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China Releases Human Rights Report Amidst Protests About Activist's Death

Human rights have long been an issue that many government have criticized China over. And with Beijing releasing its newest human rights plan, some are saying it's all talk. 2012-06-13 07:28 AM EST Last Updated: 2012-06-13 12:34 PM EST

On June 11, the Chinese regime released its second issue of the “State Human Rights Action Plan”, also known as SHRAP.

The web site of China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency ran a story about the new plan and how it will be in effect until 2015.

Critics like Cao Shunli, an expert from Peking University’s Law School, say Beijing authorities were suppressing human rights precisely at the time the report was published.

Cao Shunli helped prepare the first issue of SHRAP in 2009. She was later thrown into jail for two years, for, quote, “disturbing governmental offices.”

[Cao Shunli, Former Peking University Professor]:

“About the first SHRAP, I dare not comment on other areas, but human rights had the worst two years. In four years’ time, covered by the new SHRAP issue, what will the human rights situation be? I’m not very optimistic.”

The new SHRAP covers economic, social and cultural rights, civil and political rights, with seven parts in all.

But Cao Shunli says it’s missing some major points.

[Cao Shunli, Former Peking University Professor]:

“The SHRAP hasn’t reached the UN standard to include vulnerable groups. The SHRAP also has avoided sensitive issue of human rights in China. It is actually to support the suppression of petitions, and to encourage corruption.”

Before the new SHRAP was published, activist Li Wangyang was found dead in his Shaoyang hospital room under mysterious circumstances last week. This spurred a mass protest in Hong Kong.

Activists in mainland China launched an initiative called “Investigating Li Wangyang’s Death.” Chinese authorities not only failed to report the news, but have also suppressed Li’s supporters.

Activist Wang Lihong is part of the “Li Wangyang ‘Suicide’ Truth Investigation Committee.” She was arrested on Tuesday, after the school she worked at claimed that she “Engaged in anti-revolutionary activities.”

Huang Qi, founder of website 64tianwang.com, said China’s real human rights record differs greatly from what’s in the SHRAP.

[Huang Qi, 64tianwang.com Founder]:

“Many people experienced various violations, especially in the last 10 years. Demolition and land acquisition incidents have gone up. The number of petitioners has increased by the thousands. Petitioners’ freedom has been restricted when they go to appeal. They are illegally arrested, jailed and detained.”

Cao Shunli says that two years jail hasn’t intimidated her.

In order to help petitioners, she will continue to appeal for human rights until a reasonable result is achieved.

[Cao Shunli, Former Peking University Professor]:

“The 18th Congress is approaching; many police are on the streets to catch people. With so many police around, can’t you tell what China’s human rights situation is? Who are they after? Terrorists? Criminals? They are there to catch human rights activists.”

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