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Specific Findings and Recommendations. Political Prisoner Database. Freedom of Residence and Movement. North Korean Refugees in China. Development of the Rule of Law. Institutions of Democratic Governance. Developments in Hong Kong and Macau.
The China of today is vastly different from that of 30 years ago, when major economic reforms began, and even 10 years ago, when China acceded to the World Trade Organization. This year, officials declared that China had reached a "major milestone" in its legal system and made "remarkable achievements" in carrying out its — National Human Rights Action Plan, asserting that "civil and political rights have been effectively protected.
Rather, they increasingly use the language of international law to defend their actions. Beginning in February , Chinese police took the unusual step of "disappearing" numerous lawyers and activists in one of the harshest crackdowns in recent memory. The Commission observed officials citing the "law" as a basis to crack down on peaceful protests; to prevent Buddhists, Catholics, Falun Gong practitioners, Muslims, Protestants, and Taoists from freely practicing their beliefs; to prevent Tibetans, Uyghurs, and other ethnic minorities from exercising autonomy despite guarantees in Chinese law; to prevent workers from independently organizing; and to clamp down on civil society organizations.
The Communist Party tightened its grip at all levels of society, stepping up monitoring of citizens and social groups and stifling attempts at independent political participation and advocacy for democracy. Along with negative developments, there have been some hopeful signs, notably at the grassroots level. The Commission also continued to observe well-intentioned officials and individuals seeking to bring about positive changes within the system. Human rights and rule of law developments in China are important to the rest of the world.
The rights to freedom of expression, association, and religion are universal and transcend borders. These rights are provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, two documents that China has publicly supported.