China signs key human rights pact

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — China signed a key human rights treaty Monday that calls for freedom of expression and religion, even as Beijing hauled a prominent human rights campaigner in for questioning.
Qin Yongmin’s latest run-in with the authorities came as he tried for the second time in a week to legally register a human rights monitoring group.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights signed Monday is one of two accords seen as fundamental to protecting human rights. China has signed the other one — the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights — but hasn’t ratified it.
In a signing ceremony at U.N. headquarters, China’s U.N. ambassador, Qin Huasun, said the Chinese government was deliberating on ratifying that accord.
Qin’s signing came exactly 31 years after Taiwan signed the accord, when it was still a member state of the United Nations. The Taiwanese government lost its seat in the United Nations in 1971 when the organization accepted the Communist government in Beijing as the sole representative of the Chinese people.
Countries that have signed on to the treaty are required to submit an initial report within one year of ratification, and periodic reports every five years thereafter.