China and Tibet
The Chinese leadership's preoccupation with stability in the face of continued economic and social upheaval fueled an increase in human rights violations. China's increasingly prominent international profile, symbolized in 2001 by its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and by Beijing's successful bid to host the 2008 Olympics, was accompanied by tightened controls on fundamental freedoms. The leadership turned to trusted tools, limiting free expression by arresting academics, closing newspapers and magazines, strictly controlling Internet content, and utilizing a refurbished Strike Hard campaign to circumvent legal safeguards for criminal suspects and alleged separatists, terrorists, and so-called religious extremists. In its campaign to eradicate Falungong, Chinese officials imprisoned thousands of practitioners and used torture and psychological pressure to force recantations. Legal experts continued the work of professionalizing the legal system but authorities in too many cases invoked "rule of law" to justify repressive politics. After the September 11 attacks in the United States, Chinese officials used concern with global terrorism as justification for crackdowns in Tibet and Xinjiang.
Starting in late 2000, authorities began tightening existing restrictions on the circulation of information, limiting the space available to academics, journalists and Internet users. Attacks on academic researchers may have been partly a response to the January 2001 publication of the Tiananmen Papers, a collection of government documents spirited out of China which described in detail the role played by Chinese leaders at the time of the historic June 1989 crackdown.
In December 2000, Guangdong's publicity bureau told newspapers and journals not to publish articles by eleven prominent scholars. In June 2001, one of those named, economist He Qinglian, fearing imminent arrest, fled China. Although her 1998 book, China's Pitfalls, had been widely praised by the Communist leadership for its exposé of corruption, she later angered authorities when she publicized the widening income gap in the country.
Between February and September, four Chinese academics who were either naturalized U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents were arrested, tried on charges of spying for Taiwan, and then deported. The four were Dr. Gao Zhan, a scholar at American University in Washington; journalist and writer Wu Jianmin; Qin Guangguang, a former editor and scholar; and Dr. Li Shaomin, a naturalized U.S. citizen teaching in Hong Kong. Sichuan native Xu Zerong, a Hong Kong resident since 1987, detained in June 2000, was still in custody in November 2001.
Scholars were also affected when the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences rescinded invitations to foreign and Taiwan scholars to participate in an August 2001 conference on income disparities. In November 2000, authorities cancelled an officially sponsored poets' meeting in Guangxi province after it became known that dissident poets, some of whom helped underground colleagues publish, were expected to attend. Three organizers were detained. In May, police in Hunan province raided a political reading club that had attracted teachers and intellectuals, and detained several participants including the founder.
Restrictions on information flows also affected HIV-AIDS research and reporting. In May, Beijing prohibited Dr. Gao Yaojie, who had helped publicize the role of unsanitary blood collection stations in the spread of the disease, from traveling to the U.S. to receive an award. Earlier, Henan health officials had accused her of being used by "anti-Chinese forces;" local officials, who often profited from the sale of blood, had warned her not to speak out. In July, village cadres refused to allow her to enter their AIDS-ridden villages.
Media regulations were also tightened. In November, the Communist Party's top publicity official signaled a new policy when he told a meeting of journalists that "the broad masses of journalists must be in strict agreement with the central committee with President Jiang Zemin at its core," a warning repeated in January by Jiang himself. The same month, a Party Central Propaganda Department internal circular warned that any newspaper, television channel, or radio station would be closed if it acted independently to publish stories on sensitive or taboo topics such as domestic politics, national unity, or social stability. The regulations instituted a new warning system; after three citations, a media outlet was subject to closure.
By June, the Party had instituted a stricter regime. A decree expanded taboo content to include speculation on leadership changes, calls for political reforms, criticism of Party policies including those related to ethnic minorities or religion, and rejection of the guiding role of Marxism-Leninism and Mao-Deng theories, among many other categories. The decree forbade independent reporting on major corruption scandals, major criminal cases, and human and natural disasters and threatened immediate shutdown for violators. The government also ordered a nationwide campaign to educate journalists in "Marxist news ideology."
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee Propaganda Department ordered news media to refrain from playing up the incident, relaying foreign news photos or reports, holding forums, or publishing news commentaries without permission. Chinese youth had welcomed the attacks on Internet postings and officials said the restrictions were needed to prevent damage to U.S.-China relations.
Authorities routinely prohibited the domestic press from reporting on incidents it considered damaging to China's image. After a military truck blew up in Xinjiang in November 2000, three journalists were sanctioned for "violat[ing] news discipline and reveal[ing] a lot of detailed information" before Xinhua, the official news agency, printed the official line on the incident. News media in China are required to use Xinhua reports on any stories that local or central propaganda authorities deem sensitive. In June, Yao Xiaohong, head of news for Dushi Consumer Daily in Jiangxi province, was dismissed after reporting an illegal kidney transplant from an executed prisoner. In October, under pressure from central government publicity authorities, he was fired from his new job at the Yangcheng Evening News in Guangdong province. Jiang Weiping, a Dalian, Liaoning province journalist who had exposed corruption, received a nine-year prison sentence in September 2001 for "leaking state secrets."
Chinese authorities moved against publications as well as individual journalists. In May, Today's Celebrities was peremptorily closed for printing articles about corruption and the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). In June, authorities replaced the acting editor and other editorial staff at Southern Weekend (Nanfang Zhoumuo), China's most outspoken news publication after the magazine published a series of articles blaming the government for problems in rural areas. Officials also closed the Guangxi Business Daily, which had operated for two years as an independent, privately-owned paper, when it refused to merge with the Guanxi Daily. In Jiangsu province, officials ordered the immediate suspension of the Business Morning Daily after it suggested that President Jiang's policies had advanced Shanghai's development at the expense of other cities.
In August, party leaders associated with Jiang used publishing regulations to shutter an opposition party faction, suspending the theoretical journal Seeking Truth, (Zhenli de Zhuiqui) which had opposed Jiang's proposal to allow private entrepreneurs to become party members, and tightening control over Mainstream (Zhongliu) and Contemporary Thoughts, also affiliated with opposition factions.
That same month, the State Council announced revised "Regulations on Printing," which included a sweeping provision forbidding publication of reactionary, erotic, or superstitious materials or "any other" material forbidden by the state. In early November 2000, courts sentenced ten people to prison terms ranging from five years to life for illegally printing and selling books about such topics as the Chinese intelligence community and the film community. In September, tens of thousands of Falungong publications were among some 500,000 documents confiscated in Anhui province.
The foreign press was also muzzled. In early March, after Time ran a story on Falungong, Beijing banned future newsstand sales of the magazine. In June, five security officers beat an Agence France Presse reporter after he photographed a protestor outside a "Three Tenors" concert held to support Beijing's Olympic bid. In July, government officials in Beijing prohibited the U.S. CBS television network from transmitting video footage for a story about Falungong. Chinese authorities banned the October 29 issue of Newsweek when it ran a cover story on corruption.
China Central Television also reneged on a July agreement to air in full U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's Beijing interview. It cut one-fifth of his remarks, including those defending U.S. criticism of Beijing's human rights record.
Other moves to tighten information flows and increase government control included the construction of new jamming facilities aimed at preventing ethnic groups in Tibet and Xinjiang from receiving news from overseas "hostile radio stations." In May, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television ordered all cable TV networks folded into provincial or municipal broadcasting networks. In July and August, the State Press and Publications Administration announced plans to set up publishing conglomerates to consolidate control of magazines and newspapers.
Stringent regulations on rapidly growing Internet use came into effect in November 2000. New regulations required general portal sites to get their news solely from state-controlled media, required that bulletin board services and chatrooms limit postings to approved topics, and made monitoring of postings routine. A month later, Chinese authorities increased the number of Internet police to more than 300,000. In January 2001, a new regulation made it a capital crime to send "secret" or "reactionary" information over the Internet. In February, software called Internet Police 100, capable of "capturing" computer screens and "casting" them onto screens at local public security bureaus, was released in versions that could be installed in homes, cafés, and schools. But even with some sixty sets of regulations in force, President Jiang in July decried the spread of "pernicious information" over the Web and called the existing legal framework inadequate.
Chinese regulations limited news postings on the websites of U.S.-based companies operating in China. The English chatroom of SOHU.com, partly owned by Dow Jones, posted a list of issues prohibited on the Internet by Chinese law, including criticism of the Chinese constitution, topics which damage China's reputation, discussion that undermines China's religious policy, and "any discussion and promotion of content which PRC laws prohibit." The posting continues: "If you are a Chinese national and willingly choose to break these laws, SOHU.com is legally obligated to report you to the Public Security Bureau." An internal AOL memo recommended that if AOL were asked what it would do if the Chinese government demanded records relating to political dissidents, AOL staff should respond "It is our policy to abide by the laws of the country in which we offer services."
Chinese officials stopped licensing new Internet cafes beginning in April while public security departments checked more than 55,000 cafes. In October, officials announced that more than 17,000 had been closed. Internet bulletin boards, chat rooms, and online magazines, including university-based sites and those catering to journalists, were also closed. Sites that were normally blocked, such as those of U.S. newspapers, were unblocked during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Shanghai in mid-October, but blocked again as soon as the conference was over.
At least sixteen people were arrested or sentenced in 2001 for using the Internet to send information or express views that the leadership disliked. Four others were tried at the end of September on charges of subversion for organizing a new youth organization and publishing articles about political reform. As of mid-November, there was still no information available on the outcome of Huang Qi's secret trial in August 2001. Huang was charged with subversion for featuring articles about democracy on his website.
Political dissidents continued to be persecuted, including members of the banned China Democracy Party. Activists associated with the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance, which seeks to promote Mongolian traditions and cultural values, and farmers in the Three Gorges dam area protesting corruption associated with resettlement in the dam basin were also monitored and in some cases arrested and sentenced on spurious charges.
On April 3, 2001, President Jiang initiated a three-month Strike Hard (yan da) campaign. Stressing the need to safeguard social stability and the reform process, he asked that improvements in fighting crime be made with "two tough hands." The campaign featured hastily processed cases, denial of due process rights, summary trials, harsh sentences, mass sentencing rallies, and an upsurge in executions. Although the use of torture to elicit confessions was illegal, such confessions, admissible in court, were officially acknowledged. Li Kuisheng, a prominent lawyer in Zhengzhou, Henan, was finally cleared of all charges and released in January 2001. He had been arrested in November 1998 after defending a client fighting corruption charges, and under torture had "confessed" to fabricating evidence.
Provinces and municipalities, in a kind of bizarre competition, reported regularly on their compliance with the campaign. Their accounts included totals of those apprehended, sentenced, and executed, and information on the kinds of crimes committed. Capital sentences were imposed for some sixty offenses including, in addition to violent acts, economic crimes, drug trafficking, smuggling, arms dealing, racketeering, counterfeiting, poaching, pimping, robbery, and theft. During the first month of Strike Hard, some 10,000 people were arrested and at least five hundred executed. By the end of October, at least 1,800 people had been executed, at least double that number had received death sentences, and officials had announced they would continue the campaign at least through June 2002 with increased "intensity."
Despite the Strike Hard campaign, officials in some areas implicitly acknowledged unfairness in the criminal justice system. In November 2000, Liaoning officials announced that prosecutions in some cities would be based on proof rather than confessions, thus guaranteeing suspects' right to remain silent during criminal interrogation. In January, the vice-president of the Supreme People's Court admitted to corruption within the legal system, including intentional errors of judgment, forged court papers, and bribe taking. In June, the Supreme People's Procuratorate issued six new regulations to prevent violations in the handling of cases and acknowledged Communist Party interference in sensitive cases. However, in August, in Luoyang, Henan province, judges who heard the cases of twenty-three defendants charged in a fire that killed 309 people said they would not release their findings until they had talked to provincial leaders.
China continued to crack down on groups it labeled cults and on independent religious organizations. Falungong continued to experience the harshest repression, with thousands of practitioners assigned to "reeducation through labor" camps and more than 350 imprisoned, many for nothing more than printing leaflets or recruiting followers for protests . On June 11, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate issued a new interpretation of cult provisions in the Criminal Law to make it easier to punish practitioners on a wide variety of charges. Authorities also targeted other so-called cults, among them Zhonggong, Xiang Gong, Guanyin Famin, and Kuangmin Zhaimen, sentencing their leaders, closing down their offices, and seizing their publications.
A few weeks before Christmas 2000, hundreds of "illegal" Protestant and Catholic churches and Buddhist and Taoist temples and shrines in Wenzhou were demolished. In March and April, several dozen house church leaders in Hubei province were detained; in May, twelve others were administratively sentenced in Inner Mongolia. Beijing also instituted a special study group to bring Christianity "into line with socialism" through reinterpretation of basic beliefs. The continuing government-ordered merger of Catholic dioceses, a move that went unrecognized by Rome, also signaled Beijing's determination to run the church in accord with its own needs. In October, after Pope John Paul expressed regrets for Catholic Church errors committed during the "colonial period" and expressed hope of normalized relations, Chinese religious officials responded by demanding that the Vatican first sever its ties with Taiwan, refrain from "using the pretext of religious issues to meddle in Chinese internal affairs," and apologize for last year's canonization of "foreign missionaries and their followers who committed notorious crimes in China." Detentions in 2001 included those of several elderly influential bishops and priests. One priest, Father Lu, was sentenced administratively in April to three years' reeducation through labor for refusing to join the official Catholic Patriotic Association and continuing to preach the gospel and celebrate Mass. In May, the Chinese government leveled the grave of Bishop Fan Xueyan, a prominent "underground" bishop who died in 1992, to prevent Catholics from paying their respects.
Reports of clashes between police and workers and farmers protesting layoffs, unpaid wages and benefits, corruption, and relocation problems continued throughout the year. In April, police in Yuntang, Jiangxi arrested five villagers who had been leading a three-year protest against new taxes, then stormed the village killing two unarmed protestors and injuring some thirty-eight others. In October, police in Qingdao, Shandong detained protestors demonstrating against the city's failure to honor its commitment to provide appropriate housing for residents displaced by a real estate project.
Labor activists also continued to be targeted. In one prominent case, Li Wangyang, imprisoned from 1989 to 2000 for labor activism, was sentenced in September to a new ten-year prison term after petitioning for compensation for mistreatment suffered while serving the prior term. Li's sister received a three-year administrative sentence on June 7 for publicizing her brother's case.
In October 2001, authorities passed a new Trade Union Law requiring enterprises with more than twenty-five workers to establish a union and prohibiting management personnel from holding important union positions, but only government-affiliated unions were mentioned in the law and the right to strike was not guaranteed. Also in October, authorities revised residential regulations to allow rural residents to apply for residence in some small cities and towns so long as they could first find jobs and homes. In most cities, however, continuance of the existing permit system left migrants open to abuses by their employers, the police, and private security guards. Most migrant parents, even if legally registered, could not afford school fees for regular city schools, forcing them to send their children back to the countryside, keep them out of school, or send them to inferior "migrant" schools. Before the start of classes in September, officials closed fifty migrant schools in one Beijing district.
China revised its overall Tibetan policy in June 2001, the fourth such change since it took command of the region in 1950. Goals for 2001-2006 included accelerated economic development and tightened control over alleged "secessionist" activities. During a July visit, Vice-President Hu Jintao stated that it was "essential to fight unequivocally against separatist activities by the Dalai clique and anti-China forces in the world."
Efforts to engage the Chinese leadership in a dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama were unsuccessful in 2001. Following the Dalai Lama's criticism of Chinese policy during a speech to the European Parliament general assembly on October 24, Chinese officials reiterated their position that talks could take place only if the Dalai Lama renounced his "separatist stand" and openly acknowledged that Tibet was an inalienable part of China, Taiwan merely a province, and "the government of the People's Republic of China the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China."
At the beginning of the Tibetan New Year in February, government workers, cadres, and school children were banned from attending prayer festivals at monasteries or from contributing to temples and monasteries. During Monlam Chemo, formerly a festival of great religious significance, monks at Lhasa's major monasteries were not permitted to leave their respective complexes, and government authorities banned certain rites.
The Strike Hard campaign in Tibet had a decidedly political focus. At a May meeting in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), courts were ordered to carry out the campaign forcefully against "those whose crimes endanger state security," and "those who guide people illegally across borders," in other words, against those who help Tibetans reach Nepal or Dharamsala, India, the Dalai Lama's home in exile. During the first month of the campaign, 254 people were caught trying to leave or reenter the TAR, many allegedly carrying "reactionary propaganda materials." In June, police in the Lhasa region detained hundreds of Tibetans who burned incense, said prayers, or threw tsampa (roasted barley) into the air in defiance of an order banning celebration of the Dalai Lama's birthday. Some twenty Tibetans were arrested or sentenced in 2001 for "splittist" activities. In October, at least three foreign tourists and three Tibetans were detained in Lhasa in October for displaying the banned Tibetan flag and shouting pro-independence slogans.
Authorities cut back the number of nuns and monks from 8,000 to 1,400 at the Buddhist Study Center Larung Gar near Serthar in Sichuan province, destroying their housing as they left. A similar order was put into effect at Yachen, another encampment in Sichuan. Authorities continued to deny access to the Panchen Lama, the second most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism. The boy, now twelve years old, disappeared from public view in 1995 after Beijing chose another child as the reincarnation. Chadrel Rinpoche, the senior lama who led the search, was still in prison. He was last seen in mid-May 1995 shortly before he was sentenced to a six-year prison term.
Even before September 18, when the Chinese government publicly equated Uighur calls for autonomy or independence with global terrorism, Beijing had instituted strict measures to crush "separatism" and "religious extremism" in Xinjiang. In April, at the beginning of the nationwide Strike Hard campaign, Ablat Abdureshit, chairman of the region, was explicit as to targets in Xinjiang: "national splittists," "violent terrorists," and "religious extremists." At the same time, the leadership reiterated its determination to develop the region economically. Both campaigns were entrusted to patriotic Party cadres working at the grassroots, kept in check by a local law passed in May threatening punishment should they sympathize with Uighur aims. In June, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (formerly the Shanghai Five), composed of China, Russia and four republics in Central Asia, reiterated its pledge of cooperation to combat "terrorism, separatism and extremists" and to establish "a regular anti-terrorist structure."
Efforts to bring religious practices under the aegis of the state included the April formation of a China Islamic Affairs Steering Committee under the administration of the Islamic Association of China. The members, sixteen senior China-based experts on Islam, interpreted religious doctrines in accordance with Chinese law, drafted sermon pamphlets, and worked to bring Islam into conformity with Chinese political ideology. An imam "patriotic reeducation" campaign, begun in March, assigned some 8,000 religious leaders to twenty-day sessions stressing patriotism, upholding Party leadership, combating separatism, and the like. In a number of cases, mosques were leveled, clerics arrested, and "illegal" books and audio cassettes confiscated.
Although there were credible reports of violence by Uighur separatists in Xinjiang, strict Chinese controls on information coming from the region often made it impossible to know whether particular individuals had indeed committed criminal acts or whether they were being punished for exercising their rights to free political expression, association, or assembly. Typical charges included "splittism," subverting state power, setting up an organization to establish Islamic rule, stockpiling weapons, endangering social order, and printing anti-government literature. There were also new reports of torture, forced confessions, unfair trial procedures, and collective punishment. In November 2000, Abdulelil Abdumejit died while serving a sentence for the anti-Chinese riots in Yining in 1997. Supporters claim he died from beatings and torture; the state claims he died from his refusal to follow an appropriate medical regime.
The Strike Hard campaign exacerbated the rate of arrests and sentencing. Within three months of the campaign's start in April, Xinjiang police reported that they had arrested 605 suspects, destroyed six separatist and terrorist organizations, and, in conjunction with the procuracy, held more than one hundred rallies before 300,000 spectators to parade "criminals" and announce sentences before a public expected to signify approval. Rebiya Kadeer, a Uighur businesswoman sentenced to an eight-year prison term in March 2000 for sending local newspapers to her husband in the U.S., continued to be limited to one family visit every three months. Rebiya's four sons, one of whom was released from a "reeducation through labor" camp in February, continued to be subjected to harassment and surveillance.
Hong Kong authorities continued to defer to Beijing on a range of important questions. In July, Hong Kong's legislature, of which elected members are a minority, passed legislation acknowledging Beijing's power to remove Hong Kong's chief executive, even though the Basic Law, which governs Hong Kong-mainland relations, is silent on the question. Although many observers noted a continuing trend toward media self-censorship and other pressures on civil liberties, the year was also significant for what did not happen. Despite surveillance and escalating rhetoric, the Hong Kong government did not ban Falungong or enact an anti-cult law. After losing a "right of abode" case in Hong Kong's high court, authorities did not seek reinterpretation from Beijing as they had in May 1999. Finally, government and university officials did not block Li Shaomin, convicted in July on the mainland of spying for Taiwan and subsequently deported, from returning and resuming his teaching duties at the City University of Hong Kong.
No independent watchdog organizations were permitted in China; in Hong Kong there was a vibrant NGO community functioning without any apparent government interference.
On February 28, China ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights but took a reservation on the right to freely organize and join trade unions. In May, the International Labor Organization signed an agreement to provide assistance with social security, job retraining, and worker health and safety concerns, but did not address the right of free association. China still had not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it signed in 1998.
Mary Robinson, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, visited Beijing in February and November for workshops on punishment of minor crimes and human rights education, respectively. In her November visit, Robinson also met with Jiang Zemin, pressed for access for the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, warned China not to use the war on terrorism to justify its crackdown in Xinjiang, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding for expanded technical cooperation. In August, the U.N. held a workshop in Beijing on human rights and the police.
On April 19, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights adopted China's no-action motion, twenty-three to seventeen with twelve abstentions and one absence, blocking debate of a U.S.-sponsored resolution critical of China's rights record. No other governments co-sponsored the resolution.
In August, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued "concluding observations" following review of China's report on its implementation of the convention. The committee expressed concern about restrictions on freedom of religion for national minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang, and discrimination in education, particularly in Tibet. In May, the Committee reviewed Hong Kong's record under the Convention, noting the SAR's failure to enact an anti-racial discrimination law.
China waged an aggressive campaign on behalf of Beijing's bid to host the Olympics in 2008. Human rights were raised in the international debate leading up to the July 17 decision in Moscow to award the games to Beijing, but the IOC set no human rights preconditions and ignored appeals from Human Rights Watch and others to set up an independent monitoring committee. Chinese officials publicly pledged to allow foreign journalists covering the games unrestricted access to the country.
The Bush administration's policy towards China shifted from a confrontational posture early on, to cordial by mid-year, to cooperative in the post-September 11 climate. Bush put a heavy emphasis on religious freedom. But after September 11, it was unclear how effectively the administration would balance human rights concerns, trade, and cooperation with China on anti-terrorism initiatives.
The early months of the Bush administration were marked by tensions over arms sales to Taiwan and detentions of China scholars. When Vice Premier Qian Qichen visited Washington to meet Bush in March to smooth relations, Bush raised specific cases of detained academics. A low point came in April when Chinese forces captured a U.S. Navy spy plane and its crew.
The administration embraced expanded trade with China, and supported China's formal entry into membership of the World Trade Organization on November 10 at the Doha, Qatar ministerial meeting.The National People's Congress had not ratified the accession agreement by mid-November.
A Congressional-Executive Commission on China was established mid-year; it was required under legislation enacted in October 2000 giving China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR). It had nine members each from the House and Senate, and representatives from the departments of State, Commerce, and Labor. The commission was charged with monitoring human rights, rule of law, labor rights, and religious freedom in China and with making U.S. policy recommendations. But its first report, due in October 2001, was delayed until 2002, and the Commission held no meetings or hearings during the year.
The administration and Congress were active in pressing for consular access to detained China scholars and for their prompt release and return to the U.S. The high profile cases of Gao Zhan and Li Shaomin were resolved just days before Secretary Powell's Beijing visit in July.
During his visit, Powell announced resumption of a U.S.-China human rights dialogue, which China had suspended following the NATO bombing of its Belgrade embassy in 1999. A dialogue meeting held from October 9-11 in Washington, DC produced no immediate results.
In late October, Bush met Jiang Zemin for the first time for bilateral talks at the Shanghai APEC summit. Bush reportedly raised human rights issues, urged dialogue with the Dalai Lama, and publicly said that no government should use the anti-terrorism campaign "as an excuse to persecute minorities within their borders." When U.S. military strikes began against Afghanistan, China had appealed for international support for its crackdown in Xinjiang.
Canada, European Union, and Japan
During trade meetings in China in February, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien raised human rights concerns in Tibet and the crackdown on Falungong, and the two countries held a human rights dialogue in July.
The European Union, under public pressure to show more progress from its human rights dialogues with China--nine had taken place since 1997--made public in January a set of objectives including China's ratification of U.N. covenants, cooperation with U.N. human rights mechanisms, restrictions on the use of the death penalty, and international access to prisoners in Tibet and Xinjiang. In February, the Swedish presidency presided over an E.U.-China rights dialogue and the E.U. held a seminar on the death penalty in Beijing in May.
In late May, in advance of the Asia-Europe Meeting of E.U. and Asian foreign ministers in Beijing, the E.U. Council published a revised policy statement on China, declaring that the E.U. must increase its engagement. Chris Patten, E.U. Commissioner for External Affairs, argued that expanded contacts would "support China's transition to an open society based upon the rule of law and respect for human rights."
A China-E.U. summit took place in Brussels on September 5, led by Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and Premier Zhu Rongji. Talks focused on China's prospective WTO membership, illegal immigration and trafficking of Chinese to Europe, and the treatment of North Korean refugees in China. The two sides affirmed their interest in continuing the human rights dialogue, although Zhu insisted that China's human rights record was the best it had ever been.
Japanese policy towards China was marked by tensions over a decision to allow the former Taiwanese president permission to come to Japan for medical treatment in April, Chinese outrage over official approval of Japanese history textbooks that sanitized Japan's record during World War II, and a visit to a war shrine by new Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in August. The prime minister went to China in early October, in advance of the APEC summit, to apologize to the Chinese "victims of aggression" and to explain new legislation allowing Japan's Self Defense Forces to give logistical support for U.S. attacks in Afghanistan. Another session in Japan's bilateral human rights dialogue with China was agreed to in principle, but as of November, no meeting had taken place.
In fiscal year 2001, the World Bank gave over U.S. $787 million in loans to China, mainly for environmental and infrastructure projects. In fiscal year 2002, which began in July, it estimated that approximately $950 million in new projects would be approved. The Bank also continued to fund transportation projects in Xinjiang and gave small grants to government-sponsored "NGOs," including groups working on HIV-AIDS and environmental initiatives. It made some efforts to expand its consultation process with local communities and international NGOs in designing new projects, but did not provide new financial support for legal and judicial reform or use its policy dialogue with China to promote anti-corruption initiatives.
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