Constitutional amendments are mixed blessing (NY Times)

The New York Times reports that China’s thirteen new constitutional amendments
address property and human rights concerns.

However, “Chinese legal experts and even lawmakers said the changes, which were decided in closed-door sessions of the governing Communist Party last fall and formally approved Sunday, would not remove government restrictions on protest. China’s Constitution is subordinate to the party and is amended often to reflect changes in official ideology.”

The Times notes that the amendments are considered “‘very vague,'” largely symbolic and designed to “‘settle people’s minds.'”

How will the state show that it “respects and preserves human rights,” as one amendment asserts, if dissent and other forms of protest continue to be squelched? Human rights should not only be accorded to those who agree with the state.

The US State Department has already asked China to implement to fortify the new amendments. Despite the changes in China’s constitution, Washington may still sponsor a Geneva resolution “condemning Beijing’s [human-rights] record.”

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