Thursday, September 17, 2015

Politics and Contradiction: CECC Hearings on Detentions of Chinese Lawyers in run up to Xi Jinping's Chinese State Visit: "Urging China's President Xi to Stop State-Sponsored Human Rights Abuses"

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China was created by the U.S. Congress in 2000 "with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress. The Commission consists of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President." (CECC About). The CECC FAQs provide useful information about the CECC. See CECC Frequently Asked Questions. They have developed positions on a number of issues: Access to Justice; Civil Society;Commercial Rule of Law; Criminal Justice; Developments in Hong Kong and Macau ; The Environment ; Ethnic Minority Rights;Freedom of Expression; Freedom of Religion ; Freedom of Residence and Movement ; Human Trafficking ; Institutions of Democratic Governance ; North Korean Refugees in China; Population Planning ; Public Health ; Status of Women ; Tibet ; Worker Rights ; and Xinjiang.

CECC tends to serve as an excellent barometer of the thinking of political and academic elites in the United States about issues touching on China and the official American line developed in connection with those issues. As such it is an important source of information about the way official and academic sectors think about China. As one can imagine many of the positions of the CECC are critical of current Chinese policies and institutions (see, e.g., here, here, here and here).

In the run up the the state visit of Xi Jinping to the United States, the CECC has announced  activities that focus on its current critical line toward Chinese policies.  They are meant to draw attention to these issues as the U.S. media attention is drawn to the Chinese state visit. To that end, its leaders, including Marco Rubio, an individual seeking nomination to stand as the representative of the Republican Party for President, have issued a press release announcing hearings  on te recent detention of Chinese lawyers.  The press release follows.

Representative Christopher Smith, Chairman and Senator Marco Rubio, Cochairman
Announce a Hearing Urging China's President Xi to Stop State-Sponsored Human Rights Abuses

Friday, September 18, 2015

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Capitol Visitors Center, HVC 210

As President Obama prepares to host Chinese President Xi Jinping on September 24-25, 2015, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) will hold a hearing to examine the critical human rights and rule of law issues that deserve frank and robust discussions during the planned state visit.
It has been another bad year for human rights in China. In its forthcoming Annual Report, scheduled for release in October, the CECC will provide documentation of the Chinese government and Communist Party's efforts to silence dissent, suppress human rights advocacy, and control civil society - efforts that are broader in scope than any other period documented since the Commission started issuing Annual Reports in 2002.
Chinese authorities have targeted for arrest and harassment human rights defenders; media outlets and journalists; human rights lawyers; Tibetans and Uyghurs; religious groups; nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); intellectuals and democracy advocates; and supporters of "universal suffrage" in Hong Kong. The CECC Political Prisoner Database has case information on over 1,300 political and religious prisoners currently known or believed to be detained or imprisoned.
There are many important issues, to include security and economic concerns, that should be on the agenda during the Chinese President's visit. So too should human rights. It is increasingly clear that there are direct links between concrete improvements in human rights and the rule of law in China and the security and prosperity of the United States.
Witnesses will address a variety of human rights developments and will make policy recommendations in the context of the upcoming summit.
Teng Biao: Chinese human rights lawyer, Harvard University Law School Visiting Fellow, and Co-founder, the Open Constitution Initiative
Xiao Qiang: Founder and Editor-in-Chief, China Digital Times
Yang Jianli: President, Initiatives for China/ Citizen Power for China
Shohret Hoshur: journalist reporting on news in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region for Radio Free Asia
Ethan Gutmann: China Analyst and Author of The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem

*Additional Witnesses May Be Added
This hearing will be webcast live here<>.
Click here<> to download a copy of the Commission's full 2014 Annual Report.
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China, established by the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization, is mandated by law to monitor human rights, including worker rights, and the development of the rule of law in China. The Commission by mandate also maintains a database of information on political prisoners in China-individuals who have been imprisoned by the Chinese government for exercising their civil and political rights under China's Constitution and laws or under China's international human rights obligations. All of the Commission's reporting and its Political Prisoner Database are available to the public online via the Commission's Web site,<>.

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