10 Years After China Admitted to WTO: Basic Human Rights Still Violated
The U.S. China Commission today heard witnesses from the Office of U.S. Trade Representative and other experts who testified before the commission’s hearing “Ten Years in the WTO: Has China Kept Its Promises?” chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04).
“As a member of the WTO, China has experienced tremendous economic growth and integration into the global economy, but China continues to massively violate the basic human rights of its own people and systematically undermine the rule of law,” said Smith, senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chair of its subcommittee on human rights. “Lawyers and activists who stand up for individuals’ rights are detained, often under deplorable conditions—and tortured. Chen Guangcheng, a blind and self-taught legal activist, is imprisoned in his own home. Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo continues to serve an 11-year prison sentence for peacefully advocating for political reform. Web sites that do not adhere to the government line are shut down. Freedom of religion is denied to those who worship outside state-sanctioned institutions and believers harassed, incarcerated and tortured. Ethnic minorities are persecuted.” Click here to read Smith’s opening remarks.
Ten years ago this month China officially joined the World Trade Organization ushering in a new era in its relationship with the United States and the rest of the world. China made numerous promises to reduce trade barriers, open up markets, increase transparency, protect intellectual property rights, and reform its legal system to make it consistent with WTO requirements. Policymakers hoped at the time that China's WTO membership would lead to advances in the broader development of the rule of law as well.
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China, established by the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 as China prepared to enter the WTO, is mandated by law to monitor human rights, including worker rights, and the development of the rule of law in China.
Witnesses included Claire Reade, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China Affairs, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; Grant D. Aldonas, Principal Managing Director, Split Rock International, former Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade (2001-2005); Alan H. Price, Partner and Chair of the International Trade Practice, Wiley Rein LLP; Clyde V. Prestowitz, Jr., Founder and President, Economic Strategy Institute, and Wei Jingsheng, Chair, Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition.