http://www.visiontimes.com/?p=88004

China’s Human Rights Abuses Glossed Over by U.S. Diplomats, Report Alleges

Former prisoners, lawyers, and other experts have pointed to a very similar, extensive network of extrajudicial detention centers where torture and forced labor are commonplace.  (Image:   NewsBeat Social via  Screenshot/YouTube)
Former prisoners, lawyers, and other experts have pointed to a very similar, extensive network of extrajudicial detention centers where torture and forced labor are commonplace. (Image: NewsBeat Social via Screenshot/YouTube)

Human rights experts in the U.S. State Department had cited that an extensive network of extrajudicial detention centers remain where torture and forced labor are commonplace.

China had announced that it would abolish its system of forced labor camps that were notorious for human rights abuses and torture back in November 2013. But two years later, former prisoners, lawyers, and other experts have pointed to a very similar, extensive network of extrajudicial detention centers where torture and forced labor are commonplace, according to a new Reuters’ investigation.

According to Freedom House:

Documents leaked to Reuters disclosed that between February and April 2015, human rights experts within the State Department had cited this extrajudicial network of detention facilities as ample reason to downgrade China’s rating to the worst tier in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.

This would have put China back on “the blacklist” of the worst countries in the world for human trafficking, along with other serial offenders in human rights like Russia, North Korea, and Thailand.

Watch NewsBeat Social report on Torture in China Prisons:

But, in the Reuters investigation, which involved interviews with more than a dozen sources in Washington and foreign capitals, it found that “the government office set-up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior American diplomats, and pressured into inflating assessments of 14 strategically important countries.” China remained on the “Tier 2 Watch List” for the second year running. The report was published in July 2015.

The report stated:

Political repercussions

Cyber security issues, among other sensitive issues, may have played a role in China’s generous ranking in the trafficking report.

In an opinion editorial piece published in the News Observer, Judith Kelley, a senior associate dean at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, and Mark Lagon, who was the U.S. ambassador-at-large to Combat Trafficking in Persons 2007-2009, and is now president of Freedom House, said:

In response to the leaked documents, Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly warned staff in his department to keep internal deliberations to themselves or to find a new job, Foreign Policy reported.

When a Foreign Policy reporter asked State Department Spokesman, John Kirby, about what Kerry said to his staff, Kirby said Kerry did not “discourage anybody at the State Department not to talk to the media.”

“What he did do was express his frustration with the leaks about policies that haven’t been made yet, decisions that haven’t been effected yet, and the process by which advice and counsel is derived here in the building, and driven to his desk,” the spokesman told Foreign Policy. “He believes it’s important that in the process of making sound foreign-policy decisions, that candor and openness, and frankness can dominate here at the State Department.”

The spokesman told Foreign Policy these sorts of leaks are “manifestly unhelpful” to working on sound foreign policy, but that “Secretary Kerry values the work of the media. He certainly values the work of everybody here at the State Department and our diplomats around the world, and routinely encourages communication with the press about what our hard working diplomats are doing around the world.”

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