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US report says little progress on China rights
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 10, 2013

Ex-Chinese vice governor in court over bribery: Xinhua
Beijing (AFP) Oct 10, 2013 - A former vice governor of a Chinese province stood trial Thursday for taking bribes, state media said, the latest figure to face justice amid a highly publicised anti-corruption campaign.

Tian Xueren, formerly a vice governor of the northeastern province of Jilin, is accused of taking 19.19 million yuan ($3.1 million) from 10 companies and individuals, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Tian, who allegedly received the bribes between 1995 and 2011, appeared before the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court.

The report said that during the period Tian allegedly took the bribes, he had also served in various Communist Party posts, including party chief of an ethnic Korean autonomous prefecture in Jilin. He also formerly served as board chairman of the Bank of Jilin.

Tian was dismissed from all his posts and expelled from the party in July 2012 for "severe disciplinary and law violations", Xinhua said, adding that his "illegal gains have been confiscated".

The verdict was to be announced later.

The anti-corruption campaign by China's new leaders has so far netted a series of low-ranking officials and a handful of senior figures, but no systematic reforms have yet been introduced to tackle what is seen as widespread graft among officialdom.

A US government commission said Thursday that China's human rights record has not improved under the country's new leadership and raised concerns on issues from minority rights to forced abortion.

In an annual report, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China cited initial "potentially hopeful signs" from the new leadership, which took power in March, but said it soon became clear it would not "engage with or even tolerate" public discussion on key reforms.

"Amid talk of a new round of economic reforms under President Xi Jinping, this year's report serves as an important reminder that China is no closer to granting its citizens basic human rights" than when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, said Senator Sherrod Brown, a co-chair of the commission known for his outspoken views on trade.

The report recommended that the United States press China to resume dialogue with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama or his representatives, amid a wave of self-immolations since 2009 of Tibetans protesting Beijing's rule.

Chinese authorities "failed this past year to respond to Tibetan grievances in a constructive manner or accept any accountability for Tibetan rejection of Chinese policies," it said.

The report said China also carried out forced abortions and sterilizations to enforce a population policy that restricts most citizens to bearing only one child.

The commission urged US policymakers to press China to "stop coercion and violence against women during population-planning implementation and to clarify provisions under Chinese law that would protect women against such rights abuses."

Representative Chris Smith, the other co-chair of the commission and a staunch opponent of abortion, praised the report as using "the strongest terms to date" on the "draconian" one-child policy.

The report also called on the United States to ask Chinese officials about indications they may reform its notorious re-education through labor camps, where inmates -- often from the banned Falungong spiritual movement -- have reported systematic physical abuse as they are pressured to renounce their beliefs.

The commission, set up by Congress in 2000, is comprised of members of the Senate, House of Representatives and President Barack Obama's administration, though the reports are not considered administration policy.


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