Two sides of the coin

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 February, 2009, 12:00am

What the government report says about human rights shortcomings ...

Re-employing workers laid off from state-owned or collective enterprises remains a daunting task

Pressure on social security funds is tremendous

The irrational industrial structure has not been addressed

Work safety is inadequate and those flouting rules get off too lightly

Food safety rules are flawed

Junior civil servants lack sufficient awareness of human rights. Laws are still enforced poorly and miscarriages of justice persist

... and achievements

The promulgation of labour laws

Higher social security spending

Cheap public housing for low-paid

Preferential treatment for schools in rural, inland, western and impoverished border areas

Appeals against death sentences heard in open court; Supreme People's Court regains right to review such sentences

Fair trials are guaranteed, as are lawyers' rights to meet and defend clients, see files and collect evidence

Preferential policies for ethnic minorities

The shortcomings according to Amnesty International ...

Hundreds of thousands incarcerated without trial or access to a lawyer

Household registration system makes rural labourers in cities second-class citizens

Submission to UN lacks input from domestic NGOs and activists, and ignores arbitrary detention, disappearances, torture, killings, and the deprivation of freedom of religion and expression in Tibetan areas

Underground Christians persecuted

Abuse of human-rights lawyers, including loss of the right to practise

Falun Gong practitioners tortured, persecuted, deprived of right to life, liberty and personal security, enslaved and denied fair trials

Ban on teaching in Uygur language and destruction of Uygurs' culture and history; exploiting 'war on terror' to step up repression of Uygurs

... and the achievements

Positive engagement with the UN's Universal Periodic Review, including the timely submission of the report

Legal reforms, such as abolishing system allowing round-up and return to home provinces of people without proper papers and restoring top court's review of death sentences

Passage of Labour Contract Law