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Cablegate: China Tip Interim Assessment 2009

VZCZCXRO2508
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #4240/01 3220738
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170738Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0889
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 BEIJING 004240

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/CM JCARTIN; EAP/RSP DTIKVART; G/TIP GPATEL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SMIG KTIP KCRM KWMN CH
SUBJECT: CHINA TIP INTERIM ASSESSMENT 2009

REF: STATE 111886

Summary
-------

1. (U) China has made progress since April 2008 in combating
human trafficking. The implementation of the National Plan
of Action (NPA) on Combating Trafficking in Women and
Children (2008-2012), led by the Ministry of Public Security
(MPS) in coordination with 28 other agencies, underscores
China's efforts to move from "combating trafficking" status
to "anti-trafficking," thereby broadening its focus from
prosecution and rescue to include prevention, protection,
rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficking victims into
society.

2. (U) The NPA aims to provide "sustainable and long-term
solutions to human trafficking." China has publicly
expressed its intention to ratify the UN Protocol to Prevent,
Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, but ratification
of the protocol will require a comprehensive review of
China's laws and regulations relating to human trafficking,
notably those pertaining to the definition of minors, the
definition of trafficking and the scope of what constitutes a
trafficking crime. That review is not yet complete.

3. (U) China has not officially adopted standardized
guidelines for identification of trafficking victims, nor
does it offer comprehensive victim protection services,
although guidelines and programs are being developed to
address these deficiencies. China continues to consider all
North Koreans "economic migrants" rather than refugees and
has limited UNHCR personnel's access to North Korean refugees
in China, leaving that population especially vulnerable to
trafficking. End Summary.

Funding for NPA implementation
------------------------------

4. (U) China's National Plan of Action (NPA) stipulates that
a "strategic measure" to be implemented in carrying out the
NPA is to "employ multiple fundraising channels using
contributions from the government, supplemented by donations
from society and other sources." Relevant government
departments at the national and local levels are required to
set aside earmarked funding for anti-trafficking efforts. At
the same time, each department at all levels is encouraged to
"procure contributions from civil groups, public welfare
organizations, private enterprises and institutions as well
as individuals." The NPA also welcomes international aid, as
well as technical expertise, to assist China in meeting its
objectives.

5. (U) According to the MPS Office to Combat Human
Trafficking, the Ministry of Public Security is in the
process of negotiating with the Ministry of Finance to
allocate a larger tranche of the national budget to
anti-trafficking measures, especially in less developed
regions.

Efforts to Address Labor Trafficking
------------------------------------

6. (U) Chinese law prohibits forced and compulsory labor,
including by children, but such practices continue to occur.
Chinese authorities have had modest success in protecting
victims of forced labor and there have been several recent
high-profile cases in which forced laborers have been
"rescued" from their employers by authorities in sting
operations.

7. (U) China's Labor Contract Law, which went into effect in
January, provides workers and rights defenders new legal
tools to hold employers accountable for illegal labor
practices, such as preventing workers from exercising their
right to leave their jobs. In addition, the State Council and
14 ministries, including the Ministry of Public Security and
the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, are
discussing a revision of China's household registration
policy with the aim of increasing legal protection for
migrant workers. Migrant workers, estimated by the
International Labor Organization (ILO) to number more than
100 million persons, are those most vulnerable to trafficking.

8. (U) Chinese law prohibits the employment of children under
the age of 16, but the government has not adopted a
comprehensive policy to combat child labor and claims that
the majority of children who work do so to supplement family

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income. The labor law specifies administrative review, fines
and revocation of business licenses of those businesses found
to have illegally hired minors. Reliable statistics on the
prevalence of child labor are not available, but the
government acknowledges there is a problem and although it
says it is not widespread, admits that it is relatively
prevalent in certain industries, including manufacturing.

9. (U) In July 2008, the Ministry of Human Resources and
Social Security established a bureau for labor protection
which is charged with investigating allegations of illegal
employment practices and reporting cases of labor trafficking
to the Ministry of Public Security. The Ministry also
provides free vocational training and guidance to female
victims of trafficking under 16 who do not want to return to
their original residences.

Meeting International Legal Standards
-------------------------------------

10. (U) China has publicly announced its plans to ratify the
UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in
Persons and expects ratification to occur in 2009 during the
annual spring session of the National People's Congress
(NPC), the country's highest legislative body. The Ministry
of Public Security says that "China has put efforts to ratify
the protocol at the top of its agenda," while the NPA
mandates the "signing and implementation of relevant
international treaties."

11. (U) Ratification of the protocol would require a
comprehensive review of China's laws and regulations relating
to human trafficking, notably those pertaining to the
definition of minors, the definition of trafficking and the
scope of what constitutes a trafficking crime. At present,
China's definition of trafficking does not include forced
labor nor trafficking of men and boys while a minor is
defined as a person under 14 years of age.

12. (U) Members of the NPC and the Supreme People's Court
(SPC) have indicated that China's criminal law can be revised
in order to accommodate differences between China's legal
framework and international law. In addition to Articles
240, 241 and 262 of China's Criminal Code, which directly
address trafficking, the following articles refer to the
criminalization of various trafficking-related crimes:
Articles 134, 135, 244, 262 and 333 address forced labor;
Articles 358, 359, 360, 361 and 365 address sexual
exploitation; Articles 234 and 238 address violation of a
victim's rights while being trafficked; Article 242, 362, 416
and 417 address obstructing rescue operations of trafficking
victims; Article 318, 319, 320, 321, 322 and 415 address
transnational trafficking crimes and Articles 23, 26, 27, 28,
30, 31 and 64 address complicity in trafficking crimes.

13. (U) The Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against
Trafficking (COMMIT) Joint Declaration, signed by China and
five Southeast Asian countries in December 2007, further
binds China to a revision of its laws and regulations,
stipulating that each member declare a "firm commitment to
the fight against slavery in all its forms including sexual
exploitation of both children and adults, forced labor, child
labor and forced marriage, contained in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and other international
instruments."

Victim Identification Procedures
--------------------------------

14. (U) China has not officially adopted standardized
guidelines for identification of trafficking victims,
although guidelines have been developed and are currently
being considered for approval. The Ministry of Civil Affairs
is working with the International Organization for Migration
(IOM) on a training module on identification, protection,
recovery and reintegration of trafficking victims and is
planning to implement a pilot project at several of its
relief shelters to develop a model program for such services.

Protection and Rehabilitation of Victims
----------------------------------------

15. (U) China continues to lack comprehensive victim
protection services, although it is making efforts to address
this deficiency. The NPA calls for strengthening relief and
rehabilitation of victims by increasing the number of women
and children who receive training, aid and medical treatment,
as well as through establishing institutions for relief,

BEIJING 00004240 003 OF 004


transfer and rehabilitation. The NPA further mandates that
rescued women and children should be successfully
reintegrated into society and agencies should "strengthen
registration, management and protection" by establishing
"specialized archives" to track victims' rehabilitation
progress.

16. (U) The Ministry of Civil affairs is working to develop a
program model for victim identification, protection, recovery
and reintegration, and plans to double its child relief
centers, which often serve as shelters for trafficking
victims, to 300 by 2010. The Ministry of Public Security,
with the help of UN agencies, continues to operate "transfer
centers" along the border with Vietnam and Burma which
reportedly provide assistance and rehabilitation services for
victims. Legal aid services for women continue to be
provided in key areas across the country.

Investigating Government Officials
----------------------------------

17. (U) In February 2008, the Central Committee on the
Comprehensive Management of Public Security (CCCMPS), China's
top public security watch-dog, added anti-trafficking
measures to its list of national priorities for maintaining
public security. As a result, police facilities around the
country, including community and civilian police
installations, were reportedly expanded and improved to
provide a "safer community environment for the general
public." The new priorities also mean that government
officials' performance is evaluated against regulations that
prohibit complicity in trafficking crimes.

Increasing Public Awareness
---------------------------

18. (U) China is making strides to increase public awareness
of the trafficking issue. The NPA stipulates that the
government "increase the dissemination of anti-trafficking
information, training and education" in key areas and with
at-risk populations, as well as with the general public and
law enforcement officials. Hotlines for victims of
trafficking and trafficking-related crimes are set up across
the country in various provinces, cities and counties, and
are maintained by the government agencies, associations or
youth organizations.

19. (U) Targeted public awareness campaigns continue in
various regions, building on the success of the All China
Women's Federation (ACWF) "Spring Rain" campaign held in
February 2007 in which information on trafficking prevention
and safe employment was disseminated to young female migrant
workers during the spring migration season across five
provinces. Such campaigns usually aim to reach young, female
audiences, considered the most vulnerable to trafficking in
China.

Legal Alternatives to Repatriation
----------------------------------

20. (U) Although China provides temporary shelter to foreign
victims of trafficking, there are no legal alternatives to
repatriation. Most foreign victims are therefore returned to
their country of origin upon identification. China continues
to work together with COMMIT members, especially Vietnam and
Burma, on anti-trafficking programs, and uses its Border
Liaison Offices (BLOs) in Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces to
facilitate repatriation of victims.

Adhering to Refugee Conventions
-------------------------------

21. (U) China continues to consider all North Koreans
"economic migrants" rather than refugees and has limited the
UN High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHCR) access to North
Korean refugees in China. The lack of access to
UNHCR-supported durable solution options and constant fear of
forced repatriation by Chinese authorities leave North Korean
refugees vulnerable to human traffickers.

Other Significant Developments
------------------------------

22. (U) As a follow-up to several preparatory meetings on
implementing the NPA held in June and September, the first
Inter-Ministerial Joint Conference System (IMCS), a
ministerial-level joint meeting headed by Ministry of Public
Security and comprising 28 agencies, will be held in

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November. Rules and regulations, as well as ministerial
responsibilities for implementing the NPA, are expected to be
approved at this meeting and problems and difficulties
encountered since January 2008 will be reviewed. Provincial
responsibilities under the NPA will also be discussed, as
well as the first provincial action plans developed in
Fujian, Guizhou and Hunan.

23. (U) MPS is currently undertaking research on the
trafficking problem in China, its root causes, scope, etc.
and is prioritizing data collection and reporting systems to
"improve the mechanism for information collection and
exchange on combating crime." Eventually, MPS aims to
standardize policies related to trafficking nation-wide.
RANDT

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