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Seton Hall University

Law Professor Featured in Washington Post on Human Rights in China  

Margaret Lewis, Law ProfessorLaw Professor Margaret K. Lewis, an expert on China and Chinese law, published a feature op-ed in the Washington Post entitled "China must stop making a mockery of the rights treaties it signs."

Lewis, who recently served as a Fulbright Scholar Program in Taiwan, researching human rights and criminal justice reforms in China, is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Public Intellectuals Program Fellow with the National Committee on United States-China Relations. She has participated in the U.S.-China Legal Experts Dialogue at the invitation of the U.S. State Department and assisted the Congressional-Executive Commission on China to research and write the Criminal Justice and Access to Justice sections of the Commission's Annual Report.

In her op-ed, Lewis writes:

On Nov. 6, the United Nations Human Rights Council will review China's record just as human rights in the country are under intensified attack. The review also comes one month after the 20th anniversary of China signing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a foundational treaty that sets forth a range of protections for freedom of speech, assembly and religion. China not only has failed to ratify the ICCPR but instead is increasingly undermining the rights therein. The international community should respond by calling on China to remove its signature.

Prior to its first review before the Human Rights Council in 2009, China reported that the "relevant departments are carrying out necessary legislative, judiciary and administrative reforms to create the conditions for the early ratification of ICCPR." In 2013, China again reported that the "relevant organs of the national government are continuing steadily to pursue administrative and legislative reforms in preparation for ratifying the Convention." Before its third review this fall, China once again said that the "relevant departments of the government are steadily continuing to advance administrative and judicial reforms in preparation for [ICCPR] ratification."

You get the picture. But these claims contradict reality. Since the 2009 review, China imprisoned Liu Xiaobo, a political activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 and died last year, and for years arbitrarily deprived his wife of freedom of movement; criminally convicted and extrajudicially disappeared hundreds of lawyers and other rights defenders; and expanded the Chinese Communist Party's ability to deprive people of liberty without judicial process. The worsening climate for civil and political rights is seen most starkly as 1.1 million Uighurs and members of other Muslim minority groups are held in so-called reeducation camps.

Read more in the Washington Post, "China must stop making a mockery of the rights treaties it signs."

Categories: Law , Nation and World

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