CECC Releases 2008 Annual Report on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in China

Congressional-Executive Commission on China | www.cecc.gov

Congressional-Executive Commission on China Releases 2008 Annual Report on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in China

November 18, 2008

(Washington, DC)—The Congressional-Executive Commission on China adopted its 2008 Annual Report on October 31 by a vote of 22 to 1. The 23-member Commission was created by Congress in 2000 to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China. The full text of this year's report is available on the Commission's website (www.cecc.gov), along with a PDF containing case records of 1,088 political prisoners currently detained or imprisoned in China.

"The findings of this year's Annual Report prompt us to consider not simply what the Chinese government and Communist Party may do in the months and years ahead, but what we must do differently in managing our relationship with China," said Representative Sander Levin, Chairman of the Commission in a joint statement with Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Co-Chairman of the Commission.

"In spite of what the Chinese government has written into its laws and regulations, China’s leaders in practice have failed to abide by their commitments, including commitments to WTO norms and other international economic norms, to worker rights, and to the free flow of information,” Levin and Dorgan said. "China’s rapid production of new legislation by itself is not a sign of progress...China's repeated failure to live up to its international commitments has seriously damaged its credibility."

The Report finds that "the Chinese government's and Communist Party’s increasing reliance on emergency measures as instruments of social control over the last year has underscored the downside risk of insufficient or ineffective rule of law reforms," and that “the Chinese government’s and Communist Party’s continuing crackdown on China’s ethnic minority citizens, ongoing manipulation of the media, and heightened repression of rights defenders reveal a level of state control over society that is incompatible with the development of the rule of law."

"China repeatedly has failed to abide by its commitments to internationally recognized standards," Levin said. “It is vital that there be continuing assessment of China’s commitments to individual human rights, including worker rights, and the safeguards of the rule of law. This is not a matter of one country meddling in the affairs of another. Other nations, including ours, have both the responsibility and a legitimate interest in ensuring compliance with international commitments."

The Commission consists of nine members of the House of Representatives, nine Senators and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President. The Commission’s Annual Report is among the most comprehensive, public examinations of the state of human rights and the rule of law in China produced by the US government.

Click here to view this press release on CECC Chairman Representative Sander Levin's website.