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    Country Reports


Combined third and fourth periodic reports dated 29 May 1997

Twenty three provinces, five autonomous regions and three municipalities make up The People's Republic of China, the most populated country in the world - 1.2 billion inhabitants, or one-quarter of world's population. China is home to fifty-six ethnic groups; the Han Chinese majority comprise 91.9 percent of the population and occupy most positions of power, and the minority groups Zhuang, Uyghur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, and others constitute 8.1 percent. China has an eclectic religious and cultural composition: Buddhists form the largest body of religious believers with an estimated base of over 100 million followers, most from the dominant Han ethnic group. According to official estimates, China also has four million registered Catholics, ten to fifteen million Protestants, and eighteen million Muslims.1 The major cultural influence is Confucianism, an ideology that advocates gender-based division of labor and inferiority of women2 and defines obedience and submission as the primary virtues of a woman.3

The 1982 constitution states that the country is a "Socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants."4 In fact, China is an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through the Politburo controls all political power. Both at the national and regional levels, CCP members hold most top government, military and law enforcement posts. Even though the Chinese revolution granted women equality under the law, this has not translated into the elimination of actual inequality between men and women. Women are absent from positions of power; for instance, they make up only 14 percent of the CCP.5 The All-China Women's Federation, a mass organization, supported by the party, has input in the drafting of laws, regulations and rules concerning women and children but lacks power to make decisions. Its primary responsibility is to follow and promote the party line.6

Marxist ideology has been supplanted by economic pragmatism in the last two years, and economic decentralization has increased the power of regional officials. Despite these reforms, however, China has remained a country in which citizens lack freedom of expression and the right to influence or change the form of government. The government has demonstrated that it has little tolerance for dissent; state security police and personnel have been responsible for numerous human rights violations.7

The Government

Jiang Zemin became president of China in February 1997 following the death of the charismatic Communist patriarch Deng Xiaoping. According to commentators, Jiang's rise to power symbolizes a new type of leadership in China and ascent of a new generation of technocratic leaders "educated as engineers and technicians and steeped in the mores of Chinese bureaucracy."8 Both Jiang and Premier Zhu Rongji are engineers, as are six out of seven Politburo members (one is an architect). Some observers claim that this background implies a different style of leadership, including decentralized and collective decision making.9

From the outset, Jiang initiated an energetic process of economic modernization and privatization. Jiang's top adviser Lu Ji said that "the continued rapid development of China's economy is safeguarded by reform of the political structure," 10 but so far, his government has made little progress towards political reform and freedom of expression.


China has a mixed fast-growing economy. According to World Bank figures, China averages a yearly nine percent increase of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In September 1997, Jiang accepted from the Communist Party Congress a platform of further privatization and modernization of the economy. The reforms that have been implemented thus far have given more independence to businesspeople and have limited state control over the economy and citizens' lives. This has led to the expansion of the private sector with an increased mobility and freedom of employment.

Although poverty levels in China have continued to decline in recent years, many problems persist. Unemployment and underemployment remain acute (ranging from three to ten percent according to official figures), but some reports indicate that the situation is more difficult in rural areas, where it reaches thirty to fifty percent. According to various estimates, the number of people living in poverty ranges from fifty-eight million (official figure) to 350 million.

Worker Rights

Independent trade unions are illegal in China, and attempts to form them are suppressed and leaders imprisoned. The All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) is a part of the state apparatus; the CCP appoints all its leaders and all unions are placed under its leadership. The 1993 ACFTU constitution describes unions as "the link and bridge between the CCP and the working masses." 11

China's first labor code was adopted in 1995 with the purpose of protecting workers' rights in foreign-owned and joint-venture companies. The law does not have a provision for the right to strike, but it contains four new principles: provision for formal labor contracts; arbitration, inspection and compliance with labor regulations; allowance for collective bargaining and contracts negotiation; and firing of workers for economic reasons without state approval. There is, however, evidence that company owners and managers ignore the new law, and that the unions in foreign companies are only symbolic and are often branches of the ACFTU. According to an ICFTU report, the Quality Clothes Factory in Guangzhou forced employees to sign contracts to work twelve-hour days and work overtime on demand.12 Furthermore, the authorities can use force to end any strike. The ICFTU reported that "the National Security Law, the Regulations on Reeducation through Labor and the Regulations on Reforms through Labor allow activists who attempt to organize independent labor action to be detained and imprisoned."13 Some medium and large enterprises have detention centers (laogai) where security officials can detain protesting workers for up to three years.14

In 1997 millions of workers lost their jobs as a result of restructuring and huge layoffs at bankrupt state-run companies. Workers organized and held protests and demonstrations in Nanchong, Sichuan, Guangdong and other provinces. During the July 1997 protest at the state-owned Mianying Silk Spinning Factory and two others that were closed down, authorities called in troops who beat and arrested up to 100 of the demonstrators.15 Protests against state-owned companies owing back wages or unemployment benefits continued across China in 1998. For instance, in November 1998, 500 steel workers demonstrated in the southwestern province of Sichuan.16

Scores of independent trade union activists remained in prisons in 1997, among them Zhou Guoqiang and Liu Nianchun, for their involvement with the League for the Protection of the Rights of Working People (LPRWP). Both were sentenced to three years of forced labor.17 Several trade unionists and human rights activists, the so called "Beijing 16," were serving prison sentences for their involvement in the Free Labor Union of China (FLUC).18 Many labor activists who had founded the Workers' Autonomous Federations (WAFS) in the course of the 1989 pro-democracy movement, also have remained in prisons.19

Freedom of Expression and Human Rights

The Chinese government has taken some positive steps in the area of human rights, including the release of democracy activist and dissident writer Wei Jingsheng, journalists Xi Yang and Zhao Lei, and labor activists Tang Yuanjuan, Li Wei, and Zhou Guoquang in 1997, and the signing (NOTE: not ratification) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in October 1998. Despite these gestures, however, the government has continued to crack down on dissidents seeking to broaden public debate in China and on those trying to establish independent political groups and research centers.20 Throughout 1997 and 1998, the government detained several pro-democracy activists, including Zhu Yufu and Wang Youcai, who attempted to register the Chinese Democratic Party (CDP); the first opposition party in China) and issue its political manifesto.21 Dozens of other CDP activists and democracy advocates were also detained.22 Just weeks after the signing of ICCPR, the authorities closed down the China Development Union, a think tank that sponsored research and seminars concerning public policies. Thousands of activists continue serving prison terms for their peaceful political, social or religious dissent.23


By the end of 1997, fifteen journalists were in prison in China, the largest number in Asia. One of them, Gao Yu, was serving a six-year sentence for "leaking state secrets" in financial articles published in Mirror Monthly, a Hong Kong publication.24 She was awarded the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in May 1997 over an angry reaction from Beijing.

New government press regulations that took effect in February 1997 prohibit the publication of anything that challenges China's constitution, reveals "state secrets," and "harm[s] national security."25 The broad definition of a "state secret" can be applied to any political or economic information that has not been approved for publishing or broadcasting in the state media. This nebulous and far-reaching definition gives officials a powerful tool that can be used against anybody viewed as a critic or threat to the government.

Officials routinely jam Voice of America and Radio Free Asia broadcasts, and dissidents are prohibited from speaking to the foreign press.26 China's authorities have expelled foreign journalists for their critical reporting of the government. In October 1997, China deported a reporter from the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun for the "possession of state secrets,"27 and a month later, a German journalist from Der Spiegel was arrested on the same charge and ordered to leave the country within forty eight hours.28

In December 1997, authorities announced new regulations to restrict the rapidly growing use of the Internet. They justified this control of information as necessary to prevent "splitting the country" or "defaming government agencies." The regulations impose "criminal penalties" and fines of up to US $1,800 on violators. In the past, China had blocked access to World Wide Web sites run by news organizations, dissidents, and human rights groups abroad. In June 1997, in response to the launching of a Chinese version of the on-line Catholic news service Fides, the government issued a warning to the Vatican not to use media to interfere with its religious affairs policies.29


There are no independent domestic Chinese NGOs that openly monitor or comment on the human rights situation. The government has been unresponsive to foreign and international human rights organizations' criticism of the country's human rights situation. It routinely attacks such reports on the grounds that they interfere with China's internal affairs and present an inaccurate picture of the situation. Though China recently acknowledged the universality of human rights and of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it still often publicly maintains the legitimacy of a relativist approach to human rights, in which each country's particular history, social situation and the level of economic development defines how a government defines human rights.

Girl-Child: Infanticide/Orphanages

There exist reports of female infanticide, and with increased use of ultrasound to determine sex, decisions to terminate pregnancies of female fetuses. According to 1994 figures, despite legal penalties, the number of children abandoned in China annually approached 1.7 million. The majority of those admitted to orphanages are female or disabled, and virtually all children put up for foreign adoption are girls. There have been reports of deplorable conditions and mistreatment of children in orphanages, including inadequate nutrition and care and instances of refusal to provide medical treatment resulting in death.30


China's fifty-five ethnic minorities make up about eight percent of the population (108.46 million). Although the government has pledged to increase minority representation in the government and the CCP, they still are excluded from decision-making positions. For example, even in some regions of Xinjiang, an area with almost 100 percent Uyghur population, the local party secretary position is reserved for a Han Chinese.

Many of the development's development policies have resulted in the disruption of traditional living patterns of minority groups, particularly Tibetans (see section below) and the Muslim Uyghur majority of western Xinjiang. Since 1947, China's economic policy has resulted in a large migration of Han Chinese to Xinjiang. As a result, the ratio of Han-Uyghur in the capital city of Urumqi shifted from 20:80 to 80:20, and Han control over the region's political and economic institutions was solidified.31 The Chinese authorities have continued a crackdown on religious practice in Xinjiang. In February 1997, a group of women in Yining was dispersed by the police during the Ramadan festival.


The Chinese government controls all access to and information about the Tibet Autonomous Region. According to numerous reports, however, the preservation of the unique cultural and religious heritage of Tibet and the human rights situation remain of serious concern. There are many reports of torture, arbitrary arrest and detention without trial of Tibetan nationalists who express their views peacefully.32 The government prohibits and suppresses any public activity that it considers to be a potential channel for political dissent.

In the last four years, the government has tried to tighten its grip over Tibetan monasteries, which it considers to be the centers of opposition to Chinese rule.33 There have been reports of imprisonment and torture of monks and nuns accused of political activism. The government has reduced the allowed number of monks who can matriculate into monasteries and has continued the campaign to reeducate monks and nuns. Monks are also required to denounce the Dalai Lama and declare patriotic allegiance to China upon entering monasteries. Although monasteries are still officially led by abbots elected by the monks, they are now required to answer directly to CCP authorities.34 The government has also launched an unsuccessful campaign to discredit the Dalai Lama as a religious leader under the slogan "Buddhism must conform to Socialism and not Socialism to Buddhism."

Although Tibetans received preferential treatment in marriage and family planning policies, they experience discrimination, particularly in employment. The Chinese government heavily subsidizes Tibet's economy; at present China provides funds for over ninety percent of Tibet's budget, making it overly dependent. At the same time, lax economic and tax policies have caused a massive influx of ethnic Han and Hui into the region. The new immigrants often displace Tibetan labor and businesses. This changing pattern of development and expanding tourism has threatened the natural environment and the indigenous culture and traditions of Tibet.35


China resumed control over Hong Kong on 1 July 1997. After more than 150 years of British colonial rule, Hong Kong became a "Special Administrative Region" of China.36 According to the December 1984 Chinese-British Joint Declaration on the handover, Hong Kong would retain a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign affairs and defense matters, and maintain its political, economic and judicial systems for fifty years.37 Although the transfer resulted in some significant changes, such as the disbanding of the elected pre-reversion Legislative Council, most institutions and the large majority of the senior civil servants who oversee the daily operations have remained the same.

The principal human rights problems have included the use of excessive force by the police against detainees, media self-censorship, limitations on public dissent, violence and discrimination against women, and discrimination against the disabled and ethnic minorities. The outgoing government was criticized by Hong Kong-based and international human rights monitoring organizations for opposing proposals to adopt laws against race, age and sexual orientation discrimination.



The 1992 Law on the Protection of Women's Rights and Interests (Fun Quanyi Baozhang Fa) appears to be quite progressive as compared to women's rights legislation in other countries. However, as Jonathan Hecht of the East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School argues, it is not an innovation, as most of its provisions are drawn from earlier legislation on marriage, inheritance, education and labor. Despite official declarations that it would provide a powerful vehicle for protection of women's rights, the law is more normative than remedial. It provides a set of principles to be observed, but claims of violations must be pursued through an administrative system that rests on the discretion of the state.

A woman whose rights have been violated must bring her claim to the relevant government authority, which may pursue the claim at its discretion. The All-China Women's Federation may be called on as advocate, but the Federation is itself an arm of the state system. If the claim could be prosecuted as a crime and the state prosecutor refuses to follow through, the woman has no civil remedies. If the violator is a state enterprise, enforcement must be through the administrative system of that enterprise-a clear conflict of interest. And if it is a private enterprise, there is no administrative system to deal with claims at all.

Because the judicial system is relatively undeveloped, and to the extent that it has been developed deals primarily with commercial claims, it does not provide an avenue of redress. Moreover, the Equality Law itself limits the claims that may be made in a court proceeding. Women can only sue if the violation would constitute a claim under another statute-and those are few.38

The Equality Law is a product of China's pre-enterprise era. With decentralization and privatization of enterprise, and increased population mobility, the structures that could have enforced the law through moral persuasion or control of resources have weakened. The Equality Law is due for a reexamination to develop remedies that are workable in the current economic and political climate.


Detention Centers and Prisons

According to the June 1995 Amnesty International Report on female prisoners of conscience in China (including political and religious prisoners), women in custody suffer much of the same ill-treatment as male detainees, including degrading conditions and torture to extract confessions. In addition, however, women have also been subjected to sexual assault and rape. Although Chinese legislation includes provisions aimed at protecting women against sexual attacks in detention, these protections often fail in practice, particularly at the local level.39


According to various reports, eighty percent of massage parlors in Beijing offer sexual services, and the government's efforts to eliminate the situation have proven ineffective. The increased commercialization of sex and resulting trafficking in women has made the situation worse, and it is often accompanied by an explanation by officials that it is "an unfortunate by product of a free-market economy."40

Evidence indicates that in many cases organized crime groups, business people, the police and military may be involved in the sex business. According to 1996 reports, police owned and operated brothels employing 70,000 prostitutes in the Shanxi province. 41


Although women have the right to vote in village committee elections, only a small fraction of elected representatives are female. Women constitute twenty-one percent of the National People's Congress. They continue to be absent from positions of influence in the CCP and government structures. There is only one woman in the Politburo, and women occupy only three out of forty-one ministerial posts.42


Seventy percent of China's illiterate are female. The 1996 five-year plan for the Advancement of Women made it a priority to increase the literacy of rural women, of whom eighty percent are illiterate. Critics question the government's ability to implement this program, as minimal funding has been allocated to these programs.

In China, still a relatively small percentage of the population (5 million) obtains a university-level education. Women constituted only 36.4 percent of university students in 1996.43


Women continue to report gender - as well as age-based discrimination in the workplace, including wrongful dismissal, demotions and wage gaps. Women are the majority of victims of economic restructuring. According to press reports, in 1997, while they accounted for only forty percent of China's work force, women constituted about sixty percent of all laid-off employees.44 Women between thirty-five and fifty years old were the most affected, as they were far more likely to be laid off and less likely to find a new job than any other group. Female employees were also the first to receive pay reductions when companies experienced financial difficulties.45 After one year, seventy-five percent of laid-off women had not found employment (compared to fewer than fifty percent of men). Local authorities have organized courses for women to help them develop new skills but, according to sociologist Ching Kwan Lee,46 the types of skills offered (as beauticians, seamstresses, domestic helpers, child care providers), only reinforce gender stereotypes.

Press reports indicate that companies are increasingly allowed to discriminate by sex and age even though such practices violate labor laws. According to one study conducted at the Tianjin job fair, ninety-seven out of 100 companies stipulated that only women under thirty years of age could apply. The press reports that in addition to sex and age, employment ads often specify height and other body characteristics of the "desired" female applicant. Some companies exclude women from specific positions because they consider jobs involving travel or work in rural areas too hard for women.47 In addition, many employers prefer to hire men in order to avoid paying for maternity leave and child care. Although the official retirement age in China is sixty for men and fifty-five for women, some companies lower the retirement age for women to forty years. Despite laws providing the same wages for men and women, according to a 1990 survey, on average women's salaries constituted seventy-seven percent of men's salaries.48

Women in the Media

According to a recent survey, even though one-third of Chinese journalists are women and they have the same level of technical and computer skills as their male counterparts, only five percent of them occupy leadership posts in Chinese mass media.49



China is the only country in the world where more women than men commit suicide. According to data gathered by UN World Health Organization and Harvard University, 56.6 percent of all female suicides worldwide occur in China (twenty-one percent of world's female population lives in China), five times more than the world average. According to Canadian psychiatrist Michael Phillips, the suicide rate for rural women is three times larger than that of the urban women. According to Phillips, the main contributing factors are that seventy percent of rural women work in the fields and lead overburdened, poverty-stricken lives. In addition, rural women do not have access to support services, as suicide hot lines and counseling are available only the urban centers.50

Bride Selling

According to press reports, the predominantly rural custom of bride-selling has returned to China. The marriage brokers, slave dealers, obtain women by either kidnapping or purchasing them from poor peasants. Between 1991-1996, police liberated 88,000 kidnapped women and children and arrested 143,000 people involved in the slave trade.51


Family Planning

Despite some signs of relaxation, the Chinese government continues to implement a comprehensive and intrusive family planning program which requires permits to have a child and imposes stiff fines for additional children. The system places the burden mainly on women, and, at the same time, leaves them with no contraception choices except the IUD, sterilization and abortion.52 The government relies on education, propaganda and economic incentives, but it also often uses coercion such as psychological pressure and economic penalties (fines, withholding of social services, demotion, loss of employment, etc.). The State Planning Commission, with the assistance of the Family Planning Association (with eighty-three million members in 1.02 million branches) implements the "one-child policy."53

Couples in urban areas are most affected by the policy. With the exception of Shanghai and the coastal region of northern Zhejiang province, families are required to obtain permission to have their first child and are often denied permission to have a second one. Rural residents (seventy percent of the population) are allowed to have a second child if the first is a girl (based on demands of farm labor and the traditional preference for boys). The controls are least stringent in rural areas and in some minority groups, such as the Tibetans and the Muslim Uyghurs. According to 1996 data, over twenty-four million fines were collected in the period between 1985 and 1993 for children born outside family planning regulations. In cases of unpaid fines, the government confiscated or destroyed homes or personal property. In certain cases families can have an additional child if they pay a high fee, which in Zhejiang constituted twenty percent of parents' combined salary for five years.54

Although the authorities prohibit the use of force in submitting a woman to an abortion or sterilization, poor supervision has resulted in abuses by local officials who force women to undergo the procedures in order to meet state-imposed quotas. Women have an IUD inserted after they give birth to their first child and are sterilized following the birth of the second child. In 1997, only thirty-nine percent of women who required to undergo tubal litigation had been given counseling.55 Many deaths are suspected as result of these operations. In September 1997, a woman's death in Changbo, Guangdong province, was attributed to an intrauterine device that had been inserted as part of the program.

Although terminating pregnancy based on the sex of the fetus is prohibited, some families have used ultrasound to identify female fetuses. The World Health Organization estimates that the male to female birth ratio is 117 to 100 in China as a result of the strict family planning regulations and the traditional preference for boys. Although it is believed that these statistics reflect both the abuse of sonography and the fact that many female births may be unreported to allow parents to try to conceive a boy, female infanticide, abandonment, or neglect of baby girls has occurred in some areas.

New Draft Divorce Law

The divorce rate in China is on the rise and it currently stands at twelve for every 100 marriages. This trend led to efforts, beginning in 1996, to update the 1980 marriage law. One of the authors of the new draft law, Xu Weihua of the All-China Women's Federation, stated that the existing law does not adequately protect women's rights in the event of divorce, resulting in many becoming single mothers and poor. But the draft law, which was publicized by the press in August 1998, has caused controversy even among women. It would make divorce more difficult and provides for punishment of adulterers. While many support stronger rules on property settlement and provisions for child support, some women's rights advocates criticized the draft law because of its "punitive spirit" and provisions for the government's interference in private lives.56 While the 1980 marriage law made it easy to obtain divorce on the ground of "alienation of affection," the new one would add grounds such as adultery, one party's alcoholism and spousal abuse.


According to the official Chinese news agency Xinhua, instances of kidnapping of women and other forms of violence against women resulting from "unequal economic status of men and women, sex discrimination and women's low level of education"57 are on the rise in China.


According to several reports, kidnapping and the sale of women for marriage and prostitution have been serious problems in China despite severe punishment (including death) provided by law. The primary motive suggested for abduction and sale of women is the sex-ratio imbalance, resulting in a considerable shortage of women in many areas. But there have been cases of abduction also in provinces where the male- female ratio is balanced, such as Sichuan and Guangxi. According to a 1995 estimate, tens of thousands of women are sold into slavery each year.

In 1995, the press reported instances of kidnappings from a market in Xian and from markets and bus stops in other cities. According to the reports, the selling of women was a problem mainly in rural areas. The reports alleged that the problem was to be blamed partly on local officials who would ignore the abductions or even participate in the trade.58

Domestic Violence

Although no detailed research on the extent of physical violence against women has been conducted in China, evidence that domestic violence has been increasing has resulted in greater interest in and attention to the problem. According to some surveys, twenty percent of women may have been physically abused by their husbands.59 The All China Women's Federation claims that 8.2 percent of Chinese women have been victims of family violence at least once.

While violence can be grounds for prosecution under Chinese law, there is no specific national spousal abuse law. Despite efforts by some localities and NGOs to draw attention to the issue and increase awareness, efforts have been constrained by lack of funds. For instance, the Shanghai women's shelter was closed after a year when money ran out, and a women's abuse hot line in Beijing stopped functioning for the same reason. As of the end of June 1998, the New Sun Marriage Shelter, a self-funded safe house for battered women in the central Wuhan province, was the only shelter of this kind in China.60

Sexual Harassment

The problems of sexual harassment in the workplace and gender preference in hiring are not addressed by law or policy. The Chinese press, however, reported in July 1998 that the National People's Congress was debating a new sexual harassment law to protect women in the workplace.61


Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination : China. 27/09/96. CERD/C/304/Add.15.

Concerns, Recommendations and Suggestions:

  • Concern at the lack of protective legal provisions for minority groups that are scattered throughout China, as well as the absence of information regarding these minorities' enjoyment of rights enumerated in the Convention.
  • Concern about reports on incentives granted to members of the Han nationality to settle in autonomous areas, as this may result in substantial changes in the demographic composition and in the character of the local society of those areas.
  • Concerns about the actual enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion in China, particularly in the Muslim parts of Xinjiang and in Tibet, including the preservation of places of worship and the exercise of religious rights by members of all ethnic groups.
  • Underrepresentation of minority groups in business, secondary school and university levels, as well as reports of inadequate work conditions and access to economic, social and cultural benefits of ethnic minorities compared to members of the Han group.
  • Make all acts of racial discrimination punishable by law.
  • Include more members of minority nationalities in positions of leadership in the government and in the Party and at the national and local levels.
  • Compile statistical and demographic information on the composition of the population, the geographic distribution of minorities and the standard of living and other educational and social criteria with regard to those groups.
  • Provide information on allegations of destruction by the government of mosques, Buddhist and Lama temples and other places of worship of minority nationalities.
  • Take all necessary legal and administrative measures to ensure that there is no discrimination against members of minority nationalities, either in the public service or private employment.

Concluding Observations of the Committee Against Torture: China: China. 09/07/96. A/51/44, paras. 138-150.

Concerns and Recommendations:

  • According to information supplied by non-governmental organizations, torture may be practiced on a widespread basis in China, yet China has not incorporated the crime of torture into the domestic legal system, in terms consistent with the Convention.
  • Establish a system to review, investigate and effectively address complaints of maltreatment, by those in custody of every sort.
  • Guarantee access to legal counsel for all those detained, arrested or imprisoned; ensure access to the family and a medical doctor.
  • Non-governmental organizations documented that the situation in Tibet continues to create conditions that result in alleged maltreatment and death of persons held in policy custody and prisons.
  • China should consider cooperating in the rehabilitation of torture victims by supporting the establishment of a Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims in Beijing or some other large cities of the country.
  • A comprehensive system should be established to review, investigate and effectively deal with complaints of maltreatment, by those in custody of every sort. If the Procuratorate is the body that carries out the investigations, it should be given the necessary jurisdiction to carry out its functions, even over the objections of the organ that it is investigating.
  • Take all necessary measures to ensure the independence, autonomy and professionalism of the judiciary.

Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child : China. 07/06/96. CRC/C/15/Add.56.

Suggestions and Recommendations:

  • Family planning policy must be designed to avoid any threat to the life of children, particularly girls; clear guidance should be given to the population and the personnel involved in the family planning policy to ensure its aims are in accordance with principles and provisions of the Convention.
  • Take further action for the maintenance of strong and comprehensive measures to combat the abandonment and infanticide of girls as well as the trafficking, sale and kidnapping or abduction of girls.
  • Increase efforts to prevent and eliminate discrimination of the girl child. Invite local and other leaders to take a more active role in supporting the efforts to prevent and eliminate discrimination against the girl child and to provide guidance to communities in this regard.
  • Establish an independent institution such as an Ombudsperson for children's rights to monitor institutions working in the field of the rights of the child, including in the areas of welfare, education and juvenile justice, as well as identifying emerging problems in these field with a view toward solving them.
  • Develop necessary institutions to collect statistical data and other information on the status of children.
  • Incorporate Convention provisions into existing training programs for professional social service providers working with children.
  • Pay greater attention to the provision of social security to avoid families' over-dependence on their children.
  • Undertake a comprehensive review of the domestic legal framework to ensure that legislation on the national and local levels conforms to Convention.
  • Conduct research on the measures required to prevent and combat discrimination on the grounds of disability.


1 US Department of State, China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 January 1998). back

2 Young-hee Shim, "Gender and Body Politics in Korea: Focusing on the Making of the Feminine Body," Asian Women vol. 6 (June 1998): 34. back

3 Quoted in Yue Daiyun and Li Jin, "Women's Life in New China, " In Barbara J. Nelson and Najma Chowdhury, eds., Women and Politics Worldwide (New Heaven: Yale University Press, 1994), 164. back

4 Yue Daiyun and Li Jin, "Women's Life in New China, " In Barbara J. Nelson and Najma Chowdhury, eds., Women and Politics Worldwide (New Heaven: Yale University Press, 1994), 162. back

5 Quoted in Yue Daiyun and Li Jin, "Women's Life in New China, " In Barbara J. Nelson and Najma Chowdhury, eds., Women and Politics Worldwide (New Heaven: Yale University Press, 1994), 164. back

6 Yue Daiyun and Li Jin, "Women's Life in New China," 163. back

7 US Department of State, China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997. back

8 Michel Oksenberg, "China's Political Transformation," In Congressional Program vol. 13, no. 2 (U.S.-China Relations, First Conference, 13-17 April 1998) (Washington, D.C.: Aspen Institute):20. back

9 James Kynge,"Reform Reaches Top Level," Financial Times (London), 16 November 1998, Nexis, 20 November 1998. back

10 Quoted in Committee to Protect Journalists, Country Reports 1997: China, available from: http://www.cpj.org, accessed on 23 October 1998. back

11 The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 1998 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Right: China (Brussels: ICFTU, 1998): 78-83. back

12 Ibid. back

13 Ibid., 79. back

14 Ibid., 78-83. back

15 Ibid., 80. back

16 "Chinese Protest Ends With Arrests," New York Times, on-line, 2 November 1998. back

17 The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 81. back

18 Ibid., 81. back

19 Ibid., 82. back

20 "China's Words and Actions," Providence Journal-Bulletin, 11 November 1998, on-line, Nexis, 29 November 1998. back

21 Index on Censorship: China, available from http://www.oneworld.org/index_oc/ii/iintro.html, accessed on 12 November 1998. back

22 China's Words and Actions." back

23 US Department of State, China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997. back

24 Quoted in Committee to Protect Journalists, Country Reports 1997: China, available from: http://www.cpj.org, accessed on 23 October 1998. back

25 Ibid. back

26 US Department of State, China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997. back

27 Erik Eckholm, "Beijing to Expel Foreign Reporter, 2d in a Month," New York Times, on-line, 19 November 1998. back

28 "Chiny wydalily niemieckiego dziennikarza," Rzeczpospolita On-line (Warsaw, Poland), 18 November 1998, available from http://www.rzeczpospolita.pl. back

29 Index on Censorship: China. back

30 US Department of State, China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997. back

31 Ibid. back

32 Ibid. back

33 Seth Faison, "Icy Wind From Beijing Chills the Monks of Tibet," New York Times, 18 November 1998, on-line. back

34 Ibid. back

35 US Department of State, China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997. back

36 Ibid. back

37 US Department of State, Background Notes: Hong Kong (Washington, DC: Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, November 1997), on-line, available from http://www.state.gov/www/background_notes/hong_kong_971100_bgn.html, accessed on 30 November 1998. back

38 "The Legal Protection of Women's Rights in China: Discretionary Enforcement of Human Rights Norms," China Rights Forum (Fall 1995), available from http://www.igc.apc.org.hric./crf, accessed on 30 November 1998. back

39 "Women in China: Imprisoned and Abused for Dissent," Amnesty International, In China Rights Forum (Fall 1995), available from http://www.igc.apc.org/hric/, accessed on 30 November 1998. back

40 US Department of State, Background Notes: Hong Kong. back

41 Susan Brownmiller, "China Dolls and Dragon Ladies: American Images of Asian Women," Asian Women vol. 6 (June 1998): 159. back

42 US Department of State, China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 January 1998). back

43 Ibid. back

44 "China 200 Women Talk About Employment Experiences," Asia Intelligence Wire/China Daily, 28 May 1998, Nexis, 12 November 1998. back

45 Elizabeth Rosenthal, "In China, 35+ and Female = Unemployable," New York Times, on-line, 13 October 1998. back

46 Quoted in Elizabeth Rosenthal, "In China, 35+ and Female = Unemployable." back

47 Elizabeth Rosenthal, "In China, 35+ and Female = Unemployable." back

48 Ibid. back

49 "Little Gender Difference Among Chinese Net-using Journalists," Xinhua News Agency, 23 May 1998, Nexis, 12 November 1998. back

50 "An Epidemic of Despair," World Press Review (July 1998), received from . back

51 Dorinda Elliott, "Trying to Stand on Two Feet. Women: They Have More Personal Rights Now - But the Cost Can Be Brutal," Newsweek, 29 June 1998, received from . back

52 Elizabeth Rosenthal, "In China, 35+ and Female = Unemployable." back

53 US Department of State, China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997. back

54 Elizabeth Rosenthal, "For One-Child Policy, China Rethinks Iron Hand," New York Times, 1 November 1998. back

55 Ibid. back

56 Erik Eckholm, "Divorce Curb Is Dividing Feminists in China," New York Times, on-line, 18 November 1998. back

57 "Protecting Chinese Women Against Violence," Xinhua News Agency, 20 June 1998, Nexis, 12 November 1998. back

58 Seth Faison, "Women as Chattel: In China, Slavery Rise," New York Times, on line, 6 September 1995. back

59 US Department of State, China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997. back

60 Dorinda Elliott, "Trying to Stand on Two Feet. Women: They Have More Personal Rights Now - But the Cost Can Be Brutal," Newsweek, 29 June 1998, received from . back

61 "China: Sexual Harassment Legislation," Beijing-Conference Digest vol. 2, no. 360, 31 July 1998, received from . back




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