Human Rights Watch rips 'brutal and pervasive oppression' in China

Human Rights Watch rips 'brutal and pervasive oppression' in China
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The head of Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a scathing statement Wednesday aimed at China's government over its treatment of protesters in Hong Kong as well as other suspected rights abuses.

In his opening essay for HRW's yearly report, executive director Kenneth Roth wrote that China's efforts to maintain control of its territories "is increasingly undermining the international system for protecting human rights."

"To maintain its grasp on power at home, the Chinese Communist Party has constructed an Orwellian high-tech surveillance state and a sophisticated Internet censorship system to monitor and suppress public criticism," Roth wrote.

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"President Xi Jinping’s government is overseeing the most brutal and pervasive oppression that China has seen for decades," HRW added in a news release accompanying the report's publication.

Roth went on to accuse the Chinese government of seeking to export its surveillance state abroad.

"Now, China has begun to use its growing economic and diplomatic clout to extend that censorship abroad, silencing critics and carrying out the most intense attack on the global system for enforcing human rights seen since its emergence in the mid-twentieth century," he wrote.

"If not challenged, Beijing’s actions portend a dystopian future in which no one is beyond the reach of Chinese censors, and an international human rights system so weakened that it no longer serves as a check on government repression," Roth continued.

His warnings come after the NBA faced backlash in China over a team manager's statement in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, while the organization's efforts to apologize to angered Chinese fans drew criticism from lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

Washington has threatened to respond with sanctions should violent crackdowns against protesters in Hong Kong continue, while China has vowed to retaliate if the Trump administration implements such measures.