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2016年1月27日 (水)

中国の人権弾圧 身勝手な力の統治が目に余る

The Yomiuri Shimbun
China must desist from its hardline moves to suppress human rights
中国の人権弾圧 身勝手な力の統治が目に余る

Chinese President Xi Jinping has apparently been further escalating his rule with force.

The Xi administration put in force an “antiterrorism law” this month. The law makes it obligatory for Internet service providers and others to provide technical support to Chinese authorities to help decrypt information to prevent terrorist activities. The law also prohibits media from reporting terrorist activities in detail on the grounds that it might inspire copycat attacks.

Concerns are only rising in the international community that restrictions on activities of foreign companies operating in China and controls on the freedom of speech and news reporting will be tightened further in the country.

The antiterrorism law defines terrorism as “propositions and actions that generate social panic by such means as violence so as to achieve their political objectives.”

It is problematic that there is a possibility that by merely making propositions that are not accepted by the Chinese authorities, one can be punished. The definition of terrorist activities is also vague, leaving plenty of room for discretion.

There is a serious possibility of the authorities’ using the law arbitrarily to suppress the Uighur minority group under the guise of taking measures to fight against terrorism committed by Islamist extremists.

Late last year, prior to the enforcement of the new law, a Beijing-based reporter for a French news magazine who wrote articles critical of China’s policy on the Uighur minority was effectively expelled from the country.

China, under the one-party rule of the Communist Party, touts “the rule of law.” But there is no judicial independence in the country. The law is a means to carry out the rule of the party thoroughly.

Ominous disappearances

Neither can it be overlooked that the authorities, in an arbitrary crackdown, have detained a large number of lawyers and activists who were striving to defend human rights.

Earlier this month, a Swedish man working on human rights issues in China was taken into custody. He was detained for allegedly “posing a threat to national security,” by extending support to human rights lawyers with financial aid from foreign nongovernmental organizations and other entities.

Xi has been solidifying his power base by removing his political enemies through the exposure of their corruption. Despite that, however, he may still harbor a strong sense of crisis over the possibility that public discontent, rooted in factors such as the country’s economic slowdown, may swell because such values as democracy and human rights may spread in society.

Also, it cannot be tolerated that China has been bringing its high-handed methods to Hong Kong, where the “one country, two systems” applies.

In Hong Kong, five people related to a local bookstore — its shareholders, the store manager and others — reportedly disappeared. The store was selling “banned books” that are critical of China, and their publication or sale is prohibited in mainland China.

The Chinese authorities admitted that two of the five are indeed in mainland China, but emphasized that they went there of their own volition.

The authorities are trying to fend off criticism that, with no investigative authority, they have allegedly taken people related to the case from Hong Kong to the mainland and put them into custody.

Should the hauling of those people before the Chinese authorities be a fact, it is a grave situation that would overturn Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy.” It is the responsibility of the Xi administration to give a thorough explanation of the matter not only to the residents of Hong Kong but also to the world.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 26, 2016)


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