A report on human rights development in China has concluded that people there face a declining rather than improving human rights environment in many areas of life, The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (台灣民主基金會) said yesterday on Human Rights Day.
Prompted by the strong interest shown by the international community in China's observance of human rights, the foundation has released annual reports on the situation there since it was founded in 2003 to urge the PRC government to improve rights protections for its people.
Foundation Vice President Lin Wen-cheng, who is also a professor at the Institute of Mainland China Studies at National Sun Yat-sen University, said China's population has been deprived of their rights under the oppression of the Chinese Communist Party regime.
He said PRC authorities value controlling power while completely neglecting human lives.
"For those who hoped PRC President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) would make progress, it's now time for total despair. He is not different from his predecessors Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), and Jiang Zeming," Lin said.
Democratic Progressive Party Chinese Affairs Department Director Tung Li-wen said that the PRC government claimed that the rights to survive and develop prevailed over all other human rights. Treating them as "rights" provided by the government, however, would be "putting the cart before the horse," Tung argued.
Statistics show that China's social rights worsened in 2005, with 136,000 workers dying and 700,000 others being injured from workplace accidents, Tung said. China's coal production accounts for one-third of the world's total, but the country suffered 80 percent of the worldwide deaths resulting from coal mining in 2004.
In a paper co-authored with scholar Chen Chun-ju, Academia Sinica (中央研究院) research fellow Lin Cheng-yi (林正義) detailed China's religious persecution, saying it continued to harass and sometimes arrest Chinese Catholics who were loyal to the Vatican instead of to state-run churches backed by the government.
Meanwhile, he noted that over 70,000 cases of public protests in 2004 indicated that Chinese citizens could no longer tolerate their lack of rights, and said it would cost PRC authorities considerable effort and resources if their suppression of rights continued.
Fort Liao (廖福特), an Academia Sinica scholar specializing in law, said that China voiced support for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1998 and should abide by the pact even if the PRC authorities have yet to officially ratify it.
Torture, compulsory physical labor, random arrests, and poor prison management were common issues in China's judicial system as it was not independent from the administrative system, Liao added.