Handbook on Human Rights in China
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Handbook on Human Rights in China

Edited by Sarah Biddulph and Joshua Rosenzweig

This Handbook gives a wide-ranging account of the theory and practice of human rights in China, viewed against international standards, and China’s international engagements around human rights. The Handbook is organised into the following sections: contested meanings; international dimensions; economic and social rights; civil and political rights; rights in/action and access to justice; political dimensions of human rights in Greater China; and new frontiers.
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Chapter 24: Transparency, accountability and access to information

Jamie P. Horsley


China stunned international transparency advocates when, in 2007, it became the first communist country to adopt an access to information (ATI) statute. The national Regulations on Open Government Information required central and local governments to proactively disclose, and gave Chinese citizens the revolutionary right to request, records held in previously inaccessible government files. China has implicitly recognized ATI as a human right through its confirmation of or accession to relevant international agreements and by including ATI as a political right in official human rights reports. However, China has not fully embraced the concept of ATI as a human right or guaranteed its enforcement through legislation. Nonetheless, China’s ATI statute and implementing policies have, to date, provided relatively effective tools to permit Chinese citizens to obtain information that is important to their daily lives and enable greater citizen activism and engagement with the Chinese Party-state.

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