China hails year of ‘remarkable progress’ in human rights as US and EU warn situation is worsening

by Mimi Lau / 15 December 2017/ SCMP

China hailed a year of “remarkable” progress in human rights by widening its definition to praise achievements in fields such as anti-corruption and legal reform as it continued its drive to redefine the concept in the face of continued international criticism of its record.

Although most international critics have focused on issues such as the detention and death in custody of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo, a report published on Friday used Beijing’s own distinct concepts of what constitutes human rights to hail what it sees as its accomplishments in the field in 2016.
Earlier this month the European Union and the United States released statements saying they were “extremely concerned” about the deterioration of human rights in China, citing measures such as internet restrictions and the detention of lawyers.

China also faced immense international pressure following the death this year of Liu, a prominent dissident who was sentenced to 11 years in 2009.

He was only allowed a brief reunion with his wife Liu Xia before his death from cancer in July and his body was hastily cremated.

His widow is still being tightly monitored by the authorities and her whereabouts and well-being are currently unknown.

But the authorities in Beijing have been unmoved by such complaints and have always defended their record by arguing that human rights should be defined on their own terms.

Former president Jiang Zemin famously said in 2006 that having a full stomach and warm clothes was how human rights should be defined in China. Read more…

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