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Representative Image. (Photo Credit - Reuters)
Representative Image. (Photo Credit - Reuters)

US report blames China of undermining Hong Kong's autonomy

ANI | Updated: Apr 14, 2022 20:57 IST

Hong Kong, April 14 (ANI): US State Department report on human rights abuses blamed China for undermining Hong Kong's autonomy.
2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: China (Includes Hong Kong, Macau, and Tibet) released on Wednesday painted a grim picture of human rights abuses by China in Hong Kong.
The report found that China's sweeping revision of the district electoral process in Hong Kong had effectively ensured that "only candidates vetted and approved by Beijing would be allowed to hold office at any level".
It also concluded that Hongkongers had lost the ability "to change their government peacefully through free and fair elections".
Last year's elections overhaul added a new pro-establishment sector to the powerful Election Committee and gave the body new authorities to decide who could run for seats on the city's Legislative Council.
The December elections - the first since the reforms were enacted - were marked by the lowest voter turnout in Hong Kong since 1997 and resulted in pro-Beijing candidates winning 89 of 90 seats.
The report also included a blistering assessment of the impact the national security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong in June 2020 has had on the city's political, media and civil spheres.

In the past year alone, the authorities invoked the law in crackdowns on two leading anti-government news outlets, arresting their staff, seizing assets and effectively forcing their closure.
The US report also singled out China for abuses against ethnic minorities, including Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
"Genocide and crimes against humanity occurred during the year against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang. These crimes were continuing and included: the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians; forced sterilization, coerced abortions, and more restrictive application of the country's birth control policies; rape; torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained; forced labor; and draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement," read the report.
The State Department report also highlighted human rights abuses like arbitrary or unlawful killings by the government; forced disappearances by the government; torture by the government; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention conditions; arbitrary detention by the government.
China has mass detained more than one million Uyghurs and members of other predominantly Muslim minority groups in extrajudicial internment camps and an additional two million subjected to daytime-only "re-education" training, the report noted.
Moreover, there are serious restrictions on free expression and media, including physical attacks on and criminal prosecution of journalists, lawyers, writers, bloggers, dissidents, petitioners, and others as well as their family members; serious restrictions on internet freedom, including site blocking; substantial interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including overly restrictive laws that apply to foreign and domestic nongovernmental organizations; severe restrictions and suppression of religious freedom; substantial restrictions on freedom of movement, added the report.
Chinese government officials and the security services often committed human rights abuses with impunity. Authorities often announced investigations following cases of reported killings by police but did not announce results or findings of police malfeasance or disciplinary action. Enforcement of laws on corruption was inconsistent and not transparent, and corruption was rampant, added the report. (ANI)