China has been singled out as one of the worst countries in the world where human rights are immensely violated. For over 30 years, members of the United Nations have been attempting to censure China at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights but have not been successful. Groups against human rights abuse have also issued scathing threats and reports meant to condemn China for extensive abuse of human rights. Human rights in China are handled ruthlessly because cases such as the crackdown on civil society and political dissents, torture of people in custody, discrimination of people with disabilities, illegal organ harvesting among imprisoned people, and forced family practices are common. This paper will examine how human rights are handled in the United States and China.
First, the handling of human rights in China are contradictory. The implementation of some reforms by the Chinese Communist Party (CPP) were meant to reduce abuse of human rights, but the concepts related to constitutional democracy, individual rights, and universal values were rejected. For instance, CPP publicized measures which targeted the influence of governments over the courts, but the leadership of the party did not alter the parts of the constitution that allows immunity of the party to the law. The government commit human right abuses and reject allegations, maintaining that country is run according to law. Furthermore, the government has increased the suppression of government critics and activists. These people have been arrested because the government thinks that they incite and subvert the power of the state. Whenever the people voice their concerns over the detained, they are put under surveillance by the police.
Secondly, arrests have degraded the human rights in China as people have faced imprisonment, intimidation, house arrest, detention, and torture. For instance, Shambaugh notes that over 50 activists were arrested and put in confinement for crimes that are ill-defined such as participation in collective and public actions, incitement, subversions, and creation of disturbances (264). The leaders of these protests have also been arrested because of their efforts to make the government respect human rights. For example, Cao Shunli, an activist based in Beijing, was barred from boarding a plane to attend the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) evaluation of China. She was arrested and imprisoned because of asking the government to bring on board the civil society into the commission tasked with drafting a report on human rights abuses in China that was to be presented to the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland. Other prominent activists that have been arrested and jailed for years include Peng Lanlan who served for over one year for her part in blocking official business of the government. Apart from activists, lawyers have also been detained. Lum observes that over 300 lawyers of human rights were arrested, detained and put under surveillance in July 2015 alone (7). Others have been released and warned over their activities while the whereabouts of other lawyers and activists have remained a mystery.
Organ harvesting among prisoners and executed people has exasperated poor handling of human rights in China. Reports have emerged that many detainees become victims of organ harvesting. This involves a non-consensual, illegal, and systematic removal of organs from the body for transplantation purposes while the subjects were still alive. This act is an egregious abuse of human rights that violates the international medical ethical standards and international human rights law. For instance, the Chinese government has continued to abuse the rights of the Falun Gong spiritual movement where followers were imprisoned and their rights abused in detention. Report of people dying here emerged because the adherents were subjected to mistreatments while detained, tortured, forced conversions of faith, and long-term and arbitrary arrests. While these people were held, the government forcefully harvested organs from them (Noakes 42). When human rights activists tried to petition the government to stop this, beaten, harassed, threatened, and their legal licenses were confiscated.
The family planning policies introduced by the government in 1979 have led to the abuse of the right to form a family. This is because the one-child-policy led to home, family and privacy interference as personal freedom was restricted coupled with the abuses that have occurred during the enforcement of the law. Human rights have been violated because the people are detained and physically punished for failing to adhere the rule, forced to undergo sterilization, abortions, and insertions of intrauterine devices (IUD) among women to control birth.
Women have been forced to undergo abortive surgeries which leads to apparent disrespect for reproductive freedom. There have been no remedies for abuses with the implementation of one-child policy and violations are expected to continue as the enactment of two-child policy starts. Forced abortions among women have led to health impediments and infertility which have never been addressed by the government. Similarly, the United States has mishandled the rights of women and girls by establishing laws that restrict their reproductive rights such as reduced funding for planned parenthood, sexually transmitted infections testing and treatment, birth control, and cancer screenings. This has given rise to demonstration and protests by women in the United States to demand justice and equality.
The government of China is one of the leading countries in the world with human rights abuses related to death. China has continued to use death penalty excessively with up to 68 crimes punishable by death, with the majority of these being the non-violent crimes. Hicks et al. note that the number of people executed in China are more than the number executed in all the countries of the world put together, with over 8,000 executions each year which translate to approximately 22 people killed each day (66). Despite this, statistics on the death penalty and executions is confidential, and the state has been successful in keeping the actual figures away from the public and international community because most of the killings are partly due to unfair trials. The Supreme People's Court is responsible for keeping the number of executions and has kept it a secret. These executions amount to human rights abuse and indicates the how severe the punishment carried out.
On the other hand, human rights violations in the United States is lower than the incidences in China as humans are handled more carefully unlike China. For instance, the death penalty in the United States is much lower than the rates in China because the leading state in 2015 did six executions which translates to 100 executions per 100 million people (Reitz 180). The Chinese executions are high, and the government influences the killings because some people are executed due to unfair trials. In the US, up to 14 states have abolished death penalty thus translating to the low executions per year. The executions are done through lethal injections, electric chair, and firing squad, but these depend on the state. The executions have dropped because of the shortage of Pentothal after Hospira, the supplier of the drug, pronounced that it would soon exit the market because of the concerns that the drug was used in executions (Reitz 180).
Lastly, China has infringed the rights of the disabled people. The disable people in the society has faced abuses instituted by the government as they face discrimination and barriers to employment and education. Every person has the right to education, but in China, access to education among the people with disabilities is very low. For instance, universities have been directed by the government to deny enrollment for persons with disabilities in specific subjects because the authorities believe that such persons cannot excellently execute the requirements of such subjects (Human Rights Watch). Furthermore, persons with disabilities face discrimination during employment. Official guidelines do not allow people with certain disabilities in the civil service. According to the Humans Rights Watch, a visually impaired man was rejected in Henan province even after scoring the highest marks in civil service exam for a position in a local legislative office.
Abuse of human rights of the people with disabilities is evident in the United States. For instance, the rollbacks proposed on the accessibility obligations in the Americans with Disabilities Act and the planned cuts to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that provides services for the disabled are potential ways that could undercut the rights of persons with disabilities. Furthermore, police use force among people with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities is evident in the police force because officers are sometimes insecure thus apply force. Since the United States maintains death penalty among persons found guilty of any offense, the disabled have been executed just like other inmates on death row. For example, a person with a psychosocial disability was executed in Virginia despite calls from human rights activists, UN experts, and lawmakers to have his sentence commuted.
Any person accused of a crime in the United States is granted considerable rights if they are from the United States. The United States legal system has problems, but there is a higher chance that the system will try to protect the rights of a person from being falsely accused. This means that a convicted individual is given an opportunity to have a case redressed if one thinks that the judgment was unfair. Furthermore, the system in the United States allows the selection of the jury which will decide if the case can go on trial unlike in China where one person has the sole decision. The defense and the prosecution are agents of the state thus the conviction is greatly influenced by the government unlike in the United States where the defense protects the defendant's rights. The government of China recently made an assurance that measures meant to lessen official influence on court cases are underway. The United States also has the largest reported population of incarcerated individuals in the world of over 2.3 million exasperated by long years behind bars and compulsory minimum sentencing (Zoukis 248). Despite the calls for reforms by the Congress, Trump administration has shown no support towards this.
In conclusion, human rights abuse in China and United States are evident. Both governments have handled the rights of the people. The rights of different people have been abused in different ways, and some have resulted in death while others have face torture, long-term detention, discrimination in employment and enrolment in universities, and confiscation as well as withdrawal of licenses among lawyers. These abuses have infringed the rights of the people making their lives unbearable, thus resorting to protests to make their concerns heard. People in both countries have continued to fight for their rights and justice. Despite detentions, women, lawyers, people with disabilities, and activists have relentlessly taken cases to court to raise awareness and redress.
Di Bella, Maria Pia, and James Elkins, eds. Representations of Pain in Art and Visual Culture. Vol. 4. Routledge, 2013. Print.
Hicks, Wynford, et al. Writing for Journalists. Routledge, 2016. Print.
Human Rights Watch. World Report 2015: Events of 2014. Policy Press, 2015.
Lum, Thomas. "Human Rights in China and US Policy: Issues for the 114th Congress." Current Politics and Economics of Northern and Western Asia 25.3 (2016).
Noakes, Stephen. The Advocacy Trap: Transnational Activism and State...
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