Friday, 15 December 2017

China's Evolving Definition of Human Rights

Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia suffered human rights violations

With the year ending in just over two weeks, China has already hailed 2017 as one of "remarkable" progress in human rights, including its achievements in anti-corruption and legal reform, which don't have much, if anything to do with human rights.

The latest State Council white paper listed international cooperation on counterterrorism and climate change, as well as the "Sky Net" program to hunt down and repatriate fugitives accused of corruption as human rights achievements.

So forcibly bringing back people to stand for corruption charges is a good thing for human rights?

In the past China has included the right to peace, and the right to economic development.

Migrant workers are being forced out of Beijing
How random and irrelevant to consider these under the meaning of human rights (everywhere else).

Many international critics focused on the detention and death in custody of Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo and how he was only briefly reunited with his wife Liu Xia before he died of cancer in July. Afterwards his body was hastily cremated and the ashes dumped at sea to avoid some kind of memorial for democracy activists.

His widow is still closely watched by the authorities and her whereabouts are still unknown. Doesn't she have human rights?

There are also human rights violations in pushing migrant workers out of Beijing on the pretense of a fire in Daxing District on November 18 that killed 19 people. Following the fire, the authorities immediately launched a 40-day campaign to get rid of the "low-end population", a word that has since been banned from China's cyberspace.

Migrant workers who provide essential services or do jobs that no one else wants to do are being pushed out of the Chinese capital with very little notice and the experience has been so harsh and violent that they don't feel welcome anymore and have no choice but to go back to their hometowns.

Uyghurs' DNA are now being collected by the police
Did the authorities realize what effect this vicious campaign will have on how the city will function from now on?

But another shocking human rights violation is a recent report from The Guardian that says DNA, fingerprints and other biometric data are being collected from Uyghurs in a "health check", called "Physicals for All". It is unclear if patients are aware this data is being collected and shared with the police.

"The mandatory databanking of a whole population's biodata, including DNA, is a gross violation of international human rights norms," said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. It is even more disturbing if it is done surreptitiously, under the guise of a free healthcare program.

"Xinjiang authorities should rename their physical exams project 'Privacy Violations for All', as informed consent and real choice does not seem to be part of these programs," she added.

However, China is ignoring its critics and continuing this terrifying project -- even if someone hasn't committed a crime.

So when China says it's had a "remarkable" year in human rights, it really is living in a parallel universe where its definition is so far removed from everyone else's.

No comments:

Post a Comment