- JAPAN ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- 国際政治 (ISSN:04542215)
- vol.2006, no.145, pp.72-92,L10, 2006-08-29 (Released:2010-09-01)
Since the 1989 Tiananmen Incident, the Chinese government has strongly governed and controlled to constrain democratization. Despite severe limitations, China's citizens have lived better and freer than before 1989 as a byproduct of China's economic reform and opening to the outside world. The enhanced government control following the Tiananmen incident has understandably aroused the civil liberties awareness of the Chinese people vis-à-vis the government, particularly with respect to human rights.The Chinese government has basically rejected western human rights pressure, while at the same time, pursuing a positive strategy at the international level. China has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and is also a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, although this is not yet to be ratified.In line with the continued development of the market economy, China has promoted legal reform including the adoption of the Civil Procedure Law, the revised Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law, Administrative Litigation Act and others. In 2004, China adopted amendments to the Current Constitution including articles for improving the protection of citizens' lawful private property and provisions on respect for human rights. However, full compliance with these legal reforms and international human rights law is a different problem to be analyzed separately.Since 1991, China has published the so-called white paper on human rights practices to advocate its own view on human rights, and to make public a limited amount of information about human rights in China. A number of NGOs and human rights research institutions have been established and are engaging, albeit under significant government scrutiny and control, in academic research and international exchange about human rights. The China Society for Human Rights Studies is a typical government sponsored NGO. It hosts the country's biggest human rights website and published the first human rights magazine in China. In China, while the number of NGOs is increasing rapidly, only NGOs permitted by the government are allowed to engage in westernized human rights development or democratization. Furthermore, international NGOs that are critical of the Chinese government are barred from operating in China.It goes without saying that the 1989 Tiananmen Incident and subsequent human rights battles with Western nations have heightened awareness and concern amongst the international community of China's human rights record. As a result, the Chinese government has become more accommodating, holding over the years an increasing number of meetings and dialogue on human rights with various governments and private organizations. Tibet and Xinjiang, which had hitherto not been treated as human rights issues, are now the object of calls for improvement by the international community. At the UN Commission on Human Rights, Chinese government has fought year after year to resist Western cosponsored resolution for China's human rights abuses. However, it is significant that the Chinese government has accepted visits and activities of High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Rapporteurs, and promoted human rights technical cooperation with the UN agencies.However, China's policies and strategies have not necessarily produced a standard of human rights sufficient to satisfy international community. The criticism from international community remains strong. With China now a member of the new UN Human Rights Council, it will come under increasing pressure to fulfill new obligations with respect to this role and the promotion and protection of human rights.Two vectors in China's human rights development can be identified. Firstly, there exists external pressure, such as calls from international community for the improvement of China's human rights situation in addition to diplomatic pressure.