China whitewashes abuses against ethnic minorities: Amnesty

Amnesty International says that China whitewashed abuses against ethnic minorities in Beijing's first human rights report to UN.

China whitewashes abuses against ethnic minorities: Amnesty

Amnesty International says on Thursday that China whitewashed abuses against ethnic minorities in Beijing's first human rights report to the U.N. Human Rights Council under a new review process.

Diplomats from around the world will question China about its report on Monday, when it takes its turn in a country-by-country process that began last year to assess the rights record of all U.N. members.

"China is committed to engaging in exchanges and cooperation with other countries in the field of human rights," China said in the report, stressing that its laws enshrine human rights and protect women, the elderly, the disabled and ethnic minorities.

Amnesty, while applauding China's willingness to participate in the U.N. review, said the self-assessment "whitewashes serious human rights abuses being committed in the country."

"China's national report fails to list some of the country's most pressing issues," Roseann Rife, Amnesty's Asia-Pacific director, said in a statement.

The report avoided issues that have attracted foreign criticism, such as crackdowns in Tibet and the northwestern East Turkistan region, the London-based rights group said.

Amnesty said the report also failed to mention religious persecution of Falun Gong members, and did not refer to China's system of administrative detention which allows people to be incarcerated without trial or access to a lawyer.

China has 56 officially recognised ethnic minorities. Resentment among those who see their language, culture and religion under threat has occasionally triggered violence, leading to diplomatic embarrassment for Beijing.

A Chinese crackdown on riots in Tibet last March drew international attention to the demands of Tibetan exiles for greater autonomy and led to anti-China demonstrations along some legs of the Olympic torch route.

China detained dozens of Uighurs under the name of "top security threat" for the Games after a suspicous deadly attack on border police.

Uyghur Muslims faced new bans over their religious practices. They couldn't perform Tarawih prayers, special nightly prayers performed during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, and Muslim man couldn't keep their beards and women couldn't cover. Because autorities banned Islamic practice.

China said had arrested almost 1,300 Uighurs during 2008 in East Turkistan, official press said.

East Turkistan is home to more than eight million Uighur population, Muslims who have complained for decades of political oppression.

East Turkistan was occupied by the communist China in 1949 and its name was changed in 1955. The communist China has been excersizing a colonial rule over the East Turkistan since then.

While China's constitution guarantees religious freedom and equal treatment for all minorities, both Tibetans and Uighurs complain about discrimination and restricted worship.

Amnesty said next week's U.N. review should shift attention back to such issues.

"The real test will be in the concrete actions the Chinese authorities take to improve human rights," Rife said.

The Human Rights Council has only 47 members, but all U.N. states can take part in the reviews. Germany, Canada and Russia were scrutinised this week.

Reuters
Last Mod: 05 Şubat 2009, 23:25
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