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Chinese citizens today face one of the worlds most oppressive regimes, and yet U.S. policy
has tended to relegate human rights far down the list of U.S. policy priorities with Beijing.
Left unchallenged by the U.S., Chinese authorities will see no incentive to change their
behavior, making it likely that the current crackdown will get worse. President Xis
scheduled visit to the U.S. in September, amid economic and financial turmoil in China
and globally, as well as public calls in the U.S. to cancel the visit, is an opportunity for
President Obama to highlight these concerns. As you report on the visit, assuming it
stays on track, we have identified a number of measures/actions that would be
worth looking out for and that would help signal to China that the U.S. is
serious about its concerns over human rights problems in that country.

A high level (preferably by POTUS) speech in advance of Xis visit expressing the
USGs concern about Chinas human rights record.
Raising concerns regarding human rights abuses with President Xi directly in
A meeting with Chinese dissidents and their families in the Oval Office ahead of the
Sharing a list of political prisoners with Xi with a request that they be released
Inviting democracy and human rights activists to the White House State Dinner.
Publishing op-eds from USG officials regarding human rights abuses in China.
Giving interviews (ideally in Chinese) on USG concerns with human rights in China.
Writing public letters to families of dissidents/political prisoners.
Publicly supporting Chinas inclusion in Global Magnitsky legislation, which would
impose sanctions on foreign individuals who have committed gross human rights

Background: Despite rapid economic growth and episodic improvements in the rule of
law, China under President Xi remains a one-party state and is undergoing a serious
deterioration in human rights and civil liberties. Evidence includes:

Activists and their lawyers under increasing threat of detention, harassment, and, if
imprisoned, torture and the withholding of medical treatment. During a 2-week
period in July 2015, over 200 lawyers and their associates were detained. Activists
also face more serious sentences than in previous years.

Growing restrictions on the Internet and press. Journalists are required to pass
political ideology exams, and a new national security law could grant the
government unprecedented authority over Internet usage.
Inability to criticize the government without fear of reprisal.
Denial of voting in elections. Only the Communist Party, which Xi heads, is allowed.
Rising restrictions on funding from foreign NGOs.
Persecution of minorities, especially Tibetans and Uighurs.
Increasing restrictions on religious freedom.

* The Democracy & Human Rights Working Group is a nonpartisan

initiative bringing together academic and think tank experts and
practitioners from NGOs and previous Democratic and Republican
administrations, seeking to elevate the importance of democracy and human
rights issues in U.S. foreign policy. It is convened by Arizona State
University's McCain Institute for International Leadership. The views
expressed here do not necessarily represent the positions of individual
members of the group or of their organizations.
Chinese and Tibetan political prisoners
Gao Yu
Pu Zhiqiang
Ilham Tohti
Liu Ping
Liu Xiaobo
Liu Xia
Gao Zhisheng
Tie Liu
Wang Yu
Li Heping
Zhou Shifeng
Gendun Choekyi Nyama