Beijing: Under constant fire for suppression of human rights, China on Tuesday said civil and political rights of its people have been effectively improved in the last three years, but acknowledged that the world's most populous nation has a long way to realise higher-level protection of rights.
Citizens' civil and political rights have been effectively protected, and the people have been guaranteed and supported to act as masters of their own country, an official report reviewing the human rights development from 2012 to 2015 said. The supervision and examination against extortion of confession by torture and other illegal acts have been strengthened, the report said.
"There is still a long way to go to realise higher-level protection of human rights in China and hard efforts must be made," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted it as saying.
China is under constant criticism from international rights group for crackdown on political dissidents, specially against human rights lawyers. Also China has been criticised for restrictions on religious practices in Xinjiang, the home of Muslim Uyghurs as well as in Tibet, where the Dalai Lama is revered as living Buddha despite decades of his exile.
Highlighting improvement in providing better judicial protection to the accused, the human rights report said between 2012 and 2015, procuratorial organs made 869,775 remedial proposals on illegal acts during criminal investigations including abusing compulsory measures, collecting evidence through illegal means and extorting confessions by torture, the report said.
Last year, China handled 208 cases against 243 procurators for their violation of laws and discipline and proposed to release or changing compulsory measures for 83,341 people who were involved in cases unnecessary for detention, it said.
During this period courts at various levels found 3,369 suspects not guilty, the document said. In December 2013, China abolished the system of reeducation through labour.
Last year, about 30,000 imprisoned criminals in four categories were pardoned under an amnesty, it said. Also tighter checks have been placed on the application of the death penalty.
In 2015, nine crimes were removed from the list of crimes subject to the death penalty through an amendment to the Criminal Law as a result the number of crimes subject to the death penalty decreased from the previous 55 to 46, it said. It also said freedom of religious belief is fully guaranteed.
The work on the protection of pilgrimage activities of Muslims has constantly improved it said refuting allegations of suppression of religious activities in Xinjiang and Tibet. With 1.3 billion people, China is world's most populous country.