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Rights report too little too late

HONG KONG (SE): A report from the ruling Conservative Party in the United Kingdom detailing a sharp deterioration in China’s human rights record since Xi Jinping took over the chair of the Chinese Communist Party, has been described as too little too late, Radio Free Asia reported on June 29.

The 68-page report, titled, The Darkest Moment. The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2013 to 2016, highlights a series of crackdowns on political dissidents, religious minorities, rights lawyers and academics.

It also hits out at the detention by Chinese police of the five Hong Kong booksellers for selling banned books to mail-order customers across the mainland border.

“Precious rights and freedoms guaranteed under one country, two systems, such as freedom of the press, of publication and of academic thought, are being chipped away,” Anson Chan Fang On-sang and Democratic Party founder, Martin Lee Chu-ming, are quoted as saying in the report.

“Hong Kong’s young people who have grown up under the one country, two systems model are convinced that Hong Kong is dying,” Victoria Hui, from Notre Dame University in the United States of America, said in evidence to the enquiry.

The report is critical of the use of televised pre-trial confessions from detainees, the ongoing crackdown on Christian Churches and the demolition of crosses.

It also quotes Dixon Sing, an associate professor of social science at University of Science and Technology in Hong Kong, as saying that he believes with Britain’s exit from the European Union it will be far less likely to confront China on human rights in the foreseeable future.

“I am very doubtful that the United Kingdom will sacrifice economic interests in order to confront China over its human rights records,” Sing said.

“The economic consequences of Britain leaving the European Union are still unknown, and I don’t foresee any major changes in its China policy,” he said.

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