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美国人权纪录及Human rights report - China (includes Tibet
时间:2012-5-26 下午 03:21:18,点击:0

I. Mainland China

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dynamic_load_id=186268

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life
b. Disappearance
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
a. Freedom of Speech and Press
b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
c. Freedom of Religion
d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government Elections and Political Participation

Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency

Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons WomenChildrenAnti-SemitismTrafficking in PersonsPersons with DisabilitiesNational/Racial/Ethnic MinoritiesSocietal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender IdentityOther Societal Violence or Discrimination

Section 7. Worker Rights
a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining
b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment
d. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The People's Republic of China (PRC) is an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) constitutionally is the paramount authority. CCP members hold almost all top government, police, and military positions. Ultimate authority rests with the 25-member Political Bureau (Politburo) of the CCP and its nine-member Standing Committee. Hu Jintao holds the three most powerful positions as CCP general secretary, president, and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces.

Deterioration in key aspects of the country's human rights situation continued. Repression and coercion, particularly against organizations and individuals involved in rights advocacy and public interest issues, were routine. Individuals and groups seen as politically sensitive by the authorities continued to face tight restrictions on their freedom to assemble, practice religion, and travel. Efforts to silence political activists and public interest lawyers were stepped up, and, increasingly, authorities resorted to extralegal measures including enforced disappearance, "soft detention," and strict house arrest, including house arrest of family members, to prevent the public voicing of independent opinions. Public interest law firms that took on sensitive cases continued to face harassment, disbarment of legal staff, and closure. The authorities increased attempts to limit freedom of speech and to control the press, the Internet, and Internet access. The authorities continued severe cultural and religious repression of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and Tibetan areas. Abuses peaked around high-profile events, such as the visit of foreign officials, sensitive anniversaries, and in response to Internet-based calls for "Jasmine Revolution" protests.

As in previous years, citizens did not have the right to change their government. Other human rights problems during the year included: extrajudicial killings, including executions without due process; enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention, including prolonged illegal detentions at unofficial holding facilities known as "black jails"; torture and coerced confessions of prisoners; detention and harassment of lawyers, journalists, writers, dissidents, petitioners, and others who sought to peacefully exercise their rights under the law; a lack of due process in judicial proceedings; political control of courts and judges; closed trials; the use of administrative detention; restrictions on freedom to assemble, practice religion, and travel; failure to protect refugees and asylum seekers; pressure on other countries to forcibly return citizens to China; intense scrutiny of and restrictions on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); discrimination against women, minorities, and persons with disabilities; a coercive birth limitation policy that in some cases resulted in forced abortion or forced sterilization; trafficking in persons; prohibitions on independent unions and a lack of protection for workers' right to strike; and the use of forced labor, including prison labor. Corruption remained widespread.

The authorities prosecuted a number of abuses of power, particularly with regard to corruption. However, the internal disciplinary procedures of the CCP were opaque, and it was not clear whether human rights and administrative abuses were consistently punished.

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:       

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of LifeDuring the year security forces reportedly committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. In many instances few or no details were available. No official statistics on deaths in custody were available.

Although no official statistics regarding deaths in custody were reported, some cases received media coverage. In June the media reported that residents in Hubei Province protested outside a Lichuan City government building after Ran Jianxin died in police custody. Ran, a Lichuan councilman, was arrested May 26 on suspicion of having accepted bribes and died June 4 while being interrogated. Relatives said they found wounds and bruises on his body and believe he died an unnatural death. Photos circulated on the Internet apparently showed Ran's body covered in bruises.

In September villagers in Wukan, Guangdong Province, engaged in demonstrations against local government officials to protest the sale of village land. Officials asked the villagers to appoint representatives to address the issue. After negotiations failed, the authorities detained some representatives on December 11. On December 13, local government announced that one of the detained representatives, Xue Jinbo, had died of cardiac arrest while in custody. Xue's relatives, who saw his body, believed he had been tortured and beaten to death. A local prosecutor denied the allegations and told media that Xue had a history of asthma and heart disease.

Defendants in criminal proceedings were executed following convictions that lacked due process and adequate channels for appeal. On August 18, Li Lindong, a truck driver who ran over and killed an ethnic Mongol herder on May 10 in Inner Mongolia's Xilinhot City, was executed. Li's original trial, on June 9, lasted just six hours. The death of the Mongol herder had sparked large-scale protests in Inner Mongolia.

b. DisappearanceAt year's end authorities continued to hold ethnic Mongolian activist Hada, his wife, and his son in detention without trial or pressing formal charges. Hada had been released from prison in December 2010, after serving a 15-year prison sentence on espionage and separatism charges. Hada founded the Southern Mongolia Democracy Alliance, which called for a referendum on the future of the province of Inner Mongolia.

The whereabouts of prominent rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who had represented Christians and Falun Gong practitioners, remained unknown until December 16, when a Beijing court reimprisoned him for a period of three years for alleged "parole violations" during the period of his five-year suspended sentence. Gao had been forcibly disappeared since August 2009, with the exception of a brief reappearance in Beijing in spring 2010.

At year's end the government had not provided a comprehensive, credible accounting of all those killed, missing, or detained in connection with the violent suppression of the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations. In September the Duihua Foundation, an international human rights NGO, estimated that fewer than 10 remained in prison, although other estimates were higher. Many activists who were involved in the demonstrations continued to suffer from official harassment.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or PunishmentThe law prohibits the physical abuse of detainees and forbids prison guards from extracting confessions by torture, insulting prisoners' dignity, and beating or encouraging others to beat prisoners. In July 2010 rules went into effect that exclude evidence, including confessions, obtained under torture in certain categories of criminal cases. However, numerous former prisoners and detainees reported that they were beaten with fists and water bottles, subjected to electric shock, forced to sit on stools staring at the wall for hours on end, deprived of sleep, and otherwise subjected to physical and psychological abuse. Some of these abuses occurred during the year. Although ordinary prisoners were subjects of abuse, political and religious dissidents were singled out for particularly harsh treatment. In some instances close relatives of dissidents were singled out for abuse.

On September 13, Guo Feixiong (aka0 Yang Maodong) was released from Guangdong Province's Meizhou Prison after five years in custody. Family members and lawyers who had met with Guo during the five years reported to the media that while in prison Guo was subjected to electric shocks, beatings, and other torture.

On February 19, lawyer Jiang Tianyong was detained and severely beaten for two nights. He was made to sit motionless for up to 15 hours a day and interrogated repeatedly. He said he was also threatened and humiliated. He said his interrogators told him: "Here we can do things in accordance to law. We can also not do things in accordance to law, because we are allowed to do things not in accordance to law." Jiang was released in April and never charged with a crime or formally arrested.

In February the UN Committee Against Torture (UN CAT) reiterated its deep concern about the routine and widespread use in the country of torture and mistreatment of suspects in police custody, especially to extract confessions or information used in criminal proceedings. UN CAT acknowledged government efforts to address the practice of torture and related problems in the criminal justice system. Many acts of torture allegedly occurred in pretrial criminal detention centers or Re-education Through Labor (RTL) centers.

There were widespread reports of activists and petitioners being committed to mental health facilities and involuntarily subjected to psychiatric treatment for political reasons. According to China News Weekly, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) directly administers 22 high-security psychiatric hospitals for the criminally insane (also known as ankang facilities). From 1998 to May 2010, more than 40,000 persons were committed to ankang hospitals. In May 2010 an MPS official stated in a media interview that detention in ankang facilities was not appropriate for patients who did not demonstrate criminal behavior. However, political activists, underground religious believers, persons who repeatedly petitioned the government, members of the banned Chinese Democracy Party (CDP), and Falun Gong adherents were among those housed with mentally ill patients in these institutions. Regulations governing security officials' ability to remand a person to an ankang facility were not clear, and detainees had no mechanism for objecting to claims of mental illness by security officials. Patients in these hospitals reportedly were medicated against their will and forcibly subjected to electric shock treatment.

According to a human rights NGO, Hubei-based petitioner Zhao Kefeng was detained in a psychiatric institution in Xiangfan City, Hubei Province, following her seizure in Beijing on May 19 by officials from the Beijing Liaison Office of the Hubei Province government.

On April 29, petitioner Hu Dongsheng of Hefei City, Anhui Province, was seized and beaten while petitioning at the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing and forcibly returned to Hefei. Upon his return to Anhui, Hu was detained in an ankang psychiatric hospital. This was reportedly the second occasion Hu had been detained in a psychiatric institution for petitioning. Hu, a CCP member and former low-level CCP branch secretary, had been petitioning grievances related to forced demolition.

Prison and Detention Center ConditionsConditions in penal institutions for both political prisoners and criminal offenders were generally harsh and often degrading. Prisoners and detainees were regularly housed in overcrowded conditions with poor sanitation. Inadequate prison capacity remained a problem in some areas. Food often was inadequate and of poor quality, and many detainees relied on supplemental food, medicines, and warm clothing provided by relatives. Some prominent dissidents were not allowed to receive such goods. Prisoners often reported sleeping on the floor because there were no beds or bedding. Adequate, timely medical care for prisoners remained a serious problem, despite official assurances that prisoners have the right to prompt medical treatment.

The law mandates that a prison shall be ventilated, allow for natural light and be clean and warm. However, in many cases there were inadequate provisions for sanitation, ventilation, heating, lighting, basic and emergency medical care, and access to potable water.

Forced labor remained a serious problem in penal institutions. Many prisoners and detainees in penal and RTL facilities were required to work, often with no remuneration. Information about prisons, including associated labor camps and factories, was considered a state secret.

In response to allegations that the organs of executed prisoners were harvested for transplant purposes, Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu in 2009 stated that inmates are not a proper source for human organs and prisoners must give written consent for their organs to be removed. Overseas and domestic media and advocacy groups continued to report instances of organ harvesting, particularly from Falun Gong practitioners and Uighurs.

Conditions in administrative detention facilities, such as RTL camps, were similar to those in prisons. Beating deaths occurred in administrative detention and RTL facilities. Detainees reported beatings, sexual assaults, lack of proper food, and no access to medical care.

Information on the prison population is not made public. According to the China Daily, the Justice Ministry has 678 prisons and 1.65 million people serving sentences in them. The ministry also operated a "community correction" parole system in which 599,000 people received community correction. The law requires juveniles be housed separately from adults, unless facilities are insufficient. In practice children were sometimes housed with adult prisoners and required to work. Political prisoners were held with the general prison population and reported being beaten by other prisoners at the instigation of guards.

Many prisoners and detainees did not have reasonable access to visitors and were not permitted religious observance. Under Article 52 of the prison law, "considerations shall be given to the special habits and customs of prisoners of minority ethnic groups." Detention Center Regulation Article 23 had similar requirements. Little information was available about the implementation of these regulations.

Prisoners and detainees are legally entitled to submit complaints to judicial authorities without censorship and request investigation of credible allegations of inhumane conditions. The law states that letters from a prisoner to higher authorities of the prison or to the judicial organs shall be free from examination. The law further provides that a prison "shall set up medical, living and sanitary facilities, and institute regulations on the life and sanitation of prisoners." It also states that the medical and health care of prisoners shall be put into the public health and epidemic prevention program of the area in which the prison is located. While authorities occasionally investigated credible allegations of inhumane conditions, the results were not documented in a publicly accessible manner. There are alternatives to incarceration for both violent and nonviolent offenders.

The law requires the government to investigate and monitor prison and detention center conditions, and an official from the Prosecutor's Office is responsible for investigating and monitoring prison and detention center conditions.

The government generally did not permit independent monitoring of prisons or RTL camps, and prisoners remained inaccessible to local and international human rights organizations and media groups. Authorities did not allow the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to have access to prisoners or perform authentic prison visits in the country.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or DetentionArbitrary arrest and detention remained serious problems. The law grants police broad administrative detention powers and the ability to detain individuals for extended periods without formal arrest or criminal charges. Throughout the year human rights activists, journalists, unregistered religious leaders, and former political prisoners and their family members continued to be among those targeted for arbitrary detention or arrest. A draft revision of the criminal procedure law contained a provision to legalize extralegal detentions for cases involving state secrets, major corruption, and terrorism.

Role of the Police and Security ApparatusThe main domestic security agencies include the Ministry of State Security, MPS, and People's Armed Police. The People's Liberation Army is primarily responsible for external security but also has some domestic security responsibilities. Local jurisdictions also frequently used civilian municipal security forces, known as "urban management" officials, to enforce laws.

The MPS coordinates the country's police force, which is organized into specialized police agencies and local, county, and provincial jurisdictions. Judicial oversight of the police was limited, and checks and balances were absent. Corruption at the local level was widespread. Police and urban management officials engaged in extrajudicial detention, extortion, and assault. In 2009 the Supreme People's Procuratorate acknowledged continuing widespread abuse in law enforcement. In 2009 domestic news media reported the convictions of public security officials who had beaten to death suspects or prisoners in custody.

On July 24, three unidentified individuals beat democracy rights activist Luo Yongquan while he was at work in Nanxiong City, Guangdong Province. Luo, a poet, Charter '08 democracy manifesto signatory, and member of the banned CDP, was released in May after two years in RTL for publishing poems critical of the CCP and the government. Police reportedly came to the scene of his beating but did not pursue the case.

Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in DetentionThe law allows police to detain suspects for up to 37 days before formal arrest. After arrest, police are authorized to detain a suspect for up to an additional seven months while the case is investigated. After the completion of a police investigation, an additional 45 days of detention are allowed for the procuratorate to determine whether to file criminal charges. If charges are filed, authorities can detain a suspect for an additional 45 days before beginning judicial proceedings. Pretrial detention periods of a year or longer were common. In practice the police sometimes detained persons beyond the period allowed by law. The law stipulates that detainees be allowed to meet with defense counsel before criminal charges are filed. Police often violated this right.

The criminal procedure law requires a court to provide a lawyer to a defendant who has not already retained a lawyer; who is blind, deaf, mute, or a minor; or who may be sentenced to death. This law applies whether or not the defendant is indigent. Courts may also provide lawyers to other criminal defendants who cannot afford them, although courts often did not appoint counsel in such circumstances.

Criminal defendants are entitled to apply for bail (also translated as "a guarantor pending trial") while awaiting trial. However, in practice few suspects were released on bail.

The law requires notification of family members within 24 hours of detention, but individuals were often held without notification for significantly longer periods, especially in politically sensitive cases. Under a sweeping exception, officials are not required to provide notification if doing so would "hinder the investigation" of a case.

The law protects the right to petition the government for resolution of grievances. However, citizens who traveled to Beijing to petition the central government were frequently subjected to arbitrary detention, often by police dispatched from the petitioner's hometown. Some provincial governments operated facilities in Beijing or in other localities where petitioners from their districts were held in extrajudicial detention. Some local governments took steps to restrict petitioning. According to a May 2010 Shanxi provincial government report, the Shanxi Province People's Congress adopted regulations that listed eight types of "prohibited" petitioning, including "illegally gathering, encircling or rushing into government offices or important public spaces, stopping cars or hindering public transportation, linking up with others to petition," and similar acts. The regulations stated that petitioners suspected of "misrepresenting facts to frame others" could be subject to criminal charges.

Online reports claimed Guangdong provincial authorities rewarded local officials for active engagement in intercepting petitioners.

On March 5, Guangdong agents forcibly returned to their home province a Shaoguan City couple who had gone to Beijing to petition over a land requisition issue involving alleged official corruption. The couple had been petitioning the case at both the local and national level since 2006. Although the husband was released 54 days later after suffering a heart attack, his wife remained illegally detained in a black jail, and the local public security bureau and procuratorate refused to respond to requests by the husband to look into his wife's situation. The wife was finally released on August 27. Upon her release, authorities reportedly did not return her household registration documents and identification card, and officials from the justice bureau threatened her, warned her not to leave her home, and instructed her and her husband to stop petitioning.

According to an NGO report, authorities returned two Nanning City, Guangxi, petitioners to their home September 7 after they were held in a black jail in Beijing. The two petitioners were initially seized by police on August 30 and then detained in Jiujingzhuang black jail before Nanning agents took them to another black jail, reportedly in the Daxing district of Beijing. While there, they allegedly were kept in uncomfortable and unsanitary conditions, prompting one to initiate a hunger strike.

The law permits administrative, nonjudicial panels, known as "labor reeducation panels," to remand persons to RTL camps or other administrative detention programs for up to three years without trial. Labor reeducation panels are authorized to extend these administrative sentences for up to one year. Detainees are technically allowed to challenge administrative RTL sentences and appeal for sentence reduction or suspension. However, appeals were rarely successful. Other forms of administrative detention include "custody and education" (for women engaged in prostitution and those soliciting prostitution) and "custody and training" (for minor criminal offenders). The law establishes a system of "compulsory isolation for drug rehabilitation." The minimum stay in such centers is two years, and the law states that treatment can include labor. Public security organs authorize detention in these centers, and it often was meted out as an administrative rather than criminal measure. Administrative detention was used to intimidate political activists and prevent public demonstrations.

Arbitrary Arrest: On April 3, artist Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing Capital International Airport while going through customs to board a flight abroad. He was then held for 81 days at an unknown location allegedly for economic crimes including tax evasion. Ai was released on bail on June 22. Ai said he was repeatedly interrogated about his alleged involvement in calls for Jasmine Revolution protests.

Authorities arrested persons on allegations of revealing state secrets, subversion, and other crimes as a means to suppress political dissent and public advocacy. These charges--including what constitutes a state secret--remained ill defined. Citizens and foreigners also were detained under broad and ambiguous state secrets laws for, among other actions, disclosing information on criminal trials, meetings, commercial activity, and government activity. Authorities sometimes retroactively labeled a particular action as a violation of a state secret.

In February, responding to anonymous online calls for Jasmine Revolution protests in China, authorities arrested dozens of lawyers, human rights activists, and political dissidents without notice. NGOs estimated that since late February approximately 50 human rights activists and lawyers were formally arrested or placed under extralegal detention, up to 200 people were placed under house arrest, and 15 were charged with "inciting subversion of state power."

In late February and early March, in connection with the online calls for Jasmine Revolution gatherings, Guangzhou police reportedly detained dozens of citizens, many of whom were held without notification of family members or formal charges, according to widespread foreign press and international NGO reporting. Many were held for up to 120 days. Several prominent Guangzhou-based activists were detained on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power."

In July press reports indicated bishops in four Guangdong cities--Jiangmen, Meizhou, Zhanjiang, and Guangzhou--were taken into police custody and coerced to participate in the July 14 ordination ceremony of Bishop Huang Bingzhang in Shantou.

Police surveillance, harassment, and detentions of activists increased around politically sensitive events. The government continued to use extrajudicial house arrest against dissidents, former political prisoners, family members of political prisoners, petitioners, underground religious figures, and others it deemed politically sensitive. Numerous dissidents, activists, and petitioners were placed under house arrest during the October National Day holiday period and at other sensitive times, such as during the Guangzhou Asia Games and the Shenzhen Universiade games, the annual plenary sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. The anniversary of the October 2010 awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo triggered similar security responses. Conditions faced by those under house arrest varied but sometimes included complete isolation in their homes under police guard. In some instances security officials were stationed inside the homes of subjects under house arrest. Others were occasionally permitted to leave their homes to work or run errands but were required to ride in police vehicles. When permitted to leave their homes, subjects of house arrest were usually under police surveillance. Authorities in the XUAR used house arrest and other forms of arbitrary detention against those accused of supporting the "three evils" of religious extremism, "splittism," and terrorism.

In April petitioner Wang Rongwen, of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, was released after being illegally detained for a month and a half without charges or legal documentation related to her detention. On August 21, Chengdu authorities detained more than 20 petitioners to prevent them from seeking an audience with a visiting high-level foreign dignitary. Two were detained for 12 and 15 days, respectively; the rest were put under house arrest.

Beginning September 2, several members of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum, including Chen Xi, Liao Shuangyuan, Wu Yuqin, Lu Yongxiang, Li Renke, Huang Yanming, Mo Jiangang, and Tian Zuxiang, were forced to leave their homes and held in various hostels for three weeks prior to the Ninth National Traditional Games of Ethnic Minorities, held in Guizhou September 10-18.

In July police in Fujian Province threatened a number of activists seeking to testify at the August trial of Wang Lihong on charges of "creating a disturbance" in connection with her participation in a 2010 peaceful protest in Fuzhou City in support of three Internet activists convicted of slander for online accusations regarding a local official's involvement in a murder. Fujian activists who traveled to Beijing in August to attend the trial were forcibly detained and returned to Fujian by provincial officials based in Beijing.

On May 31, police took dissident Zhang Jiankang from his home in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, for a "trip." On June 2, Chengdu artist Chen Yunfei was put under house arrest. Li Renke of Guiyang was taken by police to "go on a trip" out of town. Writer Dang Guan of Anhui was stopped by police while on his way to Guangzhou and brought back. On June 1, security forces warned democracy activist and journalist Zha Jianguo not to write articles or conduct media interviews around the June 4 Tiananmen massacre anniversary.

In September 2010 blind human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng was released after completing a prison sentence of three years and four months on charges of "disrupting traffic." After his release, Chen, his wife, his six-year-old daughter, and his mother remained under house arrest and were prevented from communicating with others. Chen was not allowed to seek medical attention for a gastrointestinal condition he developed in prison. On February 9, Chen and his wife reportedly were severely beaten after a human rights group released a video of Chen and his wife in their home, describing the intense police surveillance. They reportedly were again subjected to severe beatings in July. His daughter was for a time unable to attend school because no adult was permitted to leave the house to enroll her. Subsequently she was permitted to enroll and reportedly was being escorted to and from school by a security guard. A number of Chinese activists, friends and supporters, and foreign and domestic journalists who attempted to visit Chen reported being assaulted, detained, forcibly removed, or otherwise abused and prevented from freely accessing his village or seeing him. At year's end Chen remained under house arrest with no access to medical care. Some supporters reported successful delivery of medicine to Chen.

After the announcement of the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned writer Liu Xiaobo, his wife, Liu Xia, was placed under extrajudicial house arrest and had not been seen in public since October 2010. Attempts to visit Liu Xia were blocked by security authorities stationed outside her home. In August the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention formally declared the imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo and the house arrest of his wife, Liu Xia, to be in violation of the country's obligations under international law.

Pretrial Detention: Pretrial detention can last as long as one year. Defendants in "sensitive cases" reported being subjected to prolonged pretrial detention.

e. Denial of Fair Public TrialThe law states that the courts shall exercise judicial power independently, without interference from administrative organs, social organizations, and individuals. However, in practice the judiciary was not independent. Legal scholars interpreted President Hu Jintao's doctrine of the "Three Supremes" as stating that the interests of the CCP are above the law. Judges regularly received political guidance on pending cases, including instructions on how to rule, from both the government and the CCP, particularly in politically sensitive cases. The CCP Law and Politics Committee has the authority to review and influence court operations at all levels of the judiciary.

Corruption also influenced court decisions. Safeguards against judicial corruption were vague and poorly enforced. Local governments appoint and pay local court judges and, as a result, often exerted influence over the rulings of judges in their districts.

Courts are not authorized to rule on the constitutionality of legislation. The law permits organizations or individuals to question the constitutionality of laws and regulations, but a constitutional challenge can only be directed to the promulgating legislative body. As a result lawyers had little or no opportunity to use the constitution in litigation.

Trial ProceduresThere was no presumption of innocence, and the criminal justice system was biased toward a presumption of guilt, especially in high-profile or politically sensitive cases.

According to statistics released on the Supreme People's Court (SPC) official Web site, in 2010 the combined conviction rate for first- and second-instance criminal trials was 99.9 percent. Of 1,007,419 criminal defendants tried in 2010, 999 were acquitted.

In many politically sensitive trials, courts handed down guilty verdicts with no deliberation immediately following proceedings. Courts often punished defendants who refused to acknowledge guilt with harsher sentences than those who confessed. The appeals process rarely resulted in overturned convictions. Appeals processes failed to provide sufficient avenues for review, and there were inadequate remedies for violations of defendants' rights.

Supreme People's Court regulations require all trials to be open to the public, with the exceptions of cases involving state secrets, privacy issues, and minors. Authorities used the state-secrets provision to keep politically sensitive proceedings closed to the public, sometimes even to family members, and to withhold access to defense counsel. Court regulations state that foreigners with valid identification should be allowed to observe trials under the same criteria as citizens. In practice foreigners were permitted to attend court proceedings only by invitation. As in past years, foreign diplomats and journalists unsuccessfully sought permission to attend a number of trials. In some instances the trials were reclassified as "state secrets" cases or otherwise closed to the public. Foreign diplomats requested but were denied permission to attend the September trial and October appeal of Internet freedom advocate Wang Lihong on charges of illegally possessing state secrets. Wang was sentenced in September to nine months' imprisonment. The Beijing Intermediate Court denied her appeal on October 20. On December 20, Wang was released after completing her sentence, to include time served in pretrial detention.

Some trials were broadcast, and court proceedings were a regular television feature. A few courts published their verdicts on the Internet.

The law grants most defendants the right to seek legal counsel upon initial detention and interrogation, although police frequently violated this right. Individuals who face administrative detention do not have the right to seek legal counsel. Both criminal and administrative defendants were eligible for legal assistance, although more than 70 percent of criminal defendants went to trial without a lawyer. According to statistics released by Ministry of Justice, the number of legal-aid cases in 2010 totaled 726,763, a slight increase from the previous year.

Human rights lawyers reported that they were denied the ability to defend certain clients or threatened with punishment if they chose to do so. An international NGO reported that the government had suspended or revoked lawyers' licenses to stop them from taking sensitive cases, such as defending prodemocracy dissidents, members of banned religious movements, or government critics.

The government continued to require law firms with three or more CCP members to form a CCP unit within the firm. Firms with one or two CCP members may establish joint CCP units with other firms. In smaller counties and cities with few lawyers, CCP members may join local Justice Bureau CCP units. This rule also applies to private companies and other organizations.

Some lawyers declined to represent defendants in politically sensitive cases, and such defendants frequently found it difficult to find an attorney. Three days after a July 23 train crash, law firms in Wenzhou received an urgent message in the names of the Wenzhou Judicial Bureau and the Wenzhou Lawyers Association ordering lawyers not to take cases representing family members of the crash victims. Lawyers were told to inform the Wenzhou Judicial Bureau and the Wenzhou Lawyers Association of any contact with victims who sought legal assistance. After the order was leaked to the press and social media sites, a popular uproar forced the organizations to rescind the order. Similarly, certain Beijing-based rights lawyers were told they could not represent Tibetan defendants. Certain local governments in the XUAR and Tibetan areas implemented regulations stipulating that only locally registered attorneys were authorized to represent local defendants.

When defendants were able to retain counsel in politically sensitive cases, government officials sometimes prevented attorneys from organizing an effective defense. Tactics employed by court and government officials included unlawful detentions, disbarment, harassment and physical intimidation, and denial of access to evidence and to clients.

On June 14, police in Beihai City, Guangxi Region, detained four defense lawyers on suspicion of "obstructing testimony" in connection with their defense of individuals accused in a beating death. On June 29, the local procuratorate approved the arrest of one of the four, Yang Zaixin. Police subsequently denied a number of other lawyers the right to represent the four lawyers, now defendants themselves. In one instance plainclothes police officers forcibly removed a defense lawyer from the detention center's attorney visitation room.

On August 2, according to online reports, the Beihai City Intermediate People's Court in Guangxi did not notify the lawyer of Xu Kun, the village chief of Baihutou, Beihai City, prior to upholding Xu's conviction on the charge of "operating an illegal business." The conviction, for which Xu was sentenced to four years in prison and fined 200,000 RMB (approximately $31,450), allegedly related to Xu's efforts to lead fellow villagers in resisting land expropriation in Baihutou. Neither Xu's wife nor his lawyer was present in court when the verdict was delivered. Since he began his advocacy against land expropriation in 2008, Xu had been subjected to government pressure, expulsion from the CCP, and surveillance and monitoring.

On August 18, police in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, seized rights lawyer Wu Zhenqi, who had come to Harbin from Guangzhou City to assist with the case of Yu Yunfeng, a petitioner sentenced to two years of RTL in late July. On August 18, after Wu had interviewed Li Erping, a Harbin Internet activist, in connection with the case, seven or eight officers from the Northeast Forestry University Security Division took Wu and Li in for questioning. Li was released that afternoon, but Wu continued to be held. Wu was later released but was prevented from providing legal assistance to his clients.

On November 4, Chen Ruiwu, Shang Zhihong, and Yang Hongyi were released from prison in Langfang City, Hebei Province, almost two years after the Hebei High Court overturned their death sentence on appeal. The Langfang Intermediate Court had withheld the appeal decision for two years and kept the prisoners on death row before finally releasing them. Originally arrested in 2001, based on weak evidence and despite possessing a strong alibi, the three defendants were sentenced to death in 2002, based on confessions obtained through torture and forensic evidence that the prosecution had lost and not produced in court. The Hebei High Court twice ordered retrials, in 2003 and 2006, on evidentiary grounds. Both times, the Langfang Intermediate Court held the retrials based on the same missing forensics evidence and reworded witness testimony.

The annual licensing review process administered by the Beijing Lawyers Association was used to withhold or delay the approval of professional lawyers licenses, and therefore restricted or hindered the ability to practice law, of a number of human rights and public interest lawyers. In late July the license for rights lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan was renewed after a lengthy delay, but the association did not issue a license for his firm, Qi Jian Law. At year's end Qi Jian Law Firm still had not received its license. Official pressure on its landlords forced Qi Jian Law Firm to move offices.

Defense attorneys may legally be held responsible if their client commits perjury, and prosecutors and judges have wide discretion to decide what constitutes perjury. In some sensitive cases, lawyers had no pretrial access to their clients and defendants, and lawyers were not allowed to communicate with one another during trials. In practice criminal defendants were frequently not assigned an attorney until a case was brought to court. Despite a 2008 statement by SPC Vice President Zhang Jun that 37 percent of criminal defendants were represented by lawyers, in 2009 only one in seven criminal defendants reportedly had legal representation.

Mechanisms allowing defendants to confront their accusers were inadequate. Only a small percentage of trials involved witnesses, and fewer than 10 percent of subpoenaed witnesses appeared in court. Proposed amendments to the criminal procedure law expected to pass the NPC in March 2012 contain a provision to compel witnesses to appear in court. In most criminal trials, prosecutors read witness statements, which neither the defendants nor their lawyers had an opportunity to rebut. Although the criminal procedure law states that pretrial witness statements cannot serve as the sole basis for conviction, prosecutors relied heavily on such statements to support their cases. Defense attorneys had no authority to compel witnesses to testify or to mandate discovery, although they could apply for access to government-held evidence relevant to their case. Pretrial access to information by defense attorneys was minimal. Denial of due process by police and prosecutors led to particularly egregious consequences in capital cases.

On August 15, Beijing Xicheng District People's Court sentenced Yang Yukui, a farmer from Tieli Town, Heilongjiang Province, to five months' imprisonment for "creating a disturbance." The case stemmed from Yang's efforts to seek accountability and treatment for his son, who Yang believed was made ill by faulty vaccinations given by a Tieli hospital on the day he was born. On July 27, officers from the Xicheng District Public Security Bureau took Yang into custody after he went to Beijing Children's Hospital to obtain medical care for his son. After an argument broke out between Yang and the doctors, police took him away under the pretext of mediating the situation but then arrested him. At trial, requests from Yang and his attorney to view hospital surveillance video that could have proven his actions had not constituted a crime were ignored.

At year's end the criminal code contained 55 capital offenses, including nonviolent financial crimes such as embezzlement and corruption. In February amendments to the capital-punishment law removed 13 nonviolent economic crimes, ranging from smuggling relics and endangered animals to falsifying tax receipts, from the list of capital crimes. Persons above the age of 75 would be exempt from the death penalty unless the defendant caused death in an "extremely cruel manner." There was no government information on how many defendants were either sentenced to the death or executed during the year.

SPC spokesman Ni Shouming stated that, since reassuming death penalty reviews in 2007, the SPC had returned 15 percent of death sentences to lower courts for further review based on unclear facts, insufficient evidence, inappropriate use of the death penalty, and inadequate trial procedures. Because official statistics remained a state secret, it was not possible to evaluate independently the implementation and effects of the procedures.

No official statistics are available on the number of executions carried out annually. An international human rights NGO estimated that approximately 4,500 persons were executed in 2010.

Political Prisoners and DetaineesGovernment officials continued to deny holding any political prisoners, asserting that authorities detained persons not for their political or religious views but because they violated the law. However, the authorities continued to imprison citizens for reasons related to politics and religion. Tens of thousands of political prisoners remained incarcerated, some in prisons and others in RTL camps or administrative detention. The government did not grant international humanitarian organizations access to political prisoners.

Foreign NGOs estimated that several hundred persons remained in prison for "counterrevolutionary crimes," which were repealed from the criminal code in 1997. Thousands of others were serving sentences under state security statutes. Foreign governments urged the government to review the cases of those charged before 1997 with counterrevolutionary crimes and to release those who had been jailed for nonviolent offenses under repealed provisions of the criminal law. At year's end no systematic review had occurred. The government maintained that prisoners serving sentences for counterrevolutionary crimes and endangering state security were eligible to apply for sentence reduction and parole. However, political prisoners were granted early release at lower rates than prisoners in other categories. Persons were believed to remain in prison for crimes in connection with their involvement in the 1989 Tiananmen prodemocracy movement. The exact number was unknown because related official statistics were never made public.

In July 2010 Charter '08 signatory and activist Liu Xianbin was indicted for subversion for an article he wrote following his 2009 release from a previous prison term. On March 25, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for inciting "subversion of state power." Formally detained in June 2010, Liu was charged for articles he wrote and posted on overseas Web sites, as well as for involvement with a Beijing seminar regarding three Fujian persons imprisoned for Internet postings. Liu was reportedly denied access to his lawyers during his detention.

Chengdu dissident writer Ran Yunfei, detained February 19 on suspicion of "subversion," was held without charges for nearly six months until being released into residential surveillance, a form of house arrest. Although he was not charged, his freedom of speech and association remained restricted.

Many political prisoners remained in prison or under other forms of detention at year's end, including rights activist Wang Bingzhang; Alim and Ablikim Abdureyim, sons of Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer; journalist Shi Tao; democratic reform advocate Wang Xiaoning; former Tiananmen Square student leader Zhou Yongjun; land rights activist Yang Chunlin; labor activists Hu Mingjun, Huang Xiangwei, Kong Youping, Ning Xianhua, Li Jianfeng, Li Xintao, Lin Shun'an, Li Wangyang, and She Wanbao; Sichuan rights activist Liu Xiaoyuan; Catholic bishop Su Zhimin; Christian activist Zhang Rongliang; Uighur activist Dilkex Tilivaldi; and Tibetan Tenzin Deleg.

In September 2010 rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng was released from prison following the completion of his sentence and was immediately placed under house arrest, along with his wife, daughter, and mother (see section 1.d.).

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, coauthor of the Charter '08 manifesto that called for increased political freedoms and human rights in China, was found guilty of the crime of "inciting subversion of state power" in a 2009 trial that included serious due process violations. The Beijing High People's Court denied Liu's appeal in February 2010, and he remained in prison at year's end.

Criminal punishments continued to include "deprivation of political rights" for a fixed period after release from prison, during which time the individual is denied rights of free speech, association, publication, and voting. Former prisoners reported their ability to find employment, travel, obtain residence permits, rent residences, and access social services severely restricted. Former political prisoners and their families frequently were subjected to police surveillance, telephone wiretaps, searches, and other forms of harassment or threats.

Civil Judicial Procedures and RemediesCourts deciding civil matters faced the same limitations on judicial independence as in criminal cases. The State Compensation Law provides administrative and judicial remedies for plaintiffs whose rights or interests have been infringed by government agencies or officials, including wrongful arrest or conviction, extortion of confession by torture, unlawful use of force resulting in bodily injury, illegal revocation of a business license, or illegal confiscation or freezing of property. In April 2010 the NPC Standing Committee amended the law to allow compensation for wrongful detention, mental trauma, or physical injuries inflicted by detention center or prison officials. In civil matters successful plaintiffs often found it difficult to enforce court orders.

Families of deceased victims of the July 23 Wenzhou train crash were pressured to quickly accept a settlement payment of 900,000 RMB (approximately $141,500) and forfeit the right to seek further civil damages from the Ministry of Railways. Some family members reported that officials threatened to withhold the bodies of the deceased unless they accepted the offer.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or CorrespondenceThe law states that the "freedom and privacy of correspondence of citizens are protected by law"; however, in practice, authorities often did not respect the privacy of citizens. Although the law requires warrants before law enforcement officials can search premises, this provision frequently was ignored. The Public Security Bureau (PSB) and prosecutors are authorized to issue search warrants on their own authority without judicial review. Cases of forced entry by police officers continued to be reported. Proposed amendments to the criminal procedure law expected to pass the NPC in March 2012 provide for the admissibility of electronic evidence.

Authorities monitored telephone conversations, fax transmissions, e-mail, text messaging, and Internet communications. Authorities opened and censored domestic and international mail. Security services routinely monitored and entered residences and offices to gain access to computers, telephones, and fax machines.

The monitoring and disruption of telephone and Internet communications were particularly widespread in the XUAR and Tibetan areas. Authorities frequently warned dissidents and activists, underground religious figures, and former political prisoners throughout the country not to meet with foreign journalists or diplomats, especially before sensitive anniversaries, at the time of important government or CCP meetings, and during the visits of high-level foreign officials. Security personnel harassed and detained the family members of political prisoners, including following them to meetings with foreign reporters and diplomats and urging them to remain silent about the cases of their relatives.

Family members of activists, dissidents, Falun Gong practitioners, journalists, unregistered religious figures, and former political prisoners were targeted for arbitrary arrest, detention, and harassment (see section 1.d.).

In February and March, family members of, and social organizations associated with, activists detained in connection with the Jasmine Revolution crackdown faced pressure from Guangzhou security officials, according to press reports. Some wives of jailed activists were placed under residential surveillance and detention, while police told social groups that their continued affiliation with the activists would cause them problems.

Forced relocation because of urban development continued and in some locations increased during the year. Protests over relocation terms or compensation were common, and some protest leaders were prosecuted. In rural areas relocation for infrastructure and commercial development projects resulted in the forced relocation of millions of persons.

Property-related disputes between citizens and government authorities, which often turned violent, were widespread in both urban and rural areas. These disputes frequently stemmed from local officials' collusion with property developers to pay little or no compensation to displaced residents, combined with a lack of effective government oversight or media scrutiny of local officials' involvement in property transactions, as well as a lack of legal remedies or other dispute resolution mechanisms for displaced residents. The problem persisted despite central government efforts to impose stronger controls over illegal land takings and to standardize compensation. The redevelopment in traditional Uighur neighborhoods in cities throughout the XUAR, such as the Old City area in Kashgar, resulted in the destruction of historically or culturally sensitive areas. Some residents voiced opposition to the lack of proper compensation provided by the government and coercive measures used to obtain their agreement to redevelopment.

In preparation for the 2011 Universiade Games in Shenzhen, city officials evicted 80,000 people without proper identification and those "acting suspiciously" or considered a threat to security. International NGOs reported that officials also forcibly removed out-of-town legal activists from the city.

For information on the government's family planning policies and their consequences see section 6, Women.

Some media sources continue to report child abductions by child-trafficking gangs. In July the Associated Press reported that authorities rescued 89 trafficked children, ages 10 days to four years, and that 369 suspects were arrested by the Ministry of Public Security. The investigation reportedly involved up to 2,600 officers in 14 provinces. In 2010 there were multiple reports of child traffickers being executed. While harsh penalties exist for traffickers, it was not clear that buying children is illegal, as the law does not clearly define the circumstances in which a buyer should be punished. A July Associated Press article reported that Liu Anchang, a Ministry of Public Security official, said that buyers who have not abused the children cannot be held criminally liable. If the parents of trafficked children cannot be found, the children are placed into orphanages (see section 6, Children).

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:       

a. Freedom of Speech and PressStatus of Freedom of Speech and PressThe law provides for freedom of speech and press, although the authorities generally did not respect these rights in practice. The authorities continued to control print, broadcast, and electronic media tightly and used them to propagate government views and CCP ideology. During the year the authorities increased censorship and manipulation of the press and the Internet during sensitive anniversaries.

Freedom of Speech: With significant exceptions, including speech that challenged the government or the CCP, political topics could be discussed privately and in small groups without official punishment. Some independent think tanks, study groups, or seminars reported pressure to cancel some sessions on sensitive topics during the year. Those who made politically sensitive comments in public speeches, academic discussions, and comments to the media remained subject to punitive measures.

The government also frequently monitored gatherings of intellectuals, scholars, and dissidents where political or sensitive issues were discussed. Individuals who expressed views critical of the government or the CCP, particularly those who shared such views with foreign audiences, risked punishments ranging from disciplinary action in the workplace to police interrogation and detention. In 2008, to commemorate International Human Rights Day, a group of 303 intellectuals and activists released a petition entitled Charter '08, calling for the CCP to respect human rights and implement democratic reforms in China. Many Charter '08 signers continued to report official harassment, especially around sensitive dates.

On February 20, Liang Haiyi, also known as Miaoxiao, made a speech in front of the Harbin Municipal Building calling for freedom, democracy, and equality. She was detained by the local police and put into custody in the Harbin No.2 Detention Center for "inciting subversion of state power." Her case was reportedly transferred to the court for prosecution on August 19. At year's end no information was available on Liang's welfare and whereabouts.

Freedom of the Press: All books and magazines require state-issued publication numbers, which were expensive and often difficult to obtain. Nearly all print media, broadcast media, and book publishers were affiliated with the CCP or a government agency. There were a small number of print publications with some private ownership interest but no privately owned television or radio stations. The CCP directed the domestic media to refrain from reporting on certain subjects, and all broadcast programming required government approval. On July 29, after the high-profile, July 23 high-speed rail crash in Wenzhou, the CCP issued an urgent directive ordering all publications to stop planned coverage of the train crash after one week of intense coverage of the issue in traditional and social media. Many publications adhered to the tighter controls by publishing blank spaces in place of the censored articles to protest the gag order on the eve of an important day of mourning in Chinese culture.

Violence and Harassment: Restrictions on foreign journalists by central and local CCP propaganda departments remained strict, especially during sensitive times and anniversaries. Foreign press outlets reported that local employees of foreign news agencies were also subject to official harassment and intimidation.

On February 27, at least six foreign journalists were beaten by plainclothes security officers in Beijing while covering anticipated gatherings and a related security crackdown in the busy commercial district of Wangfujing in downtown Beijing. Plainclothes officers dragged other reporters and photographers into alleys or shops and erased images from their cameras. Later, security officials made nighttime visits to a few Western journalists in their apartments, warning them to behave cooperatively or risk losing their work permits.

According to the Foreign Correspondents Club, one of five foreign respondents surveyed experienced visa threats or visa delays. Some reporters were explicitly told that issuance of their visa was related to the content of their reporting. Among the correspondents surveyed, 70 percent experienced interference or harassment during the year; 40 percent said their sources were harassed, detained, or called in for questioning for interacting with foreign journalists; and 33 percent said their Chinese assistants encountered pressure from officials or experienced harassment.

The government limited attendance at official government press briefings to domestic media; foreign media and diplomats were only allowed to attend briefings conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a handful of press briefings held around special events.

Authorities continued to enforce tight restrictions on citizens employed by foreign news organizations. The code of conduct for Chinese employees of foreign media organizations threatens dismissal and loss of accreditation for Chinese employees who engaged in "independent reporting" and instructed them to provide their employers information that projects a good image of the country. The Foreign Correspondents Club of China denounced the code of conduct as part of a government effort to intimidate their Chinese employees.

Officials can be punished for unauthorized contact with journalists. Official guidelines for journalists were often vague, subject to change at the discretion of propaganda officials, and retroactively enforced. Propaganda authorities forced newspapers to fire editors and journalists responsible for articles deemed inconsistent with official policy and suspended or closed publications. The system of post-publication review by propaganda officials encouraged self-censorship by editors seeking to avoid the losses associated with penalties for inadvertently printing unauthorized content.

Government officials used criminal prosecution, civil lawsuits, and other punishments, including violence, detention, and other forms of harassment, to intimidate authors and journalists and to prevent the dissemination of controversial writings. A domestic journalist can face demotion or job loss for publishing views that challenge the government.

In August Chen Zhong, President of the Southern Window, a well-known political magazine under the Guangzhou Daily Group, was fired because he was held responsible for the publishing of an August 4 article titled "Narrow Nationalism and Foreign Policies," according to online reports. The article's discussion of the effort by Sun Yat Sen, leader of the 1911 revolution against the Qing dynasty, to win Japanese support by sacrificing the national interest was deemed controversial by authorities.

Journalists who remained in prison included Lu Gengsong, Lu Jianhua, and Shi Tao. Uighur webmasters Dilshat Perhat, Nureli Azat, and Nijat Azat continued to serve sentences for "endangering state security." Uighur journalist Memetjan Abdulla was sentenced to life in prison in April 2010 reportedly for transmitting "subversive" information related to the July 2009 riots. During the year journalists working in traditional and new media sources were also imprisoned. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) December Prison Census reported that of 27 known journalists imprisoned in the country, 10 were Tibetan and six were Uighur. The CPJ documented one new imprisonment case during the year.

Censorship or Content Restrictions: Authorities continued to confiscate "unauthorized publications." A summary of "anti-pornography, anti-counterfeit" work for the year cited the following nationwide totals for the period of January to November: total number of various sorts of illegal publications confiscated-- 46,167,000; total number of "illegal periodicals" confiscated--4,189,000; total number of "pornographic publications" confiscated--1,163,000; total number of copyright-violating publications confiscated--39,158,000 (this number includes pirated audiovisual products (31,540,000), "pirated books" (6,630,000), and pirated electronic publications (9,880,000)).

Foreign journalists were generally prevented from obtaining permits to travel to Tibet except for highly controlled, government-organized press visits. While foreign journalists were allowed access to Urumqi, XUAR, after the 2009 riots, local and provincial authorities continued to strictly control the travel, access, and interviews of foreign journalists, even forcing them to leave cities in parts of the XUAR. Media outlets received regular guidance from the Central Propaganda Department, listing topics that should not be covered.

Officials continued to censor, ban, and sanction reporting on labor, health, environmental crises, and industrial accidents. Following the July 23 train crash in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, propaganda authorities issued instructions to keep the coverage upbeat and focused on the salvage and recovery efforts. Responding to massive public outrage at the incident, many domestic media outlets ignored the instructions and provided heavy coverage of the crash, its causes, and the authorities' poor handling of survivors and victims.

On August 8, Typhoon Muifa struck Bohai Bay and breached a sea wall 1,500 feet from the Fujia Dahua Chemical Plant near Dalian. Subsequently, when CCTV journalists went to the scene to conduct an interview, they were blocked and beaten by the factory's guards. Later, CCTV's news program was prevented from broadcasting about the dangers of paraxylene (PX) produced in the plant. Authorities also censored information about local protests against the chemical project. "Dalian," "PX," and "Dalian Protests" were censored as online search terms. There were also multiple reports of cellular and smart phone outages.

Widespread attention in the press to the May-June migrant worker riots in Chaozhou City and Zengcheng City, both in Guangdong Province, prompted the government to pressure domestic media not to report on migrant-related social unrest or other friction between migrant and local communities.

Authorities continued to ban books with content they deemed controversial. The law permits only government-approved publishing houses to print books. The State Press and Publications Administration (PPA) controlled all licenses to publish. Newspaper, periodicals, books, audio and video recordings, or electronic publication may not be printed or distributed without the approval of the PPA and relevant provincial publishing authorities. Individuals who attempted to publish without government approval faced imprisonment, fines, confiscation of their books, and other sanctions. The CCP exerted control over the publishing industry by preemptively classifying certain topics as state secrets.

Many intellectuals and scholars exercised self-censorship, anticipating that books or papers on political topics would be deemed too sensitive to be published. The censorship process for private and government media also increasingly relied on self-censorship and, in a few cases, postpublication sanctions.

The General Administration of Press and Publication, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, and the CCP remained active in issuing restrictive regulations and decisions constraining the content of broadcast media.

Authorities continued to jam, with varying degrees of success, Chinese-, Uighur-, and Tibetan-language broadcasts of the VOA, BBC, and Radio Free Asia (RFA). English-language broadcasts on VOA generally were not jammed. Government jamming of RFA and the BBC appeared to be more frequent and effective. Internet distribution of streaming radio news and podcasts from these sources often was blocked. Despite jamming overseas broadcasts, VOA, BBC, RFA, Deutsche Welle, and Radio France International had large audiences, including human rights advocates, ordinary citizens, and government officials.

Television broadcasts of foreign news, largely restricted to hotels and foreign residence compounds, were occasionally subject to censorship. Such censorship of foreign broadcasts also occurred around the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. Individual issues of foreign newspapers and magazines were occasionally banned when they contained articles deemed too sensitive.

Politically sensitive coverage in Chinese, and to a lesser extent in English, was censored more than coverage in other languages. The government prohibited some foreign and domestic films deemed too sensitive.

Internet FreedomIn June 2010 the Information Office of the State Council released its first White Paper on the Internet outlining the government's endeavors to guarantee certain freedoms of speech on the Internet as long as the speech did not endanger state security, subvert state power, damage state honor and interests, jeopardize state religious policy, propagate heretical or superstitious ideas, or spread rumors and other content forbidden by laws and administrative regulations, among other caveats.

The CCP underscored the importance of maintaining security and promoting core socialist values on the Internet in its official decision adopted at the Sixth Plenum of the 17th CCP Congress in October. Entitled the "Decision of the CCP Central Committee on Certain Major Issues on Deepening Cultural System Reform and Promoting the Great Development and Great Prosperity of Socialist Culture," this document called for developing a "healthy and uplifting network culture" that will entail measures such as "step(ping) up guidance and management over social networks and instant messaging tools, standardiz(ing) the transmission order of information on the Internet, and foster(ing) a civilized and rational network environment."

The CCP continued to increase efforts to monitor Internet use, control content, restrict information, block access to foreign and domestic Web sites, encourage self-censorship, and punish those who violate regulations. According to news sources, more than 14 government ministries participated in these efforts, resulting in the censorship of thousands of domestic and foreign Web sites, blogs, cell phone text messages, social networking services, online chat rooms, online games, and e-mail. These measures were not universally effective.

A 2005 State Council regulation deemed personal blogs, computer bulletin boards, and cell phone text messages as part of the news media, which subjected these media to state restrictions on content. Internet service providers were instructed to use only domestic media-news postings, to record information useful for tracking users and their viewing habits, to install software capable of copying e-mails, and to end immediately transmission of "subversive material."

The Ministry of Public Security, which monitors the Internet under guidance from the CCP, employed thousands of persons at the national, provincial, and local levels to monitor electronic communications. Official monitoring focused on such tools as social networking, micro-blogging, and video-sharing sites. The Information Office announced the formation of a new bureau in April. This new agency, officially called the Internet News Coordination Bureau, often referred to as Bureau Nine, operates under the State Council Information Office and is mainly responsible for "guidance, coordination, and other work related to the construction and management of Web culture." Previously, the Information Office operated a single Bureau of Internet Affairs which supervised sites that published news in China.

In July central government authorities ordered all public spaces offering free wireless Internet access to install costly software that would enable police to identify users of the service. Beijing cafe and restaurant owners were told they would face a fine of 20,000 RMB (approximately $3,200) if they continued to offer wireless Internet access without installing the software. By October the Beijing municipal government launched a free wireless Internet service that required registration with a user's cell phone number, linked to a user's real identity information. The government's free wireless Internet service also denied access to commercial virtual private network (VPN) services.

Major news portals, which reportedly were complying with secret government orders, required users to register using their real names and identification numbers to comment on news articles. Individuals using the Internet in public libraries were required to register using their national identity card. Internet usage reportedly was monitored at all terminals in public libraries.

The government consistently blocked access to Web sites it deemed controversial, especially those discussing Taiwan and Tibetan independence, underground religious and spiritual organizations, democracy activists, and the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. The government also at times blocked access to selected sites operated by major foreign governments, news outlets, health organizations, educational institutions, NGOs, and social networking sites, as well as to search engines that allow rapid communication or organization of users.

Some Web sites included images of cartoon police officers that warn users to stay away from forbidden content. Operators of Web portals, blog-hosting services, and other content providers engaged in self-censorship to ensure their servers were free from politically sensitive content. Domestic Web sites that refused to self-censor political content were shut down, and many foreign Web sites were blocked. Millions of citizens hadTwitter-like microblogs that circulated some news banned in the national media. The microblogs themselves were censored but often hours or days after the posting had been seen by many people.

Public relations consultant Chen Hong established a Web site that let people post anonymous tips on official bribery, which proved wildly popular and short lived. Chen's Web site drew 200,000 unique visitors in two weeks. Its anonymous posts discussed bribery at many levels including officials who demanded luxury cars and villas to police officers who needed inducements not to issue traffic tickets. Some posts identified doctors receiving cash under the table to ensure safe surgical procedures. Mainstream media spread word about the site, amplifying the outrage among Internet users. Government authorities subsequently pressured the owner to shut down the site.

Authorities employed an array of technical measures to block sensitive Web sites based in foreign countries. The ability of users to access such sensitive sites varied from city to city. The government also automatically censored e-mail and Web chats based on an ever-changing list of sensitive key words, such as "Falun Gong" and "Tibetan independence." While such censorship was effective in keeping casual users away from sensitive content, it was defeated through the use of various technologies. Information on proxy servers outside China and software for defeating official censorship was readily available inside the country. However, the government increasingly blocked access to the Web sites and proxy servers of commercial VPN providers. Despite official monitoring and censorship, during the year dissidents and political activists continued to use the Internet to advocate and call attention to political causes such as prisoner advocacy, political reform, ethnic discrimination, corruption, and foreign policy concerns. Web users spanning the political spectrum complained of censorship. The blogs of a number of prominent activists, artists, scholars, and university professors were sometimes blocked or closed during the year.

There were numerous press reports on purported cyber attacks against foreign Web sites that carried information offensive to the government.

Authorities continued to jail numerous Internet writers for peaceful expression of political views. On February 26, police in Yunxi County, Hubei Province, detained Chen Yonggang and held him for eight days on suspicion of "insulting and slandering others" after Chen posted articles online alleging that local officials and businessmen had been colluding to embezzle money in the name of engineering projects.

On March 5, public security officials in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, detained democracy activist Zhu Yufu for "inciting subversion of state power" in connection with the Internet-based Jasmine Revolution protest calls. Zhu had posted a poem entitled "It's Time" that included a call for people to "come into the public square." He was formally arrested on April 11. Zhu previously served seven years for "subversion of state power" following the 1998 crackdown on the CDP that he helped found. He was also imprisoned between 2007 and 2009.

In April Wei Qiang, a former art student, was sentenced to two years of RTL for posting pictures of a Jasmine Revolution gathering on his Twitter account.

In October 2010 the revised State Secrets Law came into effect. An article published on Xinhua Net stressed the responsibility of providers of telecommunications services, especially Internet companies, to "stop the leaking of state secrets on the Internet in a timely fashion." According to the revised law, Internet companies must cooperate with investigations of suspected leakages of state secrets, stop the transmission of such information once discovered, and report the crime to the authorities. Furthermore, they must comply with the authorities' orders when told to delete such information from their Web sites. Internet companies that fail to comply with the revised law are subject to punishment by the relevant departments such as the police and the Ministry of State Security.

In November 2010 Cheng Jianping (Internet name: Wang Yi) was sentenced to a year in RTL for "retweeting" a message related to a dispute between China and Japan. Her purported crime was "disturbing social order." Cheng was released from RTL on November 9. According to NGO reports, police escorted Cheng from the RTL facility back to Xinxiang City, where she was placed under illegal soft detention in a hotel. She was reportedly warned not leave Zhangyuan County.

According to Reporters Without Borders' statistics, there were 30 reporters and 68 cyberdissidents in prison.

Regulations prohibit a broad range of activities that authorities interpret as subversive or slanderous to the state.

Academic Freedom and Cultural EventsThe government continued restrictions on academic and artistic freedom and political and social discourse at colleges, universities, and research institutes. Instructors generally were told not to raise certain sensitive topics in class, such as the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. The General Administration of Press and Publications, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, and the Central Propaganda Department were active in issuing restrictive regulations and decisions that constrained the flow of ideas and people.

Authorities on a few occasions blocked entry into the country of individuals deemed politically sensitive and declined to issue passports to Chinese citizens selected for international exchange programs who were seen as politically unreliable, in particular individuals from minority nationality areas.

During the year information outreach, educational exchanges, and other cultural and public diplomacy programs organized by foreign governments increasingly were subject to government interference particularly after Arab Spring movements began in the Middle East. While in many cases government officials simply denied requests for events, claiming it was "inconvenient" to hold them at that time, in other cases government officials would approve events and then cancel them before they were scheduled to occur, sometimes within hours of the events' start time.

During a multicity tour by an international theatrical troupe performing a play that touched on freedom of speech issues, scheduled post-performance talks at several universities were canceled, for no given reason. The visiting performers had activities disrupted and were obstructed in attempts to meet with ethnic minority artists.

A number of other foreign government-sponsored exchange selectees, particularly those from minority provinces, encountered difficulties gaining approval to travel to participate in their programs.

In April 2010 the Chinese Embassy in Moscow declined to issue a visa to a Russian filmmaker invited to participate in a foreign government-sponsored film festival in Beijing.

The government used political attitudes and affiliations as criteria for selecting persons for the few government-sponsored study abroad programs but did not impose such restrictions on privately sponsored students. The government and the party controlled the appointment of high-level officials at universities. While CCP membership was not always a requirement to obtain a tenured faculty position, scholars without CCP affiliation often had fewer chances for promotion.

Researchers, authors and academics residing abroad also were subject to sanctions, including denial of visas, from the authorities when their work did not meet with official approval. In August overseas media reported the cases of 13 foreign academics who asserted they were blocked from obtaining visas to travel to China on the basis of contributions made to a book on Xinjiang seven years earlier.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and AssociationFreedom of AssemblyThe law provides for freedom of peaceful assembly; however, the government severely restricted this right in practice. The law stipulates that such activities may not challenge "party leadership" or infringe upon the "interests of the state." Protests against the political system or national leaders were prohibited. Authorities denied permits and quickly suppressed demonstrations involving expression of dissenting political views.

Citizens continued to gather publicly to protest evictions, relocations, and compensation in locations throughout the country, often resulting in conflict with authorities or other charges (see section 1.f.).

In April police detained 27 villagers and seriously injured five following an April 30 protest in Dao County, Hunan Province. More than 300 villagers from three villages had gathered to protest the private sale by local officials of the right to forest land that villagers depended on for a living. A struggle broke out over signs the villagers were holding, and armed police as well as unarmed officers began striking the protesters. Reportedly, villagers taken into detention were denied food and water and slapped in the face as police sought to extract confessions.

On April 4, local officials disrupted the annual meeting of HIV/AIDS activist Chang Kun's AIBO Youth Center in Linquan County, Anhui Province. The meeting, which took place in the conference room of a local hotel, was interrupted first by hotel management and later by officials from the Guangming Subdistrict Office of Linquan County. In the days leading up to the meeting, officials also destroyed signs outside of the youth center. "Chang Kun's Home" is designed to provide a place for students to gather and also act as a venue for carrying out health, human rights, policy, and Internet freedom education projects.

All concerts, sports events, exercise classes, or other meetings of more than 200 persons require approval from public security authorities. Although peaceful protests are legal, in practice police rarely granted approval. Despite restrictions, there were many demonstrations, but those with political or social themes were broken up quickly, sometimes with excessive force. The number of "mass incidents" and protests, including some violent protests, against local governments increased during the year. As in past years, the vast majority of demonstrations concerned land disputes; housing issues; industrial, environmental, and labor matters; government corruption; taxation; and other economic and social concerns. Others were provoked by accidents or related to personal petition, administrative litigation, and other legal processes.

The law protects an individual's ability to petition the government; however, persons petitioning the government continued to face restrictions on their rights to assemble and raise grievances. Most petitions addressed grievances about land, housing, entitlements, the environment, or corruption. Most petitioners sought to present their complaints at national and provincial "letters and visits" offices.

Although banned by regulations, retaliation against petitioners reportedly continued. This was partly due to incentives provided to local officials by the central government to prevent petitioners in their regions from raising complaints to higher levels. Incentives included provincial cadre evaluations based in part on the number of petitions from their provinces. This initiative aimed to encourage local and provincial officials to resolve legitimate complaints but also resulted in local officials sending security personnel to Beijing and forcibly returning the petitioners to their home provinces to prevent them from filing complaints against local officials with the central government. Such detentions occurred before and after the enactment of the new regulations and often went unrecorded. Rules issued by the General Office of the State Council mandate sending officials from Beijing to the provinces to resolve petition issues locally, thereby reducing the number of petitioners entering Beijing. Other new rules include a mandated 60-day response time for petitions and a regulation instituting a single appeal in each case.

On August 11, Beijing police issued five-day administrative detentions to eight petitioners from Cangshan District, Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, who had passed out leaflets outside a foreign embassy after their grievances over home demolitions had not been resolved through petitioning, according to an international NGO and foreign press reports. Security personnel took one of the petitioners to the Chengmen Police Station once she was back in Cangshan and ordered her to serve an additional 10-day administrative detention for the same offense.

Freedom of AssociationThe law provides for freedom of association, but the government restricted this right in practice. CCP policy and government regulations require that all professional, social, and economic organizations officially register with, and be approved by, the government. In practice these regulations prevented the formation of truly autonomous political, human rights, religious, spiritual, labor, and other organizations that the government believed might challenge its authority.

The government maintained tight controls over civil society organizations. Legal and surveillance efforts aimed at controlling them increased, especially following events in Egypt and Tunisia and subsequent calls for peaceful public (Jasmine Revolution) protests in China. In January the Central Propaganda Bureau banned media use of the term "civil society" (gongmin shehui).

March 2010 regulations issued by the State Administration for Foreign Exchange on foreign exchange donations to or by domestic institutions remained in effect. According to the regulations, foreign exchange donations must "comply with the laws and regulations…and shall not go against social morality or damage public interests and the legitimate rights and interests of other citizens." For donations between a domestic organization and a foreign NGO, the regulations require all parties and the banks to approve additional measures prior to a transaction being processed. Application of the regulation was varied, with some NGOs successfully navigating the requirements, others identifying other options to receive funds, and some severely limiting or shutting down operations.

Local authorities continued to restrict the activities of labor NGOs in Guangdong Province, especially during the Jasmine Revolution crackdown that started in late February. At that time police visited a number of labor NGOs in the Pearl River Delta warning them to cease working with activist lawyers representing workers rights cases in the region. Police also shut down a branch of one regional labor NGO in retribution for engaging with foreign contacts. Labor NGOs reported that they were unable to register as civil organizations and had little alternative but to register as businesses and be subject to taxation.

To register, an NGO must find a government agency to serve as its organizational sponsor, have a registered office, and hold a minimum amount of funds. Some organizations with social or educational purposes that previously registered as private or for-profit businesses reportedly were requested to find a government sponsor and reregister as NGOs during the year.

In July the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) submitted a new version of the registration regulation to the State Council proposing to allow charity and social organizations to register directly with the ministry without need for an organizational sponsor. Several cities, including Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing, trial tested the policy last year. As a result, Jet Li's One Foundation was registered directly with the Shenzhen Ministry of Civil Affairs in January as a private fundraising foundation. It appears the regulation would not apply to NGOs working on advocacy or other potentially politically sensitive issues.

Although registered organizations all came under some degree of government control, some NGOs were able to operate with a degree of independence.

The number of NGOs continued to grow, despite tight restrictions and regulations. According to the MCA, as of the end of 2010, the country had approximately 440,000 legally registered social organizations including social groups (243,000), civil nonbusiness units (195,000), and foundations (2,168). During the year an MCA official wrote, "in 2007, China started to use the term "social organization" instead of "civil organization" because "civil" contrasts with "official" and reflected the opposing roles of civil society and government in the traditional political order. The 16th and 17th CCP Congresses changed the name to "social organization." NGOs existed under a variety of formal and informal guises, including national mass organizations created and funded by the CCP, known as "government NGOs."

The lack of legal registration created numerous logistical challenges for NGOs, including difficulty opening bank accounts, hiring workers, fundraising, and renting office space. NGOs that opted not to partner with government agencies could register as commercial consulting companies, which allowed them to obtain legal recognition at the cost of forgoing tax-free status. Security authorities routinely warned domestic NGOs, regardless of their registration status, not to accept donations from the foreign-funded National Endowment for Democracy and other international organizations deemed sensitive by the government. Authorities supported the growth of some NGOs that focused on social problems, such as poverty alleviation and disaster relief, but remained concerned that these organizations might emerge as a source of political opposition. Many NGOs working in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) were forced to leave because their project agreements were not renewed by their local partners following unrest in Lhasa and other Tibetan communities in 2008.

No laws or regulations specifically govern the formation of political parties. However, the CDP remained banned, and the government continued to monitor, detain, and imprison current and former CDP members.

c. Freedom of ReligionSee the Department of State's International Religious Freedom Report at www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/rpt.

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless PersonsThe law provides for freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation; however, the government generally did not respect these rights in practice. While seriously restricting its scope of operations, the government sometimes cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which maintains an office in Beijing, to provide protection and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, and other persons of concern.

In-country Movement: Authorities heightened restrictions on freedom of movement periodically, particularly to curtail the movement of individuals deemed politically sensitive before key anniversaries and visits of foreign dignitaries, and to forestall demonstrations. Freedom of movement continued to be very limited in the TAR and other Tibetan areas. Police maintained checkpoints in most counties and on roads leading into many towns, as well as within major cities such as Lhasa.

Although the government maintained restrictions on the freedom to change one's workplace or residence, the national household registration system (hukou) continued to change, and the ability of most citizens to move within the country to work and live continued to expand. Rural residents continued to migrate to the cities, where the per capita disposable income was more than four times the rural per capita income, but many could not officially change their residence or workplace within the country. Most cities had annual quotas for the number of new temporary residence permits that could be issued, and all workers, including university graduates, had to compete for a limited number of such permits. It was particularly difficult for rural residents to obtain household registration in more economically developed urban areas.

The household registration system added to the difficulties rural residents faced even after they relocated to urban areas and found employment. According to the 2010 Human Resource and Social Security Development Communique published in May by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), in 2010 the number of rural residents working in non-agricultural jobs was 242.2 million, of which the number of rural residents working outside of their home district was 153.4 million. Many migrant workers and their families faced numerous obstacles with regard to working conditions and labor rights. Many were unable to access public services, such as public education or social insurance, in the cities where they lived and worked because they were not legally registered urban residents. Poor treatment and difficulty integrating into local communities contributed to increased social unrest among migrant workers in the Pearl River Delta. Migrant workers had little recourse when abused by employers and officials. Some major cities maintained programs to provide migrant workers and their children access to public education and other social services free of charge, but migrants in some locations reported that it was difficult to obtain these benefits in practice.

Under the "staying at prison employment" system applicable to recidivists incarcerated in RTL camps, authorities denied certain persons permission to return to their homes after serving their sentences. Some released or paroled prisoners returned home, but they were not permitted freedom of movement.

According to press reports and online blogs, activists detained early in the year for activities associated with calls for a Jasmine Revolution were forcibly returned to their home provinces elsewhere in the country at the time of their release and denied the ability to return to Guangdong Province. These include Yuan Xinting (Sichuan Province), Tang Jingling (Hubei Province), Liu Shihui (Inner Mongolia), and Sun Desheng (Zhejiang Province).

Foreign Travel: The government permitted legal emigration and foreign travel for most citizens. There were reports that some academics and activists continued to face travel restrictions around sensitive anniversaries (see section 1.e.), such as the awarding of Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize in October 2010. The government exercised exit control for departing passengers at airports and other border crossings and utilized this exit control to deny foreign travel to dissidents and persons employed in sensitive government posts. Throughout the year lawyers, artists, authors, and other activists were at times prevented from freely exiting the country. Border officials and police cited threats to "national security" as the reason for refusing permission to leave the country. Most were stopped at the airport by authorities at the time of the attempted travel. On April 3, the government detained Ai Weiwei at the airport as he attempted to board a flight. Writer Liao Yiwu repeatedly faced travel bans preventing his attendance at international literary festivals; in July he left the country and traveled to Germany declaring himself "in exile."

Most citizens could obtain passports, although those whom the government deemed potential threats, including religious leaders, political dissidents, petitioners, and ethnic minorities, reported routinely being refused passports or otherwise prevented from traveling overseas. Uighur residents of the XUAR reported difficulties at the local le

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