Fact: Economic 'Reforms' Do Not Lead to Freedom

Sunday, October 18, 2015
For those who espouse the theory that economic reforms lead to political reforms -- let alone to economic and political freedoms -- here are some sobering facts.

This week, the U.S.'s Congressional-Executive Commission on China issued its 2015 Annual Report.

This join commission, mandated by the 2000 U.S.-China Relations Act, is tasked with monitoring human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an Annual Report to the President and the Congress.

Here are two of its Executive Summary findings:

• During the Commission’s 2015 reporting year, the Chinese Communist Party sought to strengthen its control over politics and society in order to maintain its rule in China’s authoritarian political system. Central Party leaders stressed the objective of enhancing Party leadership over non-governmental organizations, businesses, government agencies, and judicial and legislative institutions. The Party reportedly aims to ‘‘incentivize specific behaviors’’ by individuals and groups through a new ‘‘social credit’’ system which some observers have likened to a proxy for the legal system or labeled as another method of social control. Party authorities expressed the intention to use the law as a tool to impose the Party’s will.

• Sources asserted that human rights abuses in China reportedly were ‘‘at their worst since 1989.’’ Chinese authorities continued to harass, detain, and impose prison sentences on democracy advocates who exercised their rights to the freedoms of speech, assembly, association, and demonstration, including individuals who advocated for democracy in Hong Kong. Some representative cases of detained democracy advocates include Zhao Haitong, Chen Shuqing, Yao Lifa, and Shen Yongping.