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Cablegate: China Tip Interim Assessment 2009

DE RUEHBJ #3214/01 3351549
O 011549Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 111958

1. (U) China has made progress since April 2009 in combating
human trafficking. The Chinese government is implementing
the National Plan of Action (NPA) on Combating Trafficking in
Women and Children (2008-2012) and has issued regulations and
directives to strengthen its response to sex trafficking and
labor trafficking. China declared its intention to ratify
the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking
in Persons, but has yet to finish the comprehensive review of
China's laws and regulations required by the Protocol. China
improved efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking
offenses and punished trafficking offenders. China has
increased efforts to address labor trafficking, but serious
problems remain. Chinese officials worked with
non-government organizations (NGOs) and international experts
to boost its efforts in the areas of prevention, protection,
rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficking victims into
society. China is working to standardize guidelines for
identification of trafficking victims and to offer
comprehensive victim protection services, although guidelines
and programs remain in the development phase. China
continues to consider all North Koreans "economic migrants"
rather than refugees. End Summary.

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Revising Laws and Regulations to Address Trafficking
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. (U) China in 2009 augmented efforts to implement the
National Plan of Action (NPA) and issued new rules and
regulations to strengthen and standardize China's response to
sex trafficking and labor trafficking nationwide. The
Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and 29 government
departments and agencies in 2009 jointly issued NPA
implementation guidelines to restructure government
counter-trafficking work. Government inter-ministerial
meetings were held and additional guidelines were issued
throughout the year to better coordinate intra-government
efforts and to strengthen counter-trafficking and victim
protection regulations. The Supreme People's Court (SPC) in
March issued prosecutorial guidelines for human trafficking
cases. Government officials together with international
non-government organizations (NGOs) co-hosted several
workshops on bridging Chinese anti-trafficking laws with the
UN's Palermo Protocol in order to prepare for China's
accession to the protocol and to make recommendations to
Chinese lawmakers. Law workshops also were held at the local
level; according to the Yunnan Public Security Bureau (PSB),
new local laws and regulations are being proposed to
strengthen prosecution of traffickers and the buyers of
trafficking victims.

3. (U) Members of the National People's Congress (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. Chinese legal experts describe the differences between
Chinese domestic law and the Palermo Protocol as "minor and
technical." Chinese legislative officials indicate "little
problem" with China accepting the Palermo definition of a
minor to be under 18 years of age because Chinese domestic
law already acknowledges children as being under 18. There
is a clear need for forced labor and trafficking to be
specifically addressed in criminal law in order to protect
victims and ensure sufficient penalties. While Chinese law
allows for the prosecution and punishment of recruiters and
employers who facilitate forced labor and bondage,
commentators suggest that the punishment should be made more
harsh. 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.

Efforts to Investigate, Prosecute and Punish Offenses
--------------------------------------------- --------

4. (U) China in 2009 significantly increased and improved
efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and
convict and punish trafficking offenders. Public officials
complicit in trafficking were punished, although further
official complicity almost certainly remains. The central
government in 2009 changed local security officials'
promotion criteria to include counter-trafficking work and
instructed public security bureaus nationwide to immediately
investigate missing child cases as criminal cases. China PSB
authorities from April to December 2009 carried out a
nationwide campaign to crackdown on trafficking in women and
children. As of October 28, public security organs
reportedly solved 4420 trafficking cases, eliminated 982
criminal gangs, detained 6214 criminals, captured 1358
fugitives, and rescued 2169 abducted children and 3851 women.
This represented a dramatic increase from security bureaus'

BEIJING 00003214 002 OF 004

counter-trafficking activity in 2008.

5. (U) Prosecution and conviction of trafficking offenders
also increased significantly in 2009, mostly focused on cases
involving trafficking of women and children. In 2009, China
issued Class A arrest warrants for trafficking offenders and
by October had successfully arrested 18 of China's 20
most-wanted human traffickers. These suspects were awaiting
prosecution at time of publication. China was also beginning
to go after criminal networks and organized crime syndicates
involved in trafficking.

6. (U) There were several reports documenting the conviction
and punishment of public officials complicit in trafficking.
Most notable were the arrests and prosecutions of a legal
affairs official, county legislator, head of the county
migration office, and a social security official in Guizhou
province; and the detention of 18 persons, including two
local government officials, now facing multiple charges of
sexual assault of a minor after allegedly raping and forcing
underage girls into prostitution in Anxi county, Fujian

Labor Trafficking

7. (U) China has increased efforts to address labor
trafficking and has had modest success in protecting victims,
but serious problems still exist. China's seriousness in
addressing trafficking for labor exploitation has been
demonstrated in crackdowns in Shanxi brick kilns and other
anecdotal cases, according to international labor experts.
Nine government ministries and labor entities in 2009
launched a nationwide campaign to combat illegal employment
in small and medium-sized labor intensive factories located
in suburban and rural areas, especially small-scale brick
workshops and mines. Forced labor and international labor
conventions were openly discussed at technical consultations
with international experts on China's proposed ratification
of the Palermo Protocol. The Dongguan (Guangdong province)
Labor Administration Bureau blacklisted ten employers for not
paying wages to workers forced to work; at least one of these
employers was found to have employed child labor. The All
China Women's Federation plans to continue for an additional
three years its "Spring Rain" project with the International
Labor Organization (ILO) to address women and child migrant

8. (U) China's efforts to address labor trafficking are far
more significant where children are the trafficking victims.
Reliable statistics on the prevalence of child labor are not
available, but the government acknowledges there is a problem
and admits that it is relatively prevalent in certain
industries, including manufacturing. The central government
issued a document clarifying government agency
responsibilities in combating child labor and imposed
obligations on government officials as part of an enlarged
effort to combat child trafficking. In August, five
ministries on China's State Council launched a campaign
against the rising occurrence of minors being trafficked to
beg or commit crimes. China in April worked with Costa Rican
authorities to break up and arrest members of an
international human smuggling ring that was trafficking
Chinese children to Costa Rica for forced labor.

Cooperation with Foreign Governments

9. (U) China in 2009 increased cooperation with foreign
governments, including the United States government, on
cross-border trafficking cases. In addition to taking part
in the United Nations Coordinated Mekong Ministerial
Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT) process with
Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam at the central
government level, Chinese provincial-level officials also
have increased counter-trafficking and victim protection
activities with bordering countries. Mongolian government
and non-government officials report in the last year having
"unprecedented" counter-trafficking cooperation with Chinese
public security officials in Erlian (Erenhot) and Macau, and
increasing cooperation in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, all primary
destination cities for trafficked Mongolian women. The
Vietnamese Consul General in Nanning, Guangxi province, said
that his consulate had "excellent" relations with Guangxi
public security officials and that both sides routinely
shared TIP leads. China in 2009 continued bilateral
counter-trafficking information sharing and cooperation with
Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Burma; worked with
Thailand, Burma, Malaysia and Vietnam on victim repatriation;
held joint capacity training workshops for border liaison
offices and signed an MOU with Burma to improve victim

BEIJING 00003214 003 OF 004

protection, recovery, repatriation and reintegration; and
signed an agreement on judicial cooperation with Taiwan with
a special focus on kidnapping and human trafficking. MPS has
asked Post for increased information sharing and exchange on
TIP cases with U.S. law enforcement officials, sent Chinese
public security officials to attend U.S. counter-trafficking
training programs, and expressed a desire for U.S.-approved
training on best practices for counter-trafficking, victim
identification, repatriation and reintegration activities.

Identifying, Protecting, and Rehabilitating Victims
--------------------------------------------- ------

10. (U) China in 2009 worked to increase its capacity to
identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups. In
provinces where human trafficking is more prevalent, there
were reports of Chinese officials conducting screening and
providing victim protection services. NGOs along the
southern border reported improvements in Chinese official
rescue and rehabilitation support to trafficking victims;
however, these efforts need to be further strengthened and
standardized nationwide. Victim identification is
challenging and requires training. Central government
officials together with non-government officials participated
in several training conferences on identifying and protecting
victims of trafficking. During at least two of these
conferences, Chinese officials together with international
experts jointly made presentations on victim identification,
repatriation and reintegration, and Chinese officials spoke
on the importance of standardizing guidelines for identifying
trafficking victims. At the local level, Yunnan province
officials and relief center staff, and local civil affairs
authorities in September held a workshop with international
experts on shelter guidelines for victims of trafficking and
improving victim identification and protection in relief
centers. China held training workshops for border liaison
offices with Burma to increase Chinese and Burmese police
force capacity to identify and safeguard the rights and
interests of victims being trafficked across the border.
During the workshop, international experts trained border
forces on victim identification, protection, recovery,
repatriation and reintegration.

11. (U) China in 2009 worked to address deficiencies in its
provision of comprehensive victim protection and
rehabilitation services, although more work needs to be done.
China's ability to protect and rehabilitate victims of
trafficking is greater in areas where TIP is prevalent, such
as in Yunnan province, where victims are known to receive
medical care, socio-psychological support, and vocational and
other training. International organizations and NGOs
reported a marked increase in Chinese officials' interest in
and receptivity toward acquiring best practices in victim
identification, protection, and rehabilitation; this is
important because Chinese officials previously lacked
knowledge and expertise in these issues. Officials are
focused on protecting and rehabilitating sex trafficking
victims; however, labor trafficking victims -- notably
children trafficked for labor purposes -- are also
considered. The Ministry of Civil Affairs began training
managers of China's more than 1300 relief centers on victim
identification, protection, recovery and reintegration.
Throughout 2009, key government entities concerned with
counter-trafficking worked together with international
experts, and non-governmental organizations attended numerous
training and capacity-building workshops on protecting and
rehabilitating victims of trafficking. At the workshops
attended by Embassy staff, training content specifically
covered forced labor and sex trafficking victims.

Legal Alternatives to Repatriation

12. (U) Although China provides temporary shelter and
assistance to foreign victims of trafficking, there continue
to be 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 in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces to facilitate
repatriation of victims. Government officials in 2009
participated in several training workshops on best practices
for victim identification, protection and repatriation, where
government and non-government officials together with
international experts discussed the technicalities and
importance of providing foreign victims with legal
alternatives to forced repatriation.

Reducing Demand for Forced Labor and Commercial Sex Acts
--------------------------------------------- -----------

BEIJING 00003214 004 OF 004

13. (U) China in 2009 conducted campaigns to combat both
forced labor and prostitution. Nine government ministries
and labor industries launched a nationwide campaign to combat
illegal employment in small and medium-sized labor intensive
factories located in suburban and rural areas, especially
small-scale brick workshops and mines. The central
government launched a nationwide crackdown on prostitution
targeting individuals or groups who force, tempt, permit or
introduce women to prostitution; operators of entertainment
venues that permit or introduce prostitution; and anyone who
conducts illegal activities with minors. From July through
August, police solved 5572 cases of organizing, forcing,
luring, harboring, and introducing women into prostitution;
8257 suspects were detained. There is evidence of local
campaigns to reduce the demand for forced child labor and
commercial sexual acts.

Adhering to Refugee Convention Obligations

14. (U) Post has seen no substantial evidence to date
indicating a change from 2008 in China's unwillingness to
adhere to its obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention
and the 1967 Protocol. China appears to continue to treat
North Korean trafficking victims as unlawful economic


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