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TITLE:  CHINA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


The People's Republic of China (PRC) remains a one-party state 
ruled by the Chinese Communist Party through a 21-member 
Politburo and a small circle of officially retired but still 
powerful senior leaders.  Almost all top civilian, police, and 
military positions at the national and regional levels are held 
by party members.  Despite official adherence to Marxism-
Leninism, in recent years economic decisionmaking has become 
less ideological, more decentralized, and increasingly market 
oriented.  Fundamental human rights provided for in the 
Constitution are frequently ignored in practice, and challenges 
to the Communist Party's political authority are often dealt 
with harshly and arbitrarily.

Security forces, comprised of a nationwide network which 
includes the People's Liberation Army, the Ministry of State 
Security, the Ministry of Public Security, the People's Armed 
Police, and the state judicial, procuratorial, and penal 
systems, are poorly monitored due to the absence of adequate 
legal safeguards or adequate enforcement of existing safeguards 
for those detained, accused, or imprisoned.  They are 
responsible for widespread and well-documented human rights 
abuses, including torture, forced confessions, and arbitrary 

A decade of rapid economic growth, spurred by market incentives 
and foreign investment, has reduced party and government 
control over the economy and permitted ever larger numbers of 
Chinese to have more control over their lives and livelihood.  
Despite significant income disparities between coastal regions 
and the interior, there is now a growing "middle class" in the 
cities and rural areas as well as a sharp decline in the number 
of Chinese at the subsistence level.  These economic changes 
have led to a de facto end to the role of ideology in the 
economy and an increase in cultural diversity.  An example of 
this is the media, which remains tightly controlled with regard 
to political questions, although it now is free to report on a 
wider variety of other issues.

The Government took some positive steps on human rights issues 
during 1993.  It released some prominent political prisoners 
early or on medical parole; many had served long terms in 
prison.  The Government still has not provided a full or public 
accounting of the thousands of persons detained during the 
suppression of the 1989 democracy movement, when millions of 
students, workers, and intellectuals defied the Government and 
participated in public demonstrations.  Most of these detainees 
appear to have been released, however, some after serving 
periods of detention without charges having been brought and 
some after having completed their prison sentences.  The 
Government says it has released the remaining imprisoned or 
detained Vatican loyalists among the Catholic clergy.  Although 
it continues to restrict the movements and activities of some 
elderly priests and bishops, the Government announced in 
November that two priests, whose movements had been restricted, 
were free to return to their homes.  The authorities also 
allowed a number of prominent political dissidents to leave 
China in 1993.  In November the Government announced it would 
give positive consideration to a request from the International 
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit China.

Nevertheless, the Government's overall human rights record in 
1993 fell far short of internationally accepted norms as it 
continued to repress domestic critics and failed to control 
abuses by its own security forces.  The Government detained, 
sentenced to prison, or sent to labor camps, and in a few cases 
expelled from the country, persons who sought to exercise their 
rights of freedom of assembly and speech.  The number of 
persons in Chinese penal institutions considered political 
prisoners by international standards is impossible to estimate 
accurately.  In 1993 hundreds, perhaps thousands, of political 
prisoners remained under detention or in prison.  Physical 
abuse, including torture by police and prison officials 
persisted, especially in politically restive regions with 
minority populations like Tibet.  Criminal defendants continue 
to be denied legal safeguards such as due process or adequate 
defense.  In many localities, government authorities continued 
to harass and occasionally detain Christians who practiced 
their religion outside the officially sponsored religious 


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were accounts of extrajudicial killings by government 
officials in 1993.  A few cases resulted in severe punishment 
for the officials involved and were widely publicized as 
admonitory examples.  Local officials beat to death an Anhui 
farmer in February after he protested the level of taxes and 
fees.  Those found directly responsible for the beating, 
including a local public security official, received long 
prison terms and, in one case, a death sentence.  Other 
officials were dismissed or disciplined.  Also, in another 
well-publicized case, the powerful local Communist party 
secretary of a village near Tianjin was sentenced in August to 
20 years in prison for obstruction of justice and other 
offenses related to a December 1992 beating death.  Those who 
actually took part in the beating also received long prison 

The official responses to other cases served to cover up 
abuses, however.  Credible reports indicated that a Shaanxi man 
beaten by public security officials in March, during a raid on 
an unauthorized Protestant gathering, died as a result of his 
injuries and the lack of timely medical care while in police 
custody.  An official autopsy ascribed the death to an 
unrelated illness.

Because the Government often restricts access to such 
information, it is impossible to determine the total number of 
such killings.  However, according to a credible report issued 
in 1993 by a human rights group, at least 12 persons died in 
1992 as a result of torture while in police custody.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reported cases in 1993 in which persons who 
disappeared were suspected to have been killed by officials, 
however, the Government has still not provided a comprehensive, 
credible public accounting of all those missing or detained in 
connection with the suppression of the 1989 demonstrations.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Cases of torture and degrading treatment of detained and 
imprisoned persons persisted.  Both official Chinese sources 
and international human rights groups reported many instances 
of torture.  Persons detained pending trial were particularly 
at risk as a result of weaknesses in the legal system, 
including the emphasis on obtaining confessions as a basis for 
convictions and the lack of access to prisoners, even by family 
members, until after formal charges are brought, a step that 
can be delayed for months.  Former detainees have credibly 
reported the use of cattle prods and electrodes, prolonged 
periods of solitary confinement and incommunicado detention, 
beatings, shackles, and other forms of abuse against detained 
women and men.

While generally refusing to allow impartial observers to visit 
prisoners, officials stated that internal monitoring and laws 
to prevent and punish abuses continue to be strengthened.  
Procurator General Liu Fuzhi said in March that 2,800 
procuratorate offices had been set up in jails and detention 
centers to safeguard the welfare of detainees.  In response to 
a call by the Chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC), 
a national-level procuratorial conference held in Shanghai in 
early April focused on measures to improve the Procuratorate's 
supervision of law enforcement personnel and government 
officials who violate the civil rights of citizens.  In August 
the Guangdong provincial public security bureau issued a 
regulation forbidding police torture during interrogations.  In 
April China told the U.N. Committee Against Torture that 339 
cases of torture to extract confessions were investigated 
during 1992, 209 cases were reported to the Procuratorate with 
a view to prosecution, and 180 prosecutions were brought.  No 
information on convictions or punishments was provided.  While 
Chinese officials said in December that 23 prison officials had 
been punished in serious cases of mistreatment of prisoners, 
the number of actual incidents of torture and ill-treatment by 
government officials is almost certainly far greater than this 

Conditions of imprisonment for political prisoners vary 
widely.  Some prisoners, including the student leader Wang Dan, 
who was released in February, have stated they were treated 
reasonably well.  Credible reports indicate others have been 
abused.  Political prisoners are often intermingled with common 
criminals.  Credible reports persisted in 1993 that Liu Gang, a 
political prisoner held at a Liaoning labor camp, suffers ill 
health as a result of beatings and other mistreatment, and that 
prison officials instigated some beatings by cellmates.  
Officials strongly denied these allegations and arranged for an 
interview with Liu and his jailers, which was published in 
August by a Chinese English-language journal.  They declined 
repeated requests by foreign groups to allow access to the 
jailed dissident by independent observers.

There was limited evidence that, at least in a few cases, 
detained dissidents have been incarcerated in psychiatric 
institutions and treated with drugs.  The lack of independent 
outside access to such persons made it impossible to verify the 
reports.  Shanghai dissident Wang Miaogen was detained by 
public security officials in May and committed to a mental 
institution after he attempted to protest the holding of the 
East Asia games.  Wang had earlier chopped off four of his 
fingers in a protest over alleged persecution.  Wang Wanxing, 
detained in 1992 while attempting to stage a one-man protest on 
Tiananmen Square, continued to be held in a Beijing-area mental 

Conditions in Chinese penal institutions are generally harsh 
and frequently degrading, and nutritional and health conditions 
are sometimes grim.  Medical care for prisoners has been a 
problem area, despite official assurances that prisoners have 
the right to maintain good health and receive prompt medical 
treatment if they become ill.  In 1993 political prisoners who 
reportedly had difficulties in obtaining timely and adequate 
medical care included Wang Juntao, Chen Ziming, and Ren 
Wanding.  Medical paroles may be granted to ailing prisoners, 
and 1989 detainee Li Guiren was released in January to obtain 
medical treatment.  Working conditions for prisoners in many 
facilities are similar to those in ordinary factories, but some 
prisoners working in penal coal mines and at other sites must 
endure dangerous conditions (see Section 6.c.).

Political prisoner Qi Dafeng continued to serve a 2-year 
sentence in a coal mine in Anhui, where he had been sent under 
the nonjudicial "reeducation through labor" program in late 

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

China's Criminal Procedure Law proscribes arbitrary arrest or 
detention, limits the time a person may be held in custody 
without being charged, and requires officials to notify the 
detainee's family and work unit of the detention within 24 
hours.  These provisions are subject to several important 
exceptions, including the sweeping provision that notification 
may be withheld if it would "hinder the investigation" of a 
case.  Senior judicial officials acknowledged in 1993 that 
limits on detention are frequently ignored in practice or 
circumvented by various informal mechanisms.  In numerous 
cases, the precise legal status or location of detainees is 
unclear.  Public security authorities often detain people for 
long periods of time under mechanisms not covered by the 
Criminal Procedure Law.  These include unpublished regulations 
on "taking in for shelter and investigation" and "supervised 
residence" as well as other methods not requiring procuratorial 
approval.  According to the Chinese media, close to 1 million 
detentions under "shelter for investigation" have been carried 
out annually in recent years.  No statistics were available to 
indicate the usual length of these detentions, but at least 
some lasted several months.  Links between local officials and 
business leaders have resulted in scattered detentions as a 
means of exerting pressure in economic disputes.  The legality 
of detentions may be judicially challenged under the 
Administrative Procedures Law, but such challenges are rare and 
there is little evidence that this is an adequate or timely 
remedy for improper actions.  There is no judicially supervised 
system of bail, but at the discretion of public security 
officials some detainees are released pending further 

Political dissidents are often detained or charged for having 
committed "crimes of counterrevolution" under Articles 90 
through 104 of the Criminal Law.  Counterrevolutionary offenses 
range from treason and espionage to spreading counter-
revolutionary propaganda.  These articles have also been used 
to punish persons who organized demonstrations, disrupted 
traffic, disclosed official information to foreigners, or 
formed associations outside state control.  Detention and trial 
of dissidents on other charges is also possible.  People 
participating in unauthorized religious organizations may be 
charged with criminal offenses such as receiving funds from 
abroad without authorization or changing such funds on the 
black market.  Legal provisions requiring family notification 
and limiting length of detention are often ignored in political 
cases.  Liao Jia'an, a university student in Beijing detained 
in 1992 for peaceful expression of his political views, was 
held for a year before being formally arrested in mid-1993 for 
counterrevolutionary crimes.

A well-documented estimate of the total number of those 
subjected to new or continued arbitrary arrest or detention for 
political reasons is not possible due to the Government's tight 
control of information.  Individuals reported detained are 
sometimes released without charge after several days or weeks 
of interrogation.  There were several reported lengthier 
detentions of dissidents, including Sun Lin, Wang Miaogen, and 
Zhang Xianliang, in Shanghai during 1993.  Sun was released in 
August after 5 months in detention.  Democracy activists Qin 
Yongmin, Yang Zhou, and Zheng Xuguang were detained in November 
in connection with the formation of a group called the "Peace 
Charter."  Yang Zhou was released from detention on December 
31, but the authorities had not provided information on the 
status or location of the other peace charter detainees.  
Several dozen Tibetans were also reported to have been detained 
after participation in proindependence demonstrations or 
activities (see Section 5).  Gendun Rinchen, a Tibetan tour 
guide who had been detained in May 1993, was released on 
January 14, 1994

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Officials insist that China's judiciary is independent but 
acknowledge that it is subject to the Communist Party's policy 
guidance.  In actuality, party and government leaders almost 
certainly predetermine verdicts and sentences in some sensitive 
cases.  According to the Constitution, the court system is 
equal in authority to the State Council and the Central 
Military Commission, the two most important government 
institutions.  All three organs are nominally under the 
supervision of the National People's Congress.  The Supreme 
People's Court stands at the apex of the court system, followed 
in descending order by the higher, intermediate, and basic 
people's courts.

Due process rights are provided for in the Constitution but are 
often ignored in practice.  Both before and after trial, 
prisoners are subject to severe psychological pressure to 
confess their "errors."  Defendants who fail to "show the right 
attitude" by confessing their crimes are typically sentenced 
more harshly.  Despite official media and other reports that 
indicate coerced confessions have led to erroneous convictions, 
a coerced confession is not automatically excluded as 
evidence.  According to judicial officials, however, 
confessions without corroborating evidence are an insufficient 
basis for conviction.

Accused persons are given virtually no opportunity to prepare a 
defense in the pretrial process, during which the question of 
guilt or innocence is essentially decided administratively.  
Defense lawyers may be retained only 7 days before the trial.  
In some cases even this brief period has been shortened under 
regulations issued in 1983 to accelerate the adjudication of 
certain serious criminal cases.  Persons appearing before a 
court are not presumed innocent; despite official denials, 
trials are essentially sentencing hearings.  Conviction rates 
average over 99 percent.  There is an appeal process, but 
initial decisions are rarely overturned, and appeals generally 
do not provide meaningful protection against arbitrary or 
erroneous verdicts.  Like the initial court verdict, the 
judgment of the Appeals Court is subject to Communist Party 

Under the Criminal Procedure Law, persons "exempted from 
prosecution" by procurators are deemed to have a criminal 
record, despite the lack of a judicial determination of guilt.  
Such provisions can be applied in "counterrevolutionary crimes" 
as well as for ordinary criminal offenses.  In August Shanghai 
activists Sun Lin, Yao Tiansheng, and Han Lifa were "exempted 
from prosecution" for counterrevolutionary offenses and 

Some officials have acknowledged that trials in China are 
conducted too rapidly.  These officials state that China's 
70,000 lawyers, most of whom are engaged in commercial law, are 
insufficient to meet the country's expanding legal needs and 
point to the Government's intention to increase this number to 
at least 150,000.  Knowledgeable observers report that defense 
attorneys appear in only a small number of criminal trials.  
Under Chinese law, there is no requirement that the court 
appoint a defense attorney for the defendant unless the 
defendant is deaf, dumb, or a minor.  When attorneys do appear, 
they have little time to prepare a defense and rarely contest 
guilt; their function is generally confined to requesting 
clemency.  Defense lawyers, like other Chinese, generally 
depend on an official work unit for employment, housing, and 
many other aspects of their lives.  They are therefore often 
reluctant to be viewed as overzealous in defending persons 
accused of political offenses.

The need for adequate, independent legal aid is increasingly 
understood in legal circles and within the Government.  In many 
cities, law firms are being organized outside the framework of 
established government legal offices.  These firms are 
self-regulating and do not have their personnel or budgets 
determined directly by the State.  The Minister of Justice 
announced in October that China would gradually increase the 
number of autonomous law firms from the current total of 410.

The Criminal Procedure Law requires that all trials be held in 
public, except those involving state secrets, juveniles, or 
"personal secrets."  Details of cases involving 
"counterrevolutionary" charges, however, have frequently been 
kept secret, even from defendants' relatives, under this 
provision.  The 1988 Law on State Secrets affords a ready basis 
for denying a public trial in cases involving 

Lack of due process is particularly egregious when defendants 
receive the death sentence.  Chinese officials refuse to 
provide comprehensive statistics on death sentences or 
executions, but hundreds of executions are officially reported 
annually.  The actual numbers may be much higher.  All death 
sentences are nominally reviewed by a higher court.  Reviews 
are usually completed within a few days after sentencing and 
consistently result in a perfunctory confirmation of sentence.  
However, no executions for political offenses are known to have 
occurred in 1993.

In addition to the formal judicial system, government 
authorities can assign persons accused of "minor" public order 
and "counterrevolutionary" offenses to "reeducation through 
labor" camps in an extrajudicial process.  In 1990 Chinese 
officials stated that 869,934 Chinese citizens had been 
assigned to these camps since 1980, with about 80,000 assigned 
each year.  Chinese officials reported 120,000 prisoners were 
undergoing "reeducation through labor" at the end of 1993.  
Other estimates of the number of inmates are considerably 
higher.  Terms of detention run from a normal minimum of 1 year 
to a maximum of 3 years.  The "labor reeducation" committee 
which determines the term of detention may extend an inmate's 
sentence for an additional year.  Under a State Council 
regulation issued in early 1991, those sentenced to 
"reeducation through labor" may ask the committee to reconsider 
their decision.  Since 1990, "reeducation through labor" 
sentences may also be judicially challenged under the 
Administrative Procedures Law.  While some persons have gained 
reduction or withdrawal of their sentence after reconsideration 
or appeal, in practice these procedures are rarely used, and 
short appeal times, lack of access to lawyers, and other 
problems weaken their potential assistance in preventing or 
reversing arbitrary decisions.

The system of "reeducation through labor" sometimes is used by 
security authorities to deal with political and other offenders 
without reference to even the nominal procedures and 
protections the formal criminal process offers.  In Shanghai, 
Fu Shenqi and Zhang Xianliang were given 3-year "reeducation 
through labor" sentences in July for "provoking incidents" and 
"inciting trouble" which disturbed public order.

Government officials deny that China has any political 
prisoners, asserting that persons are detained not for the 
political views they hold, but because they have taken some 
action which violates the Criminal Law.  The number of persons 
in Chinese penal institutions considered political prisoners by 
international standards is impossible to estimate accurately.  
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of political prisoners remained 
imprisoned or detained.  Estimates by some foreign researchers 
of the number of political prisoners are much higher.  Many if 
not most people held for political offenses are charged as 
counterrevolutionaries.  Chinese officials said in December 
there were 3,172 persons serving sentences for counter-
revolutionary crimes, down from a figure of 3,317 given to an 
American human rights monitor in October.  As part of the 
October figure, officials also indicated that 560 persons 
convicted of counterrevolutionary crimes had been paroled.  
Those convicted of counterrevolutionary crimes make up 0.2 
percent of the total prisoner population of 1.22 million, but 
they are about 5 percent of total parolees.  As recently as 
November 1992, an Australian delegation was told there were 
4,000 in prison for counterrevolutionary crimes.  All these 
estimates almost certainly include a substantial number of 
persons convicted of espionage or other internationally 
recognized criminal offenses.  At the same time, the figures 
exclude many political prisoners detained but not charged, 
persons held in labor reeducation camps and an undetermined 
number of persons sentenced for criminal offenses due solely to 
their nonviolent political or religious activities.

Many prominent activists, including Chen Ziming, Wang Juntao, 
and Liu Gang (all three held since 1989), remained imprisoned 
in 1993.  Some persons detained for political reasons were 
released on parole before the end of their sentences.  Those 
released early included longtime political prisoners Wei 
Jingsheng, Wang Xizhe, and Xu Wenli, and Tiananmen-related 
detainees Wang Dan, Gao Shan, Zhai Weimin, Wu Xuecan, and Guo 
Haifeng.  Shanghai activist Fu Shenqi was released in March but 
reimprisoned on other charges in June.  Even after release, 
such persons have a criminal record, and their status in 
society, ability to be employed, freedom to travel, and 
numerous other aspects of their lives are often severely 
restricted.  Economic reform and social change have somewhat 
diminished these problems, but some people continue to 
experience serious hardships.  For example, the families of 
political prisoners sometimes encounter difficulty in obtaining 
or keeping employment and housing.  Zhang Fengying, wife of 
imprisoned activist Ren Wanding, remained in poor housing 
conditions in 1993.  Zhang and her teenage daughter were 
evicted from their apartment in 1992.  Ren's work unit owns the 
apartment.  While the work unit asserted it wanted to reassign 
the housing to another worker, the apartment reportedly has 
remained vacant.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The authorities extensively monitor and regulate personal and 
family life, particularly in China's cities.  Most persons in 
urban areas still depend on their government-linked work unit 
for housing, permission to marry or have a child, approval to 
apply for a passport, and other aspects of ordinary life.  The 
work unit, along with the neighborhood watch committee, is 
charged with monitoring activities and attitudes.  However, 
changes in the economic structure, including the growing 
diversity of employment opportunities and the increasing market 
orientation of many work units, are undermining the 
effectiveness of this system.  Search warrants are required by 
law before security forces can search premises, but this 
provision is often ignored.  In addition, both the Public 
Security Bureau and procuracy apparently can issue search 
warrants on their own authority.

The 1982 Constitution states that "freedom and privacy of 
correspondence of citizens ... are protected by law," but, 
according to a Western expert on Chinese law, legislation for 
this purpose does not exist.  In practice, some telephone 
conversations are recorded, and mail is frequently opened and 
censored.  The Government often monitors and sometimes 
restricts contact between foreigners and Chinese citizens, 
particularly dissidents.

The Government has continued its effort to control citizens' 
access to outside sources of information, selectively jamming 
Chinese language broadcasts of the Voice of America (VOA) and 
the British Broadcasting Corporation.  Despite the effort made 
to jam VOA, the effectiveness of the jamming varies 
considerably by region, with audible signals reaching most 
parts of China.  A small but rapidly growing segment of the 
population has access to satellite television broadcasts.  
Authorities issued new regulations on the installation and 
operation of satellite dishes in October, requiring permits for 
operation and banning private ownership and operation except 
under limited circumstances.  However, China has not been very 
successful in implementing past regulations restricting the use 
of satellite dishes.  Satellite television dishes are widely 
available for sale, and a licensing scheme which nominally 
controls purchase of the equipment is loosely enforced.

China's population has roughly doubled in the past 40 years to 
nearly 1.2 billion people, over a fifth of all humanity.  In 
the 1970's and 1980's China adopted a comprehensive and highly 
intrusive family planning policy.  This policy most heavily 
affects Han Chinese in urban areas.  For urban couples, 
obtaining permission, usually issued by their work units, to 
have a second child is very difficult.  Numerous exceptions are 
allowed for the 70 percent of Han who live in rural areas.  
Ethnic minorities are subject to less stringent population 
controls.  Enforcement of the family planning policy is 
inconsistent, varying widely from place to place and year to 

The population control policy relies on education, propaganda, 
and economic incentives, as well as more coercive measures, 
including psychological pressure and economic penalties.  
Rewards for couples who adhere to the policy include monthly 
stipends and preferential medical and educational benefits.

Disciplinary measures against those who violate the policy 
include stiff fines, withholding of social services, demotion, 
and other administrative punishments, including, in some 
instances, loss of employment.  Unpaid fines have sometimes 
resulted in confiscation or destruction of personal property. 
Because penalties for excess births may be levied against local 
officials and the mothers' work units, many persons are 
affected, providing multiple sources of pressure.

Physical compulsion to submit to abortion or sterilization is 
not authorized, but Chinese officials acknowledge privately 
that there are still instances of forced abortions and 
sterilizations in remote, rural areas.  Officials maintain 
that, when discovered, abuses by local officials result in 
discipline or retraining.  They admit, however, that stronger 
punishment is rare and have not documented any cases where 
punishment has occurred.  A sharp reported drop in fertility 
rates in 1991-92 sparked concern about a possible upturn in 
incidents of coercion.  One cause for worry about such 
increased pressures was a policy change in early 1991 making 
local political officials more directly responsible for success 
in meeting family quotas.  There was strong evidence, however, 
that the magnitude of the reported fertility drop was sharply 
exaggerated, in part because the policy change intensified 
strong existing incentives for officials and families to 
underreport births.

At least five provincial governments have implemented 
regulations with eugenics provisions, beginning with Gansu in 
1988.  These regulations seek to prevent people with severe 
mental handicaps from having children.  National family 
planning officials say they oppose such legislation, but the 
Government has taken no action to overturn these local laws.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of speech and self-expression remain severely 
restricted, although there has been an easing of the limits 
imposed during the post-Tiananmen crackdown.  Citizens are not 
permitted to publish or broadcast criticism of senior leaders 
or opinions that contradict basic Communist Party doctrine 
which provides for a Socialist state under the party's control, 
or to make speeches which contain such criticism or opinions.  
The Government interprets the Communist Party's "leading role" 
as circumscribing the various individual rights guaranteed in 
the Constitution.  People who violate these quidelines are 
warned and often punished.  Gao Yu, a former writer of a now 
banned periodical, was charged in October with "leaking state 
secrets abroad" in connection with articles published in Hong 
Kong.  Xi Yang, a Hong Kong reporter, was detained in September 
for "stealing" financial secrets in connection with articles 
published in Hong Kong.

Domestic television and radio broadcasting and the press remain 
under party and government control and are used to propagate 
the currently acceptable ideological line.  A more lively 
tabloid sector continued to expand in 1993, and the circulation 
of major propaganda-oriented dailies continued to slip.

Radio talk shows also flourished and, although they generally 
avoided politically sensitive subjects, they provided some 
opportunity for Chinese to discuss, and sometimes question 
officials about, public issues, including corruption.  Under 
official pressure, the film "Farewell My Concubine," which 
caused controversy because of its implicit criticism of the 
cultural revolution and portrayal of a homosexual relationship, 
was withdrawn from distribution in July after showings in 
Beijing and Shanghai.  After further editing, it was rereleased 
in September.

The Government has continued to impose tight controls on 
colleges, universities, and research institutes.  However, 
Beijing University and Shanghai's Fudan University stopped 
sending students to a full year of training and ideological 
indoctrination at military camps, a requirement imposed in 
1989.  The heavy ideological control of academic institutions 
and media censorship continued to force Chinese journalists and 
scholars to exercise caution in 1993.  Many scholars, including 
some of China's most prominent, have been deterred from 
exercising free speech and have declined opportunities to 
publish or present papers on subjects that they fear could be 
construed as sensitive.  On some less sensitive but still 
controversial subjects, such as economic policy, legal reform 
and even civil rights issues, the Government has tolerated more 
vigorous public discussion.  Some authors who were considered 
politically unacceptable after 1989, such as legal scholar Yu 
Haocheng, were able to overcome bans and regain at least 
limited ability to get articles published in 1993.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

While the Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful 
assembly and association, these rights are severely restricted 
in practice.  The Constitution provides, for example, that such 
activities may not infringe "upon the interests of the State," 
and in practice protests against the political system or its 
leaders are proscribed.  Demonstrations involving expression of 
dissident political views are denied permits and suppressed if 
held.  Qin Yongmin was briefly detained several times when he 
attempted to leave his native Wuhan for Beijing to protest 
against the capital's bid to host the Olympic Games in the year 
2000 (see Section 1.d).  However, some small-scale 
demonstrations on nonpolitical grievances are tolerated in 
practice.  In February there were two small demonstrations at 
the gate of the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing by 
women laid off from a state steel firm.  In August authorities 
also tolerated generally peaceful demonstrations in several 
provinces by Muslims, sometimes numbering in the thousands, who 
were protesting a book they found offensive.  The book was 
subsequently banned.  Demonstrators protesting the same book in 
Qinghai in October, however, were met with force when Muslim 
demonstrators threatened to take their protest to Beijing.  
According to credible reports, there were at least nine deaths.

Public security forces acted with more restraint than in the 
past to demonstrations in Lhasa in May, which began with a 
small protest on economic grievances but attracted hundreds of 
additional participants, including many who shouted 
proindependence slogans and some who threw rocks.  Several 
dozen persons were believed to have been at least briefly 
detained in the wake of the protests, but reports of a handful 
of deaths or serious injuries from the impact of tear gas 
projectiles appeared to be erroneous.  According to human 
rights organizations, smaller scale protests were reported to 
have occurred frequently in the Tibetan capital and resulted in 
swift detention for the participants.  Gendun Rinchen and 
Lobsang Yonten were detained in May, apparently because of 
alleged proindependence activities, and they were held through 
the remainder of the year before being released in January 
1994.  Tibetan political prisoners like Yulo Dawa Tsering, 
Ngawang Pulchung, and Jempel Tsering remained imprisoned in 
1993.  While repression continued, there was at the same time a 
continuation of limited dialog on Tibet with representatives of 
the Dalai Lama.

The Communist Party organizes and controls most professional 
and other mass associations.  All organizations are required by 
1990 regulations to be officially registered and approved.  
Ostensibly aimed at secret societies and criminal gangs, the 
regulations also deter the formation of unauthorized political 
or labor organizations.  They have also been used to disband 
groups, such as unregistered house churches, deemed potentially 
subversive.  Security forces maintain a close watch on groups 
formed outside the party establishment.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Religious freedom in China is subject to restrictions of 
varying severity.  While the Constitution affirms toleration of 
religious beliefs, the Government restricts religious practice 
outside officially recognized and government-controlled 
religious organizations.  The management and control of 
religion is the responsibility of religious affairs bureaus, 
which are staffed by officials who rarely are believers in 
religion.  Communist Party officials state that party 
membership and religious belief are incompatible.  This places 
a serious limitation on religious believers, since party 
membership is required for almost all high positions in 
government- and state-owned businesses.

The Government, after forcefully suppressing all religious 
observances during the 1966-76 cultural revolution, began in 
the late 1970's to restore or replace confiscated churches, 
temples, mosques, and monasteries.  The official religious 
organizations administer more than a dozen Catholic and 
Protestant seminaries, nine institutes to train imams and 
Islamic scholars, and institutes to train Buddhist monks.  
Students who attend these institutes must demonstrate 
"political reliability," and all graduates must pass an 
examination on their theological and political knowledge to 
qualify for the clergy.  The Government permitted Catholic 
seminarians from several cities to go to the United States in 
1993 for additional religious studies.  There have also been 
increased contacts between China and the Vatican.

The Government supervises the publication of religious material 
for distribution to ensure religious and political conformity.  
Religious books are not permitted in ordinary bookstores, and 
there are persistent complaints that the number of Bibles and 
amounts of other religious materials allowed to be printed fall 
far short of demand.  Religious proselytizing is officially 
restricted to government-registered and sanctioned places of 
worship.  Unauthorized proselytizing is proscribed and 
sometimes punished, although some discreet proselytizing and 
distributing of religious texts outside official channels is 
tolerated.  Local authorities have confiscated private property 
under the guise of searching for illegal religious materials.  
Officially sanctioned religious organizations are permitted to 
maintain international contacts as long as these do not entail 
foreign control, but proselytizing by foreign groups is 
forbidden by law and regulation.

Buddhists are by far the largest body of religious believers in 
China.  The Government estimates that there are 100 million 
Chinese Buddhists, most of whom are from the dominant Han 
ethnic group.  Other Buddhists belong to Tibetan, Mongolian, 
and other ethnic groups.  Han Buddhist leaders generally 
cooperate with the Government, and there have been few 
complaints of government restrictions.

In Tibet, however, where Buddhism and Tibetan nationalism are 
closely intertwined, relations between Buddhists and secular 
authorities continued to be tense in 1993.  The Government 
tightly controls Tibetan Buddhism and does not tolerate 
religious manifestations that advocate Tibetan independence.

The Government condemns the Dalai Lama's political activities 
and his leadership of a "government in exile," but recognizes 
him as a major religious figure and has tolerated the open 
veneration of the Dalai Lama by Tibetans.  The Government has 
spent large amounts of money on reconstruction of the main 
sacred sites, including the Potala Palace and a grand stupa to 
house the remains of the 10th Panchen Lama.  Chinese officials 
have also publicly asked the Dalai Lama to assist in the 
process of finding the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama, 
who died in 1989.

The practice of religion in Tibet is hampered, however, by the 
limits the Government imposes on religious education and on the 
number of monks in the religious community compared to 
traditional norms.  Monks at some Tibetan monasteries known for 
their opposition to Chinese rule face severe travel 
restrictions and intense monitoring.

According to government figures, there are 17 million Muslims 
in China.  In some areas with large Muslim populations, there 
continues to be concern regarding restrictions on the building 
of mosques and the religious education of youths under 18.  
Following the 1990 unrest in Xinjiang, the authorities issued 
regulations further restricting religious activities and 
teaching.  China permits Muslim citizens to make the hajj to 
Mecca, and the number of those making the hajj has 
significantly increased in recent years.  Nongovernment sources 
indicate that about 5,000 Chinese made the hajj in 1992.

The number of Christians has grown rapidly in recent years, 
albeit from a small base.  Only those Christian churches 
affiliated with either the Catholic Patriotic Association or 
the (Protestant) Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which the 
Government established in the 1950's to eliminate perceived 
foreign domination of Christian groups, may operate openly.  
Active unofficial religious movements pose an alternative to 
the state-regulated churches.  The unofficial, Vatican-
affiliated, Catholic Church claims a membership far larger than 
the 3.7 million registered with the official Catholic church, 
though actual figures are unknown.  In addition to the 5 
million persons who are officially counted as following 
Protestantism, a large number of Protestants worship privately 
in "house churches" that are independent of government control.

Sporadic repression in some areas has reflected official 
concern over the Government's inability to control the rapid 
growth of membership in Christian groups.  There continued to 
be credible reports in 1993 of efforts by authorities in some 
areas to rein in activities of the unapproved Catholic and 
Protestant movements, including raiding and closing a number of 
unregistered churches.  In March public security officials 
disrupted a Protestant religious gathering in Shaanxi, beating 
many of those present.  One man beaten later died, apparently 
of wounds suffered in the incident (see Section 1.a.).  
However, authorities in many areas tolerate the existence of 
unofficial Catholic and Protestant churches as long as they 
remain small and discreet.  In some parts of China, official 
and underground churches seem to coexist and even cooperate.  
The Guangzhou House Church of Pastor Samuel Lamb (Lin Xiangao) 
continued to operate openly, although with frequent harassment 
by authorities.

A number of religious activists remained imprisoned in 1993, 
but others were released.  There was some evidence that 
authorities have increasingly used short-term detentions, 
rather than long prison terms when dealing with unauthorized 
religious activities.  Some of those released from penal 
detention were apparently placed under house arrest or other 
restrictions.  The number of Catholic clerics in penal 
detention dropped sharply in 1992 and 1993, although the 
whereabouts of some reported to have been released could not be 
confirmed, and others remained under some restrictions.  
Catholic Gansu bishop Casimir Wang Milu and Hebei priest Pei 
Ronggui were released from long-term imprisonment during the 
year.  Ministry of Public Security officials told a visiting 
U.S. official in October that there were no Catholic clerics 
remaining in detention.  In November Bishop Peter Chen 
Jianzhang and auxiliary bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang were 
reportedly released from either prison or house arrest in "old 
people's homes."

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Government uses an identification card system to control 
and restrict individual residence location within the country.  
This system's effectiveness has eroded during China's shift to 
a more market-oriented economy.  The need for a supplemental 
work force in the areas of fastest economic growth has led to 
official tolerance for a large itinerant population which is 
not in compliance with formal requirements to obtain permission 
to change residence.  However, because this itinerant 
population lacks official status, access to housing, schooling, 
and the full range of employment opportunities can be 

Some former inmates have been denied permission, under the 
"staying at prison employment" system, to return to their 
homes, a provision applicable to those incarcerated in both the 
"reform through labor" and the "reeducation through labor" 
systems.  For those assigned to camps far from their 
residences, this constitutes a form of internal exile.  The 
number of prisoners subject to this restriction is unknown.  A 
Vice Minister of Justice told a British human rights delegation 
in late 1992 that no former prisoners were subject to such 

The Government routinely permits legal emigration and most 
foreign travel but has placed obstacles in the way of foreign 
travel by a few citizens on political or other grounds.  Legal 
scholar Yu Haocheng continued to be unable to obtain permission 
to travel abroad.  These obstacles extend to some dissidents' 
family members who have not themselves been active politically 
or accused of any wrongdoing by the Government.  Other 
dissidents, including Hou Xiaotian, Li Honglin, and Qian Liyun, 
were eventually able to obtain the passports and exit permits 
needed to leave the country.

Regulations issued in 1990 require those college and university 
graduates who received free postsecondary education to repay 
the cost of their education to the State by working for 5 years 
or more before being eligible for passports to go abroad to 
study.  For those who have overseas Chinese relatives or have 
not yet graduated, the regulations provide a sliding scale of 
tuition reimbursement exempting them from the work 
requirement.  Implementation of these regulations has varied 
from place to place, and most students wishing to go abroad 
still managed to obtain passports.  Persons subject to the 
regulations on study abroad appear to have had little trouble 
obtaining passports to visit relatives overseas.  Political 
attitudes, however, are still a major criterion in selecting 
people for government-sponsored study abroad.

The Government has made a concerted effort to attract back to 
China persons who have studied overseas.  To reassure them, 
Chinese citizens who return from overseas were exempted in 1992 
from re-exit formalities, which had involved Public Security 
Bureau clearances.  However, official media have stated that, 
before returning home, people who have joined foreign 
organizations viewed by the Government as hostile to China 
should quit them and refrain from activities that violate 
Chinese Law.  Procurator General Liu Fuzhi warned in 1992 that 
people wanted by the public security authorities were not 
covered by the official assurances extended to other overseas 

Some dissidents, such as Dai Qing and Liu Xiaobo, reentered 
China without incident in 1993.  In August labor activist Han 
Dongfang, who had been allowed to leave for medical treatment 
in the United States in 1992, was expelled shortly after he 
returned.  Han's passport was subsequently revoked by Chinese 
authorities on the grounds that he had engaged in activities 
hostile to China while overseas.  Chinese border officials 
frustrated Han's several subsequent attempts to return to 
China.  Another labor activist, Lu Jinghua, was refused entry 
in June when she arrived at the Beijing airport.  Lu had fled 
China in 1989 before she could be arrested.  A handful of 
prominent dissidents overseas continued to have difficulty 
extending or renewing passports.

The Government accepts the repatriation of citizens who have 
entered other countries or territories illegally.  In 1993, in 
addition to the routine return of Chinese illegal immigrants 
found in Hong Kong, China accepted the return of several large 
groups of illegal immigrants from other countries, including 
Mexico, Honduras, and the Marshall Islands.  Citizens illegally 
smuggled to other countries are often detained for a short time 
after their return to China to determine their identity and any 
past criminal record or involvement in smuggling activities.  
As a deterrent and to recover repatriation costs, authorities 
in some areas levy a fine of about $1,000 equivalent on 

China does not have legislation in place that would allow it to 
grant refugee status and, with the exception of Vietnamese 
refugees of Chinese ancestry, has generally repatriated persons 
of other nationalities seeking to be recognized as refugees.  
The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Public Security, and Civil 
Affairs, in collaboration with the United Nations High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), are writing legislation that 
would allow China to honor its obligation as a party since 1982 
to the 1967 protocol relative to the status of refugees.

Although the Government denies having tightened its policy on 
accepting Vietnamese refugees, in recent years very few such 
refugees have actually been resettled in China.  According to 
the UNHCR, from 1989 to 1992 China granted admission and 
provided resettlement to about 130 Vietnamese refugees who came 
to China to reunite with their families and gave temporary 
refuge to 35 Vietnamese who subsequently settled in third 
countries.  There were credible reports that larger numbers of 
Vietnamese have remained in China without official harassment.  
China has cooperated with Hong Kong to reduce the flow of 
Vietnamese refugees into the colony.  China has not 
participated in the Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated at 
the International Conference on Indochinese Refugees in 1989 
but generally has abided by its principles.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens lack the means to change their government legally and 
can not freely choose or change the laws and officials that 
govern them.  Citizens vote directly only for county-level 
people's congress delegates.  People's congress delegates at 
the provincial level are selected by county-level people's 
congresses, and in turn provincial-level people's congresses 
select delegates to the National People's Congress.  According 
to the 1982 Constitution, the National People's Congress (NPC) 
is the highest organ of state power.  It elects the President 
and Vice President, decides on the choice of the Premier, and 
elects the Chairman of the Central Military Commission.  The 
election and agenda of the NPC are under the tight control of 
the Communist Party.

In some elections, voters are offered more candidates than 
positions, allowing a modest degree of choice among officially 
approved candidates.  There were credible reports in 1993 that 
the candidates most favored by authorities were defeated in a 
handful of county-level elections and in at least two elections 
of governors by provincial people's congresses.

As is the case with the NPC, the election and agenda of 
people's congresses at other levels also remain under tight 
control by the Communist Party, the paramount source of 
political authority in China.  The Constitution was amended in 
1993 to ratify the existence of small "democratic" parties, but 
these play only a minor consultative role at most, and all 
pledge allegiance to the Communist Party.  Thus, the Communist 
Party retains an explicit monopoly on political decision-
making.  The requirement that associations register and be 
approved makes it difficult for independent interest groups to 
form and affect the system.  Within the Communist Party, a 
closed inner circle of a few senior leaders reserves the right 
to set ultimate policy directions.  Some hold key positions 
within the standing committee of the Politburo, the Central 
Military Commission, or other organs, while others who are 
nominally retired wield great influence on at least selected 

Reversing previous moves to separate the party and government 
apparatus, at the National People's Congress in April General 
Secretary Jiang Zemin and several other senior party members 
were named to hold concurrent government positions.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

There are no independent Chinese organizations that publicly 
monitor or comment on human rights conditions in China.  The 
Government has made it clear it will not tolerate the existence 
of such groups.  Authorities in Shanghai took no action on a 
March application by several persons to register a proposed 
"human rights association."  Public criticism of the 
Government's human rights record can be interpreted as 
"counterrevolutionary" activity and punished accordingly.

Limited academic study and discussion of concepts of human 
rights have been promoted since 1991.  Research institutes in 
Shanghai and Beijing, including the Chinese Academy of Social 
Sciences, have organized symposia on human rights, established 
human rights research centers, and visited other nations to 
study human rights practices in these countries.  Such 
activities appear to have originated in a desire to improve 
China's image abroad and strengthen the Government's ability to 
respond to criticism of its human rights record.  Whatever the 
motivation, this process of study and dialog has exposed more 
Chinese to international standards and concepts of human 
rights.  Three official White Papers on human rights subjects 
were published in 1991 and 1992.  While the reports stridently 
defended Chinese practices and glossed over fundamental 
problems, they sparked a limited debate among academic experts 
on human rights problems in China that continued in 1993.

Despite the Government's professed adherence to the United 
Nations Charter, which mandates respect for and promotion of 
human rights, Chinese officials accept only in theory the 
principle that human rights are universal.  They argue that 
each nation has its own concept of human rights, grounded in 
its political, economic, and social system and its historical, 
religious, and cultural background.  China was active in 
international forums, including the World Conference on Human 
Rights in June and the annual U.N. Commission on Human Rights 
meeting in February, in support of this view and to deflect 
attempts to discuss China's human rights record.  China remains 
reluctant to accept criticism of its human rights situation by 
other nations or international organizations.  Its officials 
often criticized reports by international human rights 
monitoring groups, as well as past Department of State reports 
on human rights practices in China.  By and large, Chinese 
officials continue to insist that criticism of China's human 
rights practices constitutes interference in China's internal 
affairs.  Nevertheless, in 1993 Chinese authorities expanded 
their dialog with foreign governments on human rights issues in 
talks with a number of visiting delegations from the United 
States and other countries and also during visits abroad by 
Chinese leaders.

Chinese authorities have refused most requests by foreign human 
rights delegations to meet with political prisoners but did 
allow U.S. human rights officials to visit Yulo Dawa Tsering in 
Drapchi prison in Lhasa in October.  Representatives of some 
international human rights groups visited China in 1993 but did 
so in an individual capacity and did not engage in an official 
dialog with the Government.  A private American human rights 
monitor, however, did meet with midranking government officials 
on several occasions to discuss specific human rights cases.

Finally, while China has continued to engage in a human rights 
dialog with foreign critics, it has consistently taken the 
position that human rights practices should be assessed not on 
the basis of universal principles but rather in the context of 
local economic, political, and cultural conditions.  The 
Government also maintains that human rights issues are internal 
matters and that external intervention on human rights issues 
constitutes interference with its sovereignty.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

While laws exist to protect minorities and women, in practice 
discrimination based on ethnicity, sex, and religion has 
persisted.  Minorities, however, do benefit from an official 
policy of "privileged treatment" in marriage policy, family 
planning, university admission, and employment, as well as from 
disproportionate infrastructure investment in some minority 


The 1982 Constitution states that "women in the People's 
Republic of China enjoy equal rights with men in all spheres of 
life" and promises, among other things, equal pay for equal 
work.  In fact, most women employed in industry work in lower 
skilled and lower paid jobs.  Women hold relatively few 
positions of significant influence within the party or 
government structure.  Persistent problems have remained with 
regard to the status of women, who have often been the 
unintended victims of reforms designed to streamline 
enterprises and give workers greater job mobility.  Many 
employers prefer to hire men to avoid the expense of maternity 
leave and child care.

Reports by women of discrimination, sexual harassment, unfair 
dismissal, demotion, and wage cuts have continued.  In 1992 the 
NPC enacted legislation on the protection of the rights and 
interests of women designed to assist in curbing these types of 
sex-related discrimination.  While the gap in the education 
levels of men and women is narrowing, men continue to 
constitute the majority of the educated class, particularly the 
highly educated.

The Government continued in 1993 to condemn strongly and take 
steps to prevent and punish the abduction and sale of women for 
wives and prostitutes, abuse of female children, violence 
against women, and female infanticide.  It has severely 
punished a number of people accused of such crimes.  No 
nationwide statistics were available on the extent of physical 
violence against women.  A May study on family violence 
reported that in Shanghai from 29 to 33 percent of domestic 
disputes from 1991-92 involved physical violence.  In another 
1993 study on the social status of women, 21.2 percent of urban 
wives and 31.4 percent of rural wives said there was frequent 
or occasional violence during family quarrels.  The abduction 
of women remains a serious problem in some areas where local 
officials have resisted efforts of central authorities to stop 
it.  Many discriminatory practices are rooted in traditional 
rural attitudes which highly value boys as prospective earners 
and as future caretakers for elderly parents.  A number of 
provinces have sought to reduce the perceived higher economic 
value of boys in providing old age support by establishing or 
improving pensions and retirement homes.

In many areas, the ready availability of sonograms has 
facilitated selective abortion of female fetuses, contributing 
to a growing gap in the ratio of reported male and female 
births.  Insistence that local units meet population goals 
exacerbates the problem, since traditional-minded parents often 
wish to ensure they have one or more sons without incurring 
official penalties.  The Government has condemned sex-selective 
abortion and stated it is tightening access to sonogram results.


China does not condone violence against children, and physical 
abuse can be grounds for criminal prosecution.  In January 
1992, China passed a national law on the protection of 
juveniles.  According to Chinese media, China's infant 
mortality rate has declined to 45 per 1,000 live births, severe 
malnutrition among children under 5 years of age has been 
"virtually eliminated," 95 percent of children have received 
immunizations, and primary school enrollment is at 97 percent.  
In January an English-language magazine reported on the problem 
of child abuse, noting that physical punishment was widespread, 
citing four cases from 1992 where children died from abuse.  
According to one study from Zhejiang province, 60 percent of 
200 children surveyed said they would be beaten if they did not 
do well in school.  In addition, Chinese officials indicated in 
October that there were about 200,000 homeless children in 
China out of a total of 300 million children under age 18.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The 55 designated ethnic minorities constitute just over 8 
percent of China's total population.  Most minority groups 
reside in areas they have traditionally inhabited, with 
standards of living often well below the national average.  
Government development policies have helped raise minority 
living standards but have at the same time disrupted 
traditional living patterns.  The Dalai Lama continued to state 
his concern in 1993 that the Government's plan to develop 
Tibet's economy would lead to a massive influx into Tibet of 
Han Chinese.  Tens of thousands of non-Tibetan entrepreneurs 
without residence permits have come to Lhasa, capital of Tibet, 
to engage in business.

In some instances, the Government has tried to adopt policies 
responsive to minority sensitivities but in doing so has 
encountered the dilemma of how to respect minority cultures 
without damaging minority educational and economic 
opportunities.  In Tibet and Xinjiang, for example, there are 
two-track school systems using standard Chinese and minority 
languages.  Students may choose which system to attend.  One 
acknowledged side effect of this policy to protect and maintain 
minority cultures has been reinforcement of a segregated 
society.  Under this separate education system, those 
graduating from minority schools are at a disadvantage in 
competing for jobs, which require good spoken Chinese, in 
government and business.  These graduates must take remedial 
language instruction before attending universities and colleges.

The Communist Party has an avowed policy of boosting minority 
representation in the Government and the party, and a few 
members of minorities occupy local and national leadership 
positions.  However, ethnic minorities are effectively shut out 
of most positions of real political and decisionmaking power.  
Some minorities resent Han officials holding key positions in 
minority autonomous regions.  Ethnic minorities in Tibet, 
Xinjiang, Qinghai, and elsewhere have demonstrated against Han 
Chinese authority, but central authorities have made it clear 
that they will not tolerate opposition to Beijing's rule in 
minority regions.

     People with Disabilities

There is no legislation to ensure that buildings, even new 
ones, are accessible to those with handicaps.  A State Council 
committee was established in October to coordinate policy 
toward the disabled under China's 1990 law on the handicapped.  
The results of the eighth 5-year plan for handicapped people, 
which ended in 1992, were discussed in October; schools for the 
disabled increased from 400 in 1988 to 1,000 in 1992, and 
special education increased six-fold.  But according to the 
Disabled Person's Federation, only 6 percent of disabled 
school-age children are receiving primary education.  There are 
40,000 welfare enterprises nationwide providing work for the 
handicapped, and 1.26 million have benefited from 
rehabilitation projects.  Concern that the disabled will lose 
jobs as enterprises emphasize productivity has led to the 
creation of a pilot project in which all state enterprises will 
be required to hire a certain number of disabled workers.  The 
handicapped still suffer from social isolation, especially in 
rural areas, and some handicapped children are given to 
orphanages.  At the end of December, the Government announced 
plans to adopt a new law on eugenics, but specifics of the law 
were not available at year's end.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

China's 1982 Constitution provides for "freedom of 
association," but the guarantee is heavily diluted by 
references to the interest of the State and the leadership of 
the Chinese Communist Party.  The country's sole officially 
recognized workers' organization, the All-China Federation of 
Trade Unions (ACFTU), ostensibly independent, is in fact 
controlled by the Communist Party.  Independent trade unions 
are illegal.  Though union officials recognize that workers' 
interests may not always coincide with those of the Communist 
Party, the Union Law passed by the National People's Congress 
in March 1992 states that the union is a party organ and its 
primary purpose is to mobilize workers for national 
development.  The 1993 revised Trade Union Law requires that 
the establishment of unions at any level be submitted to a 
higher level trade union organization for approval.  The ACFTU 
is the highest such organization, and it has not approved the 
establishment of any independent unions.  While the foreign 
press has reported that some exist, because of severe 
repression they operate only deep within the shadows.  The vast 
majority of workers have no contact with any union other than 
the ACFTU.  There are no provisions allowing for individual 
workers or unofficial worker organizations to affiliate with 
international bodies. 

The ACFTU's primary attention remains focused on its 
traditional constituency, state sector workers.  The Trade 
Union Law mandates that workers may decide whether to join the 
union in their enterprise.  By official estimate, 10 percent of 
workers in collectively and state-owned enterprises have chosen 
for their own reasons not to join.  There have been no reports 
of repercussions for workers who have not joined ACFTU unions.  
Diversification of enterprise types over the last decade of 
reform has vastly increased the number of workers outside this 
traditional sphere of the ACFTU.  In fact, over half of China's 
nonagricultural work force is now largely nonunion and outside 
the state industrial structure--in collectives, village and 
township enterprises, private and individual enterprises, and 
foreign-invested enterprises.  In township and village 
enterprises, one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, 
only one-tenth of 1 percent of workers are unionized.  
Unemployed workers are not considered union members.  

Workers in companies with foreign investors are guaranteed the 
right to form unions, which then must affiliate with the 
ACFTU.  According to Ministry of Labor national statistics, 30 
percent of foreign-invested companies now have unions.  Other 
official estimates show that about 10,000 trade unions with a 
total of 500,000 members have been established in the nearly 
20,000 foreign-funded companies in Guangdong province.  
However, a 1993 embassy survey of foreign-invested ventures in 
Beijing indicated the unionization rate diminished from 60 
percent in 1991 to 40 percent in 1993.  

The right to strike, which had been included in China's 1975 
and 1978 constitutions, was not retained in the 1982 
Constitution.  In general, the union law passed in 1992 
assigned unions the role of mediators or go-betweens with 
management in cases of work stoppages or slowdowns.  
Nonetheless, well-documented work stoppages occurred in several 
locations in China during 1993.  There were two highly visible 
strikes in Guangdong's Zhuhai City, namely a 3-day strike over 
wages at a joint-venture camera factory and a work stoppage at 
a joint-venture electrical components factory.  Ministry of 
Labor officials broke with their past practice of denying the 
existence of strikes in China by giving details about recent 
strikes in Tianjin and Xian.  Strikes in 11 foreign-invested 
enterprises in Tianjin were widely reported in the Chinese 
press.  One particularly high profile case involved a 
foreign-owned footwear factory at which 1,200 workers struck 
over poor working conditions and alleged mistreatment of 
several of the workers by the management.  The 11 enterprises 
were held up as examples of disregard for local regulations by 
foreigners and indications of the need to establish unions in 
foreign-invested enterprises.  Strikes were uniformly resolved 
in favor of workers, and enterprises were required to bring 
facilities up to regulatory standards.  Ministry of Labor 
officials have not provided any statistics on how many strikes 
occurred in 1993, but one Hong Kong newspaper reported that in 
the first half of 1993 there were 190 strikes and protests 
across China involving about 50,000 workers.  It is not 
possible to determine the validity of this estimate.  

Credible reports by foreign human rights organizations indicate 
that the Government has attempted to stamp out all clandestine 
union activity and that independent unions and worker groups 
feature prominently in lists of illegal organizations.  In May 
four men were detained and later formally arrested for the 
crime of organizing a counterrevolutionary organization, the 
Shanghai Autonomous Workers Federation.  Two of these men were 
released in early September.  As noted in Section 2.d., labor 
activists Han Dongfang and Lu Jinghua have been refused reentry 
to China.  The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 
(ICFTU) alleges that in May and June of 1992 the Public 
Security Bureau (PSB) secretly arrested activists of the 
clandestine China Free Trade Union Preparatory Committee and 
appeared to have dismantled this organization.  On May 15 
another clandestine union group, the Free Trade Union of China, 
issued a manifesto.  Preemptive arrests took place just before 
the June 4 Tiananmen anniversary.  These included seven members 
of the clandestine Liberal Workers Union detained by the PSB to 
prevent them from circulating commemorative leaflets.  Accurate 
figures on the number of Worker Autonomous Federation detainees 
still being held after the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations 
are not available.  The ICFTU alleges that hundreds of workers 
are still being held.

In response to an ICFTU complaint, the Governing Body of the 
International Labor Organization (ILO) in March requested that 
the Government modify "many provisions" of the Trade Union Act 
that are contrary to the principle of freedom of association, 
expressed concern at the severity of sanctions pronounced by 
the courts against members or leaders of Workers' Autonomous 
Federations, and asked that detained workers be released.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Under a 1988 law and current regulations, collective bargaining 
is permitted only by workers in private enterprises (which 
employ less than 3 percent of workers).  There have been no 
reports of collective bargaining actually taking place.  Most 
private enterprises are small and nonunionized.  Thus far, 
without legal status as a collective bargaining body, the 
ACFTU's role has been limited to consultations with management 
over wages and regulations affecting labor and working 
conditions and efforts to serve as a conduit for communicating 
workers' complaints to the management of enterprises or 
municipal labor bureaus.  The ACFTU has shown itself concerned 
with protecting workers' living standards in areas such as 
unemployment insurance.  

Before wage reform, workers' salaries were set according to a 
uniform national scale based on seniority and skills.  
Following wage reforms, a total wage bill for each collectively 
and state-owned enterprise is set by the Ministry of Labor 
according to four criteria:  1) As a percentage of profits, 2) 
as a contract amount with the local labor bureau, 3) for money 
losing enterprises, according to a state-set amount, and 4) as 
an enterprise-set amount subject to ministry review.  
Individual enterprises determine how to divide the total among 
the workers, a decision usually made by the enterprise manager 
in consultation with the enterprise party chief and the union 
representative.  Worker congresses have mandated authority to 
review plans for wage reform, though these bodies serve 
primarily as rubber stamp organizations.  Wages are generally 
equal for the same type of work within enterprises.  Incentives 
are provided for increased productivity.  

The old permanent employment system is giving way to a more 
flexible contract-based system.  However, the percentage of 
workers laboring under contract is still low, approximately 40 
percent nationwide in state enterprises.  Under the Labor 
Contract System, individual workers may negotiate with 
management over contract terms.  In practice, only the very few 
workers with highly technical skills are able to negotiate 
effectively on salary and fringe benefits issues.

Worker congresses, held periodically in most Chinese 
enterprises, theoretically have the authority to remove 
incompetent managers and approve major decisions affecting the 
enterprise, notably wage and bonus distribution systems.  
However, worker congresses generally take place once a year and 
serve essentially to rubberstamp agreements worked out among 
factory managers, party secretaries, and union 
representatives.  In smaller enterprises it is not unusual to 
find these three posts held by the same person.  

A dispute settlement procedure has been in effect since 1987.  
The procedure provides for two levels of arbitration committees 
and a final appeal to the courts.  Of the 50,000 cases brought 
for arbitration in 1992, most were resolved at the first or 
second level, with less than 5 percent reaching the courts. 
According to Labor Ministry officials, most arbitration cases 
are filed by contract workers or their employers, an 
indication, they assert, that the new contract system provides 
a clearer set of ground rules which both sides can attempt to 

Laws governing working conditions in China's special economic 
zones (SEZ's) are not significantly different from those in the 
rest of the country.  However, wages in the SEZ's are 
significantly higher than in other Chinese enterprises.  
Unskilled laborers can expect much higher pay in southern China 
generally, but highly skilled workers are the main 
beneficiaries of the wage discrepancy.

The 1982 Trade Union Law prohibits antiunion discrimination and 
specifies that union representatives may not be transferred or 
terminated by enterprise management during their term of 
office.  Unionized foreign businesses generally report 
pragmatic relations with ACFTU representatives.  The ACFTU's 
stated goal is to establish unions in all foreign-funded 
enterprises within 2 to 3 years.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Chinese penal policy emphasizes "reform first, production 
second," but compulsory labor is an integral part of the system 
both to rehabilitate prisoners and to help support the 
facilities.  Almost all persons the courts sentence to prison, 
including political prisoners, are required to work, usually 
for little or no compensation.  China also maintains a network 
of "reeducation through labor" camps (see Section l.e.), the 
inmates of which generally must work.  Reports from human 
rights organizations and released prisoners demonstrate that at 
least some persons in pretrial detention are also required to 
work.  The number of workers in prison for nonviolent 
labor-related activity is not known.  (See Section 1.e.)  
According to prison authorities, prisoners in labor reform 
institutions work a full 8-hour day and must also engage in 
both ideological and basic literacy and skills training.  
Justice officials have stated that in labor reeducation 
facilities there is a much heavier emphasis on education than 
on labor.  Most reports conclude that work conditions in the 
penal system's light manufacturing factories are similar to 
those in ordinary factories, but conditions on farms and in 
mines can be harsh.  As is the case nationwide, safety is often 
neglected, putting prisoners at risk, but there were no 
available figures for casualties in prison industry.

Some penal facilities contract with regular industries for 
prisoners to perform light manufacturing and assembly work.  In 
1992 Chinese newspapers reported that Chinese prison labor is 
used for many types of production (examples in parentheses), 
including heavy industry (coal, steel), light manufacturing 
(clothing, shoes, small machine tools), and agriculture (grain, 
tea, sugar cane).  In 1991 the Chinese Government published a 
reiteration of its regulations barring the export of 
prison-made goods.  On August 7, 1992, the U.S. and Chinese 
Governments signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) 
prohibiting trade in prison labor products.  The U.S. Customs 
Service has issued detention orders barring a number of 
products reportedly made by prisoners from entering the United 
States and detained several shipments of such goods in 1993.  
Under the MOU the Chinese have provided requested investigation 
reports on 31 suspected facilities.  Five facilities 
investigated by the Chinese were found to have had prisoners 
engaged in some aspect of export production at some point in 
time, though not necessarily to the United States; of these, 
two with export activities at the time of the investigation 
reportedly received unspecified administrative sanctions.  U.S. 
officials have conducted on-site visits of three suspected 
facilities and another facility visit has already been 
scheduled.  The detention orders on two of the visited 
facilities were lifted, one in December 1993 and one in January 
1994.  The other case is still under study.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Regulations promulgated in 1987 prohibit the employment of 
school age minors who have not completed the compulsory 9 years 
of education.  Press reports indicate that dropout rates for 
lower secondary schools (ages 12-15 years) in several southern 
provinces exceed 9 percent (the national average is 2.2 
percent).  This suggests the booming economy in that region is 
enticing more children to leave their studies to find jobs.  In 
poorer, isolated areas, child labor in agriculture is 
widespread.  Most independent observers agree with Chinese 
officials that China's urban child labor problem is relatively 
minor.  No specific Chinese industry is identifiable as a 
significant violator of child labor regulations.  In 1991 the 
State Council issued regulations imposing severe fines, 
withdrawal of business licenses, or jail for employers who hire 
laborers under 16 years of age.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

China does not have a labor code.  A draft has been circulating 
since mid-1992.  Due to the complexity of incorporating myriad 
existing regulations into the proposed unified code, it remains 
unclear if it will be made law.  Labor regulations continue to 
be promulgated at both the national and provincial level, but 
they are not uniformly enforced.

There is no minimum wage in China.  However, the Ministry of 
Labor is currently drafting minimum wage regulations.  
Anticipating the issuance of the regulations, some local 
governments, particularly those in more highly developed east 
coast areas, have already drafted regulations on minimum 
wages.  On the higher end, in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, the 
minimum monthly wage has been set at $62 (350 yuan at the 
official exchange rate).  Generally the levels have been set to 
provide for a decent standard of living for a worker and his 
family.  Minimum wage figures do not include free or heavily 
subsidized benefits which employing work units commonly provide 
in kind, such as housing, medical care, and education.  
Factories or ministries are required to pay 70 percent of final 
monthly wages to workers laid off because of a factory closing 
or reduction in force, but there have been numerous reports of 
violations of this policy.

The national standard workweek, excluding overtime, is 48 hours 
with a mandatory 24-hour rest period.  In the past, 3 to 12 
working hours per week were generally spent in political study 
or "education" on current social issues.  In recent years, many 
factories have abandoned political study either for regular 
work or for an additional half day off each week.  Starting in 
1991, factories (including joint ventures) were allowed to 
adopt shorter workweeks.  Despite laws mandating a standard 
8-hour workday throughout the country, there continue to be 
reports of workers in the SEZ's regularly working 12 hours 

Occupational health and safety are constant themes of posters 
and campaigns.  Every work unit must designate a health and 
safety officer and the International Labor Organization has 
established a training program for these officials.  Moreover, 
while the right to strike is not provided for in the 1982 
Constitution, the Trade Union Law explicitly recognizes the 
right of unions to "suggest that staff and workers withdraw 
from sites of danger" and to participate in accident 
investigations.  Labor officials reported that such withdrawals 
did occur sometimes in 1993.  Nonetheless, pressures for 
increased output, lack of financial resources to maintain 
equipment, lack of concern by management, and a traditionally 
poor understanding of safety issues by workers have contributed 
to a continuing high rate of accidents.  State prosecutors deal 
annually with thousands of negligence and accident cases.  In 
November 1992, the Standing Committee of the National People's 
Congress passed a law on mining safety, which established 
standards and provided for enforcement, including fines and 
imprisonment.  Labor officials were unable to provide 
statistics verifying the effects of the law, but they claimed 
that despite substantially increased across-the-board 
production in mining output, mine accidents were down in the 
first half of 1993.

More than 15,000 workers died in industrial accidents in 1992, 
63 percent of them miners.  Because of the lack of legislation 
to bring together diverse and often unpublished regulations in 
other health and safety areas, compliance with existing 
regulations is haphazard.  Official Chinese press reports in 
July announced the issuance of a State Council circular 
stressing safety in production following "sharp increases in 
job accidents in the first half of this year."  Officials blame 
the increases on lax enforcement of safety regulations in the 
rapidly expanding rural, foreign-funded, and private industry 

As fires and explosions in southern China amply demonstrated in 
1993, enforcement of China's safety regulations, particularly 
in the booming light industry sector, continued to be lax.  In 
late November, 81 workers died in a blaze in a Shenzhen toy 
factory because safety precautions were not taken and warnings 
from the local labor ministry office had allegedly gone 
unheeded. (###)

[end of document]


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