Is the human rights situation getting worse or better in China?
The Chinese government continues to claim that its human rights record improves every year as it lifts more people out of poverty. Yet Human Rights Watch research has documented a continued deterioration of human rights conditions in China over the past year. That trend has dashed hopes that the “fourth generation” of Chinese Communist Party leadership of Chairman Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao would be more progressive on human rights issues than their predecessors. While China’s economy has boomed over the past decade due to a steady reduction in state control in the country’s economic and financial sector, which has in turn enabled a greater degree of personal freedoms, the Chinese government has actively stifled efforts by nascent civil society organizations and grassroots activists to press for expanded human rights and freedoms guaranteed by international agreements and China’s own constitution. Dissidents remain locked up in prison or locked-down under house arrest while the C