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Human rights in China need to improve: report

Human rights in China need to improve: report

Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD), a nonprofit organization set up by the government to promote democracy around the world, has concluded that China's human rights situation did not improve this year.
According to the TFD's annual China human rights report, which will be officially released Dec. 31, human rights protections in China in social, political, judicial, economic, environmental, educational and cultural spheres still have room for further improvement.
The report found that China's system and its legal environment protect those government officials who infringe on citizen's human rights, while, at the same time, policies and regulations which can protect human rights are not effectively implemented.
The report points out that the Chinese regime continued to pressure Chinese dissidents and human rights defenders and restrict freedom of speech this year, and it also severely punished those who criticized the shoddy construction quality of buildings that collapsed in the Sichuan Earthquake in May 2008.
The Chinese government also imposed new ways to control Internet access and interfered with the news media after the Beijing Olympics, while also using a more systematic approach to apply greater pressure on human rights defenders, the report says.
All of these factors contributed to the continued deterioration of human rights in the country, the report observes.
Although China issued its first action plan on human rights this year, vowing to address a host of issues from torture to the death penalty and the environment, it still remains debatable whether China will be able to implement the plan, as it still executes more people than any other country in the world, the report says.
In terms of economic and environmental rights, the Chinese government lacks a practical and comprehensive development plan to solve outstanding problems left over from the past, with the rural garbage issue requiring the most urgent attention, the report says.
The report, which was first published in 2003, also points out that the blocking of many foreign news and domestic human rights-related Web sites also violates people's right to know and their freedom of speech.
(By Ming-chung Lee and Fanny Liu)