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HRW: China systemically oppressing critics of human rights abuse

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Tuesday condemned [report] both China's oppression of critics of the nation's human rights record and the UN's failure to stop such conduct. The report alleges that, "China has worked consistently and often aggressively to silence criticism of its human rights record before UN bodies and has taken actions aimed at weakening some of the central mechanisms available in those institutions to advance rights." HRW argued that because of China's growing influence in the world, their violations of international human rights must be addressed. The report alleged that China attempted to prevent Chinese activists from leaving the country to go to UN-sponsored events, harassing those that have attended such events, and have prevented activists from communicating with UN human rights investigators. Such acts by the government, HRW argues, introduce a "longer-term challenge to the integrity of the [Chinese government] as a whole." As to their criticisms of the UN, HRW stated that, "UN officials have at times pushed back against improper Chinese pressure or steadfastly ignored it, in other instances, they have capitulated ... or have soft-pedaled their concerns, presumably to avoid confrontation with China." The report concludes with a plea to the UN to view violations of human rights by China more objectively and to take more direct action against such infractions.

China's human rights record has been of international concern for many years now. In February, the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) [advocacy website] released [JURIST report] a report detailing crackdowns of human rights defenders by China. In December the UN called on China to investigate the disappearance of Jiang Tianyong, [JURIST report] after he had been missing for two months. The same month China suspended the law license [JURIST report] of prominent human rights lawyer Li Jinxing, over his apparent allegedly unacceptable behavior in court while defending a client. In September China handed down a 12-year sentence [JURIST report] to prominent human rights lawyer Xia Lin. In July 2016 China announced plans to prosecute [JURIST report] prominent human rights lawyer Zhou Shifeng on charges of subverting state power, furthering its recent crackdown on political dissidents. In April 2016 a civil rights lawyer was arrested and released [JURIST report] for posting an image online mocking Xi Jinping in relation to the Panama Papers release.

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