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China's human rights record slammed by US lawmakers

Incoming regulations on religious practice 'will increase repression'

October 10, 2016

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China's overall human rights record has been described as "utterly disgraceful" by a U.S. lawmaker upon the release of a damning annual report.

"The Chinese government's human rights record is utterly disgraceful, continuing a downward trend over the past three years," said U.S. lawmaker Chris Smith, chair of a bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which released its 2016 Annual Report on Oct. 6.

"The Chinese government took extraordinary and unprecedented steps last year to decimate the ranks of human rights lawyers, crush independent civil society and religious groups, and expanded controls over the Internet and the press," said Smith.

The report by the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China concluded that the Chinese government's efforts to silence dissent, suppress human rights lawyers, and control civil society, religious groups, and the Internet were broader in scope than during any other period since the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989.

Smith condemned China's ongoing coercive population control polices and warned of the Chinese government's coming implementation of revised "Regulations on Religious Affairs."

"Religious practice is exploding in China, particularly among Christians, and the Communist Party is seeking to regain control. Such efforts have failed in the past and will fail spectacularly now — the Party will not be able to mold religion in its image. Religious freedom in China is constantly under assault and the new regulations will increase repression," said Smith.

"This will create needless confrontations with hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens whose religious faith is central to their daily lives."

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