Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao

18 March 2008 :

China said it would ratify the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights at an "early date" and dismissed as "unfounded" allegations that it was cracking down on dissent ahead of the Beijing Olympics.
"We are trying to make domestic laws consistent with international laws. We are in the process of internal coordination. We will try to ratify the covenants at an early date," Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said at a press conference after China's parliament ended its annual full session.
Wen said China had been reforming its judicial system including the Supreme People's Court which has taken back the powers from lower courts to examine and approve death penalty. There was also a cap on the number of death penalty.
China is reportedly one of the countries with maximum number of executions.
"We are working actively to advance the reform in the political system, including the reforms in judicial system", he said.
"There is no such question at all", he said on allegations by human rights activists that China had stepped up its action to curb dissent before the Beijing Olympics.
China signed the UN Covenant in 1998 but never ratified it. The covenant covers freedom of expression, religion, assembly movement and speech, participation in public affairs and elections, and equality.

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