At the end of 2017, China announced it had been a year of “remarkable progress” on human rights. However, activists draw attention to an increasingly repressive environment in China, including restrictions on academic freedom; domestic human rights deteriorations in law, policing, and terrorism; the surveillance apparatus; and repression in Tibet and Xinjiang.
Behind closed doors, Australia has raised human rights issues with China in annual high-level dialogues, and continues to work on human rights capacity-building projects with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
What is the current state of human rights in China, and has the Chinese Communist Party been trying to improve the situation? How have different Australian governments (and others) engaged China on human rights, and how effective have those efforts been?
Dr Merriden Varrall, Director of the Lowy Institute’s East Asia Program, moderated a panel with Dr Sophie Richardson, China Director at Human Rights Watch, and Natasha de Silva, Director International Engagement and Partnerships at the Australian Human Rights Commission, for an in-depth discussion of these issues.