The State Department has taken China off its list of the world's 10 worst human rights abusers, the New York Times reports. China's human rights record "remained poor," the department's annual report said, with abuses including "extrajudicial killings, torture, and coerced confessions of prisoners." Officials declined to explain why the country was dropped from the list or whether it had anything to do with the Beijing Olympics.
The report singled out North Korea, Myanmar, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Eritrea, and Sudan as the 10 worst offenders, and also highlighted many human rights violations in Russia. Human rights groups blasted the decision. “US authorities are depriving themselves of yet another effective way to pressure China," said one. "Without having achieved any good-will gesture from Beijing.”