HONG KONG (November 25, 2013) — John Kamm, Executive Director of The Dui Hua Foundation, and Megan Ko, Dui Hua’s Programs & Publications Manager, visited Beijing from November 16‒22, 2013. They exchanged views on human rights with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Supreme People’s court (SPC), and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.
Executive Director Kamm was received at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) by Vice Minister Li Baodong. Photo credit: MFA
On Tuesday, November 19, Kamm was received at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Vice Minister Li Baodong, China’s senior diplomat in charge of multilateral issues, including human rights. Topics discussed were the reforms announced at the conclusion of the Third Plenum of the 18th Congress of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China—e.g., abolition of reeducation through labor, relaxation of the one-child policy, reform of the household registration system, and the creation of a state security committee—the Universal Periodic Review of China’s human rights record, and China’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Vice Minister Li praised Kamm’s decision to leave his business career in the early 1990s to begin work on human rights by saying: “At the most difficult time for China, you took on the most sensitive issue, and in doing so made an important contribution to the promotion of US-China relations.”
An important focus of the trip was Dui Hua’s upcoming symposium on women in prison and “the Bangkok Rules,” to be held in Hong Kong in February. Officials with whom Kamm and Ko met, several of whom are attending the symposium, expressed strong support for the event that Dui Hua is organizing in partnership with the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong; Penal Reform International; and the Center for Criminal Procedure and Reform at Renmin University of China Law School.
Juvenile justice reforms were the subject of discussions with Senior Judge Ma Dong of the SPC Juvenile Court Guiding Group. Ma thanked Dui Hua for its work in this area, including juvenile justice exchanges held most recently in September 2012. Preliminary talks were held about future cooperation on juvenile justice.
Kamm and Ko met with US Ambassador Gary Locke and Norwegian Ambassador Svein Sæther and were hosted to lunch by Danish Ambassador Friis Arne Petersen. They held discussions with senior diplomats of Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and other countries. Dui Hua’s meetings in the capital covered the state of bilateral human rights dialogues, individual cases, China’s commitment to further reduce use of the death penalty, and the importance of promoting the rights of the disabled.