Saturday, November 16, 2013
The Chinese government has announced a number of important economic, social and legal reforms that should improve several human rights issues, including a relaxation of China's one-child policy and the abolition of prison labor camps. With respect to the one-child policy, the Chinese government will allow a couple to have two children if either member of the couple is an only child, a common situation in China. China has committed to abolish "re-education" through labor camps and will reduce the number of crimes subject to the death penalty. China will also give rural farmers more property rights, making it easier for rural famers to sell their land and resettle in cities, a much-needed recognition of the migrant worker problem. In addition, the reforms aim to create a more independent judiciary that will enjoy greater separation from local government. While China is certainly to be commended on these important steps, improvement in other important areas is still needed, such as access to the Internet and tolerance for political dissent.