Home Russia & China China All is not well in Xi’s China

All is not well in Xi’s China

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News Analysis |

On Wednesday April 4, 2018; wife of a detained Chinese lawyer, Wang Quanzhang, who took on sensitive cases of complaints of police torture and defended practitioners of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, began a march of more than 100 km from Beijing to Tianjin city, where she believes her husband is being held in solitary confinement, in a bid to force authorities to explain his arrest.

The lawyer went missing in August 2015 during a Chinese government crackdown on civil rights activists. The wife of the lawyer, Li Wenzu, has since not been allowed to have any form of contact with her husband. However, Police in China have acknowledged that the lawyer is under its detention. The counsel of the detained lawyer has not been allowed to contact the detainee either.

Gender equality also remains a big issue for China. According to a report by World Economic Forum, China ranked 100th out of 144 countries for gender parity in 2017, falling for the ninth consecutive year since 2008, when it ranked 57th.

Li while talking to media outside the Supreme Court’s complaint office on Wednesday said, “We are walking to seek an answer from the Chinese legal system. Is China really a country with rule of law?” “Over the last 999 days, we have tried every possible legal means to find out what has happened to him, but there has been no result,” she added.

On July 9, 2015, authorities in China launched a massive crackdown on rights movement activists. The pro-government media labeled the crackdown as a ‘concerted government effort against criminal gangs’.

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Human Rights Violations in China

In 2017, authorities in China adopted measures to limit access to circumvention tools that allow citizens to scale the Great Firewall to access the uncensored global internet.In March, Chongqing authorities made public a regulation that bans unauthorized use of internet circumvention tools in the city. Any individual or company which violates these regulations could face up to nine months imprisonment or fine or both.

Chinese government continued to impose more restrictions on free access to internet and in July 2017, removed dozens of VPNs from its App store in China, citing compliance with government regulations.In November last year, in a letter to two US senators, Apple confirmed that it had removed 674 VPNs from its App store in China this year, citing compliance with government regulations.In September 2017, Beijing police arrested Liu Pengfei, the creator of a WeChat group that had discussed political and social issues.

The government classifies many religious groups outside its control as “evil cults,” and subjects members to police harassment, torture, arbitrary detention, and imprisonment.

Media in China also faces restrictions and international bodies have condemned Beijing for limiting freedom of expression for its citizens.

In addition to the limitations in free speech, minorities in China continue to face persecution. Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province have long faced violence from Chinese authorities. Expressions of Uyghur identity, including language and religion have been labeled as ‘threatening’ by Beijing. Both Uyghur’s and central government have been responsible for violence in the region but details about protests and violence are scant, as authorities severely curtail independent reporting in the region.

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The violence in Xinjiang has led to hundreds of Uyghur Muslims joining ISIS which has exacerbated problems for authorities in China. According to reports, Beijing has now decided to follow ‘carrot and stick’ policy to control the situation in Xinjiang. However, the situation in the province is far from ‘normal’. 

Moreover, authorities in Tibetan areas continue to severely restrict religious freedom, speech, movement, and assembly, and fail to redress popular concerns about mining and land grabs by local officials, which often involve intimidation and arbitrary violence by security forces. In 2017, officials intensified surveillance of online and phone communications.

Authorities in China adopted measures to limit access to circumvention tools that allow citizens to scale the Great Firewall to access the uncensored global internet.In March, Chongqing authorities made public a regulation that bans unauthorized use of internet circumvention tools in the city.

Chinese government has also imposed severe restrictions on the practice of religion in the country. The government restricts religious practice to five officially recognized religions in officially approved religious premises. Authorities retain control over religious bodies’ personnel appointments, publications, finances, and seminary applications. The government classifies many religious groups outside its control as “evil cults,” and subjects members to police harassment, torture, arbitrary detention, and imprisonment.

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Gender equality also remains a big issue for China. According to a report by World Economic Forum, China ranked 100th out of 144 countries for gender parity in 2017, falling for the ninth consecutive year since 2008, when it ranked 57th.

These stats from ‘Human Rights Watch’ indicate that all is not well in Xi’s China. Despite massive economic prosperity and attaining global power status, China has failed to address the more pressing issues back home. The use of force to oppress dissidents in the country might be beneficial in short term, but if China really aims to maintain its status as a global power, it will have to provide more freedoms to its populace. Only public participation in the government affairs will make China ‘great’.


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