US: Human Rights Improving in Burma but Worsening in China, Vietnam

A woman lights frankincense as she prays at Shwedagon pagoda for Burma’s traditional New Year in Rangoon last week. The US State Department on Friday praised the Southeast Asian nation for its generally improving rights conditions. (Photo: Reuters)

WASHINGTON—Human rights conditions are deteriorating in China and Vietnam but improving in Burma as it continues on its bumpy path to democracy, the United States said Friday.

The State Department also said in its annual assessment of human rights around the world that conditions in North Korea remain “deplorable.” The report said defectors reporting extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, arrests of political prisoners and torture.

The department took aim at the continuing crackdown on political activists and public interest lawyers in China during 2012. It pointed to a “systemic” use of laws to silence dissent and punish individuals, and their relatives and associates, for attempting to exercise freedom of expression and assembly.

Authorities increased repression and restrictions on religious freedom in ethnic Tibet regions, where rising numbers of people have set themselves on fire to protest against Beijing, the report said.

The department’s conclusions typically draw a stiff response from the Chinese government, where the Communist Party monopolizes power but has overseen decades of rapid economic growth that has hoisted hundreds of millions out of poverty.

In Vietnam, another one-party state, the report said the government has attacked critical web sites and spied on, fined, arrested, and convicted dissident bloggers. The United States also criticized the imprisonment of dissidents using vague national security legislation, and restrictions on religious and labor rights.

The department said Burma “continued to take significant steps in a historic transition toward democracy” in 2012, with political prisoner releases, relaxing press censorship and allowing trade unions. It also staged by-elections that saw Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi take a parliamentary seat.

But it said the country’s authoritarian structure from five decades of military rule remains largely intact.

Burma also needs to work urgently to overcome deep divisions that have caused outbreaks of inter-ethnic violence, claiming at least 100 lives and displacing tens of thousands in Arakan State in June and October. Those bloody clashes—that have spread this year to the country’s heartland—have mostly targeted minority Muslims.

In Indonesia, which has transitioned from military rule to become one of Southeast Asia’s most robust democracies, the United States said security forces are reporting to civilian authority.

But suppression of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities is a problem, it said. The government applied treason and blasphemy laws to limit freedom of expression by peaceful independence advocates in the provinces of Papua, West Papua and Maluku, and by religious minority groups.

The report said the government of Sri Lanka tightened its grip on power and made little meaningful effort in 2012 toward reconciliation with the Tamil minority community following the end of the country’s long civil war four years ago. Involuntary disappearances continued and the government did not account for thousands who disappeared in prior years.

The United States also criticized the government’s impeachment of the Supreme Court chief justice, and said persons allegedly tied to the government attacked and harassed civil society activists, journalists and purported Tamil rebel sympathizers.


6 Responses to US: Human Rights Improving in Burma but Worsening in China, Vietnam

  1. Government sponsored: Freedom of stealing? Freedom of cheating? Freedom of torching houses? Freedom of looting. I agree with the report. There are some freedoms as I mention above.

  2. So how many people one has to burn alive with or without chopping up and how many hundreds of thousands one has to displace and rape and torture before this “Human Rights” thingy is not improving?

    Shameless!! Unbelievably shameless!!!How do you sleep at night? Any more “democracy” in Burma and only ash will be left.

  3. “The department (US)said Burma “continued to take significant steps in a historic transition toward democracy” in 2012, with political prisoner releases, relaxing press censorship and allowing trade unions. It also staged by-elections that saw Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi take a parliamentary seat.”

    Press , newspaper and magazines are owned by crony related persons. Trade unions might be invaded by USDP. DASSK is made use by than shwe with the promise of next Buremse president without military power. Muslim are and were killed by paramilitary thugs. Inflation ( housing, industrial and land prices ) is too high to be coped by ordinary citizens. Buddhist monks are downgraded with the manipulation of than shwe and his USDP who was also than shwe’s brain for how to kill or threat DASSK in Depayin incidence in the past. 13 Muslim children were killed in Rangoon by USDP brain who can now nationalise Muslim’s business, property and lands. Muslim extrimists- terrorists gets more anger and might displace thiers ( idiot-revenge ), particluarly in USA to kill more innocent civilians.

    “Authorities ( Chinese ) increased repression and restrictions on religious freedom in ethnic Tibet regions, where rising numbers of people have set themselves on fire to protest against Beijing, the report said.

    Ethnics Tibet have set fire on themselves becasue they have no gun to revolve Chinese for independence. Tibet does not like rich Chinese yuan, money, compared to value of indenpendence. Fortunately, Buremse ethnics have small guns so they fight bama military thugs for their right and autonomy instead of setting fire on themselves.
    Above is the progress and improvement of thein sein’s military government.

  4. Human Rights Watch
    Burma: End ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims
    Unpunished Crimes Against Humanity, Humanitarian Crisis in Arakan State

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/04/22/burma-end-ethnic-cleansing-rohingya-muslims

    • You are free to pick them up and resettle them in your neighborhood. You will not need years to find out what kind of people these illegal Bengali immigrants are. Please come to Burma and pick them up. We will take care of their one-way air-tickets. We have been tired of seeing fabricated videos on you tube(Many videos were actually from Rangoon when military gun down protesters). Muslims intentionally try to benefit from protesters’ fate. This is how these illegal Bengali immigrants have been living(cheating, stealing, raping, robbing, manipulating and killing). Finally, the wrath of the Arakanese burned like wildfire on them. They should think about that the Arakanese anger would fall on them one day. Unfortunately, it happened last year. Please come to Burma and pick the up, and let them live in your neighborhood.

  5. TheBurmeseFreedomFighter

    I honestly believe Burma quite often listens with attention to the judgment of east and west; but so far as I can remember, it has followed none but its own that has brought Burma to where it is.

    Now I feel a big relieve that the judgment of America is in line with the reality of the change Burma has initiated on its own; a judgment which doesn’t base on Burma’s peak of excellence; but by the distance Burma has traveled from the point where it started. Go Burma Go!

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

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