citizenship rights, meaning there was a legal basis according to the Chinese constitution when China arrested people who wanted, according to China, to overthrow these principles. Chinese people who obey these principles can, according to the Chinese government, enjoy all Chinese citizenship rights.

However, numerous human rights organizations note multiple problems with the Chinese government. Controversial human rights issues in China include policies such as capital punishment, the one-child policy, the political status of Tibet, and lack of protections regarding freedom of press and religion. One of the foremost areas of concern is a lack of legal rights, for want of an independent judiciary, rule of law, and due process. Another prominent area of concern is lack of labor rights, which is related to the hukou system, the absence of independent unions, and discrimination against rural workers and ethnic minorities. Yet another area of concern is the lack of religious freedom, highlighted by alleged repression of Christian, Tibetan Buddhist, and Falun Gong groups. Some indigenous groups are trying to expand these freedoms; they include Human Rights in China, Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), and the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG).

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