Chinese rights group urges ‘real pressure’ ahead of Xi’s US visit

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Originally published by Phayul on September 4, 2015

DHARAMSHALA, September 4: A Washington-based human rights watch dog urged the Obama administration to make a meaningful progress on human rights in China and exert ‘some real pressure’ on Chinese President Xi Jinping to end the prevailing rights abuse ahead of Xi’s first state visit to the US since 2013.

China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), a Non-Governmental Organization, accused Xi’s government of continued repressive policies against Tibetans, implementing measures such as sending Han officials to reside in temples, forcing resettlement of nomads, criminalizing religious rites for those who protested through self-immolations, and collectively punishing entire villages for self-immolations.

The rights group noted that the overall human rights condition in China have deteriorated since Xi took power in 2013. “Xi has presided over the detentions and imprisonment of numerous civil society leaders and human rights activists, and overseen one of the most repressive periods in the post-Mao era for ethnic and religious minorities.”

The rights group alleged that China has used excessive use of torture in the Chinese detention centers and prisons. Four individuals involved in sensitive cases are known to have died in prison in the past two years, including Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who passed away on July 12.

With the visit slated for September 24 and 25, the group asked the US to use the brief window of opportunity before the visit to force certain cases including uplifting the travel restrictions on international journalists and diplomats, allowing them to visit Tibet and Xinjiang, enjoying the same freedom of movement that Chinese journalists and diplomats enjoy in the US. 

The group also called for the release of all political prisoners, lawyers and rights activists detained by the administration and cited that the previous meetings between the two presidents as ‘lacking substantive pressure’ and resulting in ‘no improvements.’

Hu Ping, Editor of New York-based Chinese-language monthly Beijing Spring said, “In the two or more years of the Xi Jinping administration, the human rights situation in China has gotten even worse. They are now detaining people for things that they would never have detained them for in the past.”

Expressing similar concerns, Ambassador David Saperstein, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religion Freedom, after his visit to China last month, called for complete religious freedom in Tibet and reassessment of the restrictions on the religious practice of Tibetan Buddhists.

“I urge the Chinese authorities to reassess counterproductive policies, including restrictions on the religious practice of Tibetan Buddhists,” the Ambassador said.


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