US credits China with improved human rights

THE CLINTON administration gives China credit for some positive but limited progress on human rights in a report issued yesterday - a sign that the United States will not carry through its threat to limit trade between the two countries.

In his election campaign Mr Clinton accused President Bush of not pushing hard enough on human rights in China, but he has since backed away from a confrontation.

In giving China credit for a slight improvement, the report reduces the chances that Mr Clinton will revoke its 'most favoured nation' trade status when it comes up for renewal in June.

The report also says the Chinese 'human rights record in 1993 fell far short of international accepted norms as it continued to repress domestic critics and failed to control abuses by its own security forces'. Since it was completed China has released some prisoners and allowed prisons to be inspected - concessions that State Department officials are expected to mention in testimony before Congress.

Started by President Carter in 1977 - and much disliked by some diplomats - the annual State Department report on civil rights now covers 193 countries and absorbs a great amount of time in US embassies abroad. Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch in New York, says the quality of information collected has improved and assembling it forces embassies to be in touch with human rights groups.

The 1,500-page report appears tougher than before on US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. Under President Reagan and President Bush the assistant secretary of state in charge of human rights, Richard Schifter, was believed by human rights organisations personally to rewrite and tone down the report on Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza.

In Saudi Arabia in 1993, the report notes, 85 people were executed 'by beheading, sometimes followed by gibbeting'. A Filipino was held in a Saudi jail without charge for four years because the paperwork about his arrest was misplaced by the arresting officer. An Egyptian, Mikhail Cornelius Michail, received 500 lashes for blasphemy and was deported.

Mr Roth said the State Department had had a long internal debate about whether or not to describe Bosnian Serb actions against Bosnian Muslims as genocide. In the event the report refers to 'a brutal campaign of terror - in which acts of genocide took place - to establish an ethnically pure state'.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there