“In China, the human rights situation deteriorated, particularly the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association,” according to the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011, recently released by the U.S. Department of State.
The Chinese government exercised tight control over Internet access and content. Members of civil society, including human rights activists, journalists, writers, and dissidents, were harassed and detained. Public interest lawyers who took cases deemed sensitive by the government faced disbarment and the closure of their firms, and in some cases were subject to arrest and detention.
Activists, dissidents, and members of religious minorities were denied the freedoms to assemble and practice their religions, or to travel. The government stepped up efforts to silence political activists and resorted to extralegal measures, including enforced disappearance, “soft detention,” and strict house arrest, including house arrest of family members, to prevent the public voicing of independent opinions.
Human rights abuses peaked around high-profile events, such as visits of foreign officials, sensitive anniversaries, and in response to calls for “Jasmine revolution” protests.
In Tibet, at least 12 monks and nuns self-immolated in 2011 to protest political restrictions and the lack of religious freedom.
The Department of State consistently raises these concerns with Chinese interlocutors at senior levels in Washington and Beijing and discusses our concerns in detail in the Human Rights and Legal Experts Dialogues. We urge the Chinese government to resume substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives to address the underlying grievances of China's Tibetan people.