The crackdown has intensified across China in 2022 despite growing international attention to human rights abuses by President Xi Jinping’s administration, according to a leading watchdog.
Human Rights Watch, a US-based group, released its latest global report on Thursday, documenting China as one of the world’s worst human rights violators.
Among the main abuses, the authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have continued their “assault” on freedoms in Hong Kong, as well as the mass detention of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and “severe restrictions on the freedoms of religion, expression, of movement and assembly” in Tibet.
HRW also criticized China’s strict pandemic controls. The group said the zero Covid policy dropped at the end of last year had prevented coronavirus-related deaths and illnesses, but had also “significantly impeded people’s access to healthcare, food and other necessities”.
The report adds: “An unknown number of people have died after being denied medical treatment for their non-Covid related illnesses.”
There has also been little progress in the rights of women and girls as well as those affected by issues of sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the report.
On religious freedoms, HRW said “police continue to harass, arrest and jail” leaders and members of “house churches”, congregations who refuse to join official Catholic and Protestant churches.