Congressional-Executive Commission on China
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) is an independent agency of the U.S. government which monitors human rights and rule of law developments in the People's Republic of China. It was created in October 2001 under Title III of H.R. 4444, which authorizes normal trade relations with the PRC, and establishes a framework for relations between the two countries. The commission was given the mandate by the U.S. Congress to monitor and report on human rights issues with a particular focus on compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its reporting covers developments in freedom of expression, the right to peaceful assembly, religious freedom, freedom of movement, freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention, or torture, and the right to a fair trial, among others. The commission publishes an annual report to the President of the United States and Congress, typically in the fall of each year. It also maintains a database of prisoners of conscience, and holds regular roundtables and hearings.
The commission comprises a staff of researchers and analysts, and is overseen by as many as nine members each from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as senior executive branch officials. Chairmanship of the commission rotates between the majority parties from the House and Senate. The commission is currently chaired by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The CECC publishes an annual report on human rights and rule of law development in China, usually in the fall of each year and covers issues such as freedom of expression, worker rights, religious freedom, ethnic minority rights, population planning, status of women, climate change and the environment, treatment of North Korean refugees, civil society, access to justice, and democratic governance. The reports draw on a variety of sources, including information from human rights groups, media reports, and official government or communist party documents.
As part of its mandate from Congress, the CECC maintains a partial database of religious and political prisoners believed to be detained in China. As of 2013, the database contained over 7,300 names. Over 1,300 of these are believed to be detained currently, while the remainder have been released, killed, or escaped. The database was created with the assistance of the Dui Hua Foundation and Tibet Information Network.
Commissioners, 113th Congress
- H.R. 4444, TITLE III--CONGRESSIONAL-EXECUTIVE COMMISSION ON THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
- Congressional Executive Commission on China
- Congressional Executive-Commission on China, 2010 Annual Report, 15 October 2010.
- Congressional-Executive Commission on China, CECC political prisoner database, accessed 11-13-11.