A number of the blogs that I read (including Peking Duck and North Korea Zone) have recently focused on what seemed to be an increase in repression in China. The actions include increased censorship (including what is almost certainly a block on all TypePad sites), a number of arrests, and an attempt at "revising" the laws of Hong Kong.

Either way, I was browsing on Xinhua's website when I ran across this article, praising a white paper issued by the government supporting human rights:

China issued a white paper on Tuesday titled "Progress in China's Human Rights Cause in 2003", which was applauded by many experts and scholars as the best testimony to the government's human-centered principles.

These experts include Liu Nanlai (who has criticised Falun Gong, Taiwan, and the US State Department's human rights reports in the past), a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Dong Yunhu, from the China Society for Human Rights Studies. The latter's website includes articles on a new prisoner information database in an "ethnic minority prison," and the oppressed status of Tibetan serfs prior to the Chinese invasion in 1959.

Similarly, the actual white paper in question shows a lack of a concrete definition of the term "human rights" (which seems to include virtually all services that the government provides for individuals, from medical care to law enforcement).

In 2003, the NPC Standing Committee examined and adopted 10 laws and decisions concerning laws, including the "Law on Residents' ID Cards," "Law on Road Traffic Safety," "Law on Administrative Approval" and "Law on the Prevention and Control of Radioactive Pollution." All these display the basic spirit of serving the people, facilitating the people and benefiting the people, as well as respecting and safe-guarding their human rights.

Yes, that radioactive pollution, oppressing human rights left and right...

While the paper provides a rosy picture of the Chinese government's relationship with the individual, nowhere are certain concrete issues (like Internet censorship, for example) explored. For this reason, the majority of the paper is basically worthless.