MOSCOW, January 20 (Sputnik) — China needs to review its draft counterterrorism law, which allows authorities to legally abuse human rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement Tuesday.
“China has seen appalling attacks on people, and the government has a duty to respond and protect the population. But in its present form this law is little more than a license to commit human rights abuses. The draft needs to be completely overhauled and brought in line with international legal standards,” China director at HRW Sophie Richardson said in a statement.
According to HRW, the current version of the law includes a broad definition of terrorism, which would enable Beijing to qualify any criticism of the government’s actions as terrorism and to “set up a total digital surveillance architecture subject to no legal or legislative control.”
The Chinese government has also been using the terrorist threat as a justification for the violation of the rights of Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic minority in northwest China, HRW said. The list of abuses attributed to Beijing by the rights group include “torture and enforced disappearances, extensive censorship, and pervasive socio-economic discrimination.” The situation is almost impossible to monitor as China restricts independent access to the region, HRW added.
In its comprehensive World Report 2014 paper HRW noted the relaxation of some restrictions on human rights in China. However, the organization pointed out that the country still remains a one-party state and routinely violates the freedoms of expression, association, assembly and religion of its citizens.