Senior U.S. Diplomat Announces that the United States Will Not Offer a "China Resolution" in Geneva
Acknowledging some limited progress in the Chinese government’s human rights performance, a senior U.S. diplomat announced March 17 that the United States would not offer a resolution criticizing China’s human rights record at the annual U.N. Commission on Human Rights meeting in Geneva. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Kozak told a House International Relations subcommittee that the Administration remains "deeply concerned about China’s poor human rights record." Kozak emphasized, however, that, as in previous years, the United States had informed the Chinese government that a U.S. decision to pursue or forego on a UNHRC resolution on China would depend on whether concrete steps had been taken to improve human rights conditions. Ambassador Kozak then listed several limited areas of progress, noting that the Chinese government:
- permitted the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to visit China in September 2004 according to the Working Group’s terms (see related story here);
- has loosened the standard by which it evaluates sentence reductions and parole for "security" crimes and announced a national review of cases involving political acts that are no longer crimes under Chinese law (see related story here);
- agreed to a visit by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture on U.N. terms, offering dates of May 23 to June 4, 2005;
- stated through a spokesman on March 15 that no Chinese law prohibits parents from providing religious education to their children (see related story here);
- announced that the International Committee of the Red Cross would be permitted to open an office in China by July 2005 (see related story here);
- clarified that Chinese authorities do not require family members and friends who worship at home to register;
- agreed to a visit by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance;
- agreed to a visit by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom;
- agreed to a visit by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and offered dates of August 29 to September 10, 2005; and
- released Uighur businesswoman Rebiya Kadeer (see related story here).
Assistant Secretary Kozak acknowledged that these steps did not change China’s generally repressive system and he pledged that the United States would continue to press the Chinese government for additional progress.