BEIJING — Activists are describing a drastic deterioration in China’s treatment of human rights campaigners as the country’s most powerful leader in a generation associates China’s rise as a global power with highly authoritarian, one-party rule.
A Human Rights Watch researcher and others say there are more secret detentions and closed-door trials and less regard for due process. Political prisoners are held in harsh conditions and their health is ignored.
Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch describes the situation as the worst since 1989’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. “We feel we haven’t hit bottom yet.”
China’s government rejects accusations of rights abuses but it also says no outsider has the right to challenge its judicial sovereignty and dismisses universal rights as a Western notion that would undermine Chinese society.