The world is riddled with human rights abuse issues. From highly progressive countries to struggling third world ones, human rights violations are issues people deal with in their day-to-day. Among the most notorious countries that have prevalent cases of human rights abuse is China. While their constitution supports and respects the inherent rights of the Chinese people, the government is doing just the opposite. From their one-child-policy that forced married couples to only have one child (which has been implemented since 1979 but thankfully has been stopped in early 2015) to restrictions on the people’s freedom of speech, the press, Internet, movement, association, religion and even organ harvesting among many others, China has utter disregard for all those and often uses the excuse of “protection of state secrets” or “subversion of state power” in doing so.
As China opened its doors to the rest of the world, China embraced the rule of law in an attempt to establish the modern Chinese court system. But nonetheless, the government still violates many provisions of the Constitution, especially the ones dealing with the human rights of the citizens. Even the judiciary experiences extreme political pressure from the government, resulting in countless political prisoners because of the failure to uphold due process. This superpower of a nation is known to shun outsiders from inspecting the Chinese penal system, which is why many calls their system a “rule by law” and not a “rule of law.”
China’s human rights environment continues to deteriorate as Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump prepare to meet at a summit on April 6-7, 2017, at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, Human Rights Watch said today.
“Torture, disappearances, imprisoning peaceful advocates, destroying religious communities, internet censorship – President Xi has plenty to answer for on these subjects,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “But will he be asked – and asked to change course?”
The Chinese government aggressively stepped up its campaign against civil society activists and online speech in the past year. Many peaceful critics of the government remained locked away, including Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo and Uighur economist Ilham Tohti. Eight of the human rights lawyers and supporters among the 300 detained during a nationwide raid in July 2015 are still facing trial, while another six have been sentenced; the legal proceedings have fallen far short of international standards.
In 2017, President Xi has shown no sign of letting up on his sweeping signature anti-corruption campaign, which is carried out in part through the Chinese Communist Party’s own internal disciplinary system, known as shuanggui. This system of arbitrary detention, which has no basis in Chinese law, subjects Party members suspected of violating party rules or engaging in corruption to prolonged sleep deprivation, forced stress positions, deprivation of water and food, and in some cases severe beatings. Chinese authorities have also continued to demolish Larung Gar, a major Tibetan Buddhist institution, expelling monks and nuns, and subjecting them to political re-education, exceptional restrictions on their liberty, and degrading treatment.
For many years, China was a mystery to the rest of the world. Nobody really knew what was going on inside its borders. But over the years, the world at large knew more about the blatant human rights abuse happening all over Mainland China. Not only is the rule of law not upheld but the Chinese government does not run out of excuses for their grave misconduct. Even with the advent of the Internet and major technological and communication advancements, the government was able to find a way to restrict and monitor Internet access and use of their people to prevent further Western influence from corrupting their minds.
The West is at least partially responsible for existing human rights problems in China today. Since China’s doors were smashed open by Western gun boats about 150 years ago, opium and colonization had been forced onto China, collapsing its economy and political system, which in turn led to massive human rights violations in the ensuing chaos, wars and starvations. China has recovered up from its humiliating past, and achieved tremendous progress in overall human rights.
As our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once said,Canada is not perfect on human rights either. No country is. If we have endeavoured to improve ours in our process, there is no reason that we do not allow others to do the same in theirs. Fairly speaking, the process does take time, and ultimately, requires fundamental economic and political development. In this long process, trade will be one of the most important factors that can help.
Trade will help human rights first by economic development, which is the foundation for all human rights. It is common knowledge that countries of best human rights record right now are those that are wealthy and stable.
To say that China is a strict nation is an understatement. Only China can enforce an obvious contradiction of the rule of law or of their constitution regardless of what the entire world has to say. But what stand out the most are the numerous cases of human rights abuse on its people. Throughout the 1990s, China sentenced to death or executed a record-breaking high not rivaled by any other country. The truth is, China has actually executed the highest number of death penalties worldwide. While they generally put to death row serious offenders with cases like aggravated murder, other non-violent crimes such as drug trafficking also earn a criminal a trip to the death chamber.
Today, other nations are urging China to put a stop to their barbaric ways and treat their people with dignity and respect. While it might take a while before this authoritarian state does that or will even consider doing that, the rest of the world are still hopeful that change is coming in this mammoth nation, and hopefully, it is for the better.