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China's Official Covid Rates Are Down. But Has That Come at the Cost of Human Rights?

I imagine January has been a relatively good month for Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Covid-19 pandemic appears to be largely under control in his country, and China's is the only major economy in the world expected to report growth for…
Chinese paramilitary police wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus stand guard near the portrait of Chinese leader Mao Zedong on Tiananmen Gate near Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Saturday, January 9, 2021. 
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In February 2020, the foreign ministers of the Holy See and China met in their highest-level official encounter in decades. Their agenda included the September 2018 provisional agreement that allows…
Pope Francis meets a group of faithful from China at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, April 18, 2018.
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On the surface, it seems that many people from China living in Canada do not shy away from voicing their political opinions. This month, at McMaster University, a Chinese student group issued a statement condemning a Uyghur activist’s speech at the…
China: One Belt, One Road, Lots of Obligations PHOTO
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NEW YORK — “People look at disabled people and think they don’t have sex. We have sex. And we can be infected with HIV.” John Meletse is a deaf, gay, and HIV-positive South African. When he went to get tested for HIV in 2001, the clinic staff couldn’t…
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Three years ago, the African Union began a continent-wide campaign to reduce the number of women who die when pregnant or giving birth. Called the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa, its slogan is "Africa cares: no woman…
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I met Nonkulelo* while interviewing women in the Eastern Cape about their experience of pregnancy and the public health system. She told me about her daughter, Fezeka*. A week after 20-year-old Fezeka had delivered a baby girl at a local health facility…
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South Africa's tourism website describes the country as the "land of good times and friendly people". Sadly, Araya Y, a pregnant Somali refugee living in Port Elizabeth, did not experience this side of the country. Instead, when she went to a government…
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Nomsa, a 20-year-old woman from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, showed me a scar on her thigh. She said it came from a wound inflicted by a nurse at a community health centre in 2010. The nurse, Nomsa said, used a pair of scissors "to make me open my legs…
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Dr. Eddie Mhlanga, South Africa’s chief director of maternal and women’s health, has movingly written about how he, as a conservative Christian, changed his mind on whether abortion should be a crime. When he was a young doctor, a colleague died in his…
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The National Human Rights Action Plan wraps up after two years, but confessions extracted by torture are still accepted in Chinese courts

China's first National Human Rights Action Plan committed the Chinese government to end the practice of "extortion of confessions by torture" and put police and security forces on notice that "it is strictly forbidden to extort confessions by torture." In…
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In September, Premier Wen Jiabao attended a UN Aids sponsored summit on HIV/Aids. "We cannot turn a deaf ear to the call of life," he said, while announcing a China-Africa strategic partnership on health and development. Today, on World Aids…
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In 1988, while Nelson Mandela was in prison, he contracted tuberculosis (TB). TB is common in prisons, with overcrowded cells and poor ventilation facilitating transmission. Mandela is now long free, but TB remains a threat to all prisoners - and to all…
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"[H]e started to whip me on my back with twisted electrical wire," said Kakada, recalling his detention in a so-called "youth rehabilitation center" in Cambodia. "I was in such pain. Sometimes I cry alone, after the beating, because it was so painful. I…
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Local officials often prioritize economic gain at the expense of public health

At the end of March, a Chinese newspaper reported that four children died and many more fell ill in Shanxi province after receiving vaccines that were not properly stored. The heat-sensitive vaccines had been taken out of air-conditioned rooms because…
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Just before Human Rights Watch released our report on human rights violations in Chinese drug detention centers on January 7, the Chinese Ministries of Health and Public Security ordered detention centers and jails to improve medical care. But…
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For years now, women’s groups in Southern Africa have campaigned tirelessly to ensure that the Southern African Development Community adopt the Protocol on Gender and Development. Yesterday, the SADC finally took that historic step. Member states will be…
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Human Rights Watch's March 2004 HIV/AIDS report, Deadly Delay, highlighted laws in South Africa preventing children's access to life-saving medicine and antiretroviral treatment. This month, the government expanded the definition of a caregiver or…
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Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, known for his work on poverty and hunger, has written that the best policy to prevent famine is a free press. Exposing the truth is more than half the battle when it comes to averting famine. In many ways, the…