[Excerpt] This report documents, in each of its sections, the challenges and opportunities that exist for China to create a more open society with greater respect for human rights, transparency, and the rule of law. The report also demonstrates the importance of the Commission’s Political Prisoner Database, a unique, powerful, and publicly available resource on which the Commission relies for advocacy and research work, including the preparation of this Annual Report. The human rights issues underlying political imprisonment and detention are numerous. Instances of human rights violations and resulting imprisonment form a pattern of systematic repression— the Chinese Government should demonstrate its commitment to international standards by reversing this pattern.
The Commission intends that the detailed contents of this report may serve as a roadmap for progress. By documenting human rights violations in this report and in the Commission’s Political Prisoner Database, by advocating in meetings with Chinese officials on behalf of political prisoners, by raising public awareness of human rights and rule of law issues, and by placing these issues on the agendas of bilateral and multilateral meetings, the United States Government establishes a baseline for measuring progress. Some of those who supported establishing permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with China in 2000 believed that PNTR would improve the prospects that the Chinese Government would fulfill its commitments to international human rights standards—but the Chinese Government has yet to live up to those commitments. Holding the Chinese Government accountable to its international commitments and to its own laws, when those laws meet international standards, is an essential element of the roadmap for progress.