Human Rights Watch report blasts China 'oppression'

January 15, 2020 09:33
Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, holds up his agency’s World Report 2020 at an event at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a scathing review of the Chinese government, calling on the international community to push back against “the most brutal and pervasive oppression China has seen in decades”, Reuters reports.

In an annual report, the US-based organization condemned Beijing’s treatment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region and also warned that China’s growing political influence and efforts to censor people abroad pose an “existential threat to the international human rights system,” the news agency said.

"If not challenged, Beijing’s actions portend a dystopian future in which no one is beyond the reach of Chinese censors, and an international human rights system so weakened that it no longer serves as a check on government repression,” Kenneth Roth, HRW's global head, was quoted as saying in the firm's 2020 report.

Roth was on Sunday denied entry to Hong Kong where he was expected to launch the report, which covers the global human rights situation but features China prominently.

China last month announced sanctions on HRW and other US non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as a countermeasure to the US Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which supports anti-government protests in Hong Kong and threatens China with sanctions for human rights abuses.

Beijing says the NGOs are encouraging violent crime linked to anti-government protests in Hong Kong that have plagued the city for over six months. Roth rejected the accusation.

The HRW report, released at the United Nations on Tuesday, said Hong Kong police have used “excessive force” and have “increasingly restricted freedom of assembly” there.

It criticized Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam for refusing to launch an independent investigation into police abuses.

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