Founded by Chinese students and scholars in March 1989, HRIC implements programs to generate institutional, systemic change in China while also engaging in critical advocacy strategies on behalf of individuals in China.
With offices in Hong Kong, New York, and Brussels, HRIC serves as a source of analysis and information on the human rights situation in China, as well as an active NGO advocate in the international arena. In 2005, HRIC was also recognized for its creative and effective use of technology by The Tech Museum of Innovation as one of twenty-five Tech Award Laureates of the year.
HRIC's Executive Director from 2002 to is Sharon Hom. HRIC's former Executive Director is Xiao Qiang.
With a diverse network of domestic and international partners, HRIC links individual advocacy with systemic and policy interventions addressing human rights, technology, legal and administrative reform issues. HRIC’s core programs and reports address human rights violations affecting China’s rural population, migrant workers, ethnic minorities, women and children.
HRIC's domestic work with political prisoners provides support for legal representation and assistance to activists in China. HRIC works with domestic Chinese groups internationally and domestically in calling upon the Chinese government to engage in a constructive reassessment of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and subsequent and to move toward greater reforms and social stability.
By supporting domestic groups such as the Tiananmen Mothers, HRIC links Chinese calls for redress to current international debates such as lifting the European Union arms embargo on China. HRIC’s online , is a Chinese-language archive documenting the history of the 1989 Tiananmen democracy movement. HRIC also maintains , an online petition mobilizing individuals and organizations worldwide to support the Tiananmen Mothers’ demands for accountability for the June 4th crackdown.
HRIC’s advocacy initiatives contribute to multilateral and bilateral human rights policy discussions, analyses and recommendations. HRIC provides briefings and reports to , , and the EU-China Dialogue.
Since 2002, HRIC has submitted over 30 individual cases of the victims of human rights abuses to the . All 12 detention cases for which decisions have been made have been determined arbitrary. These cases are additionally brought to the attention of governments such as the United States and European Union.
HRIC’s campaign , launched in 2003, is a research and monitoring project focusing on the Chinese government's human rights practices in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics. The IR 2008 campaign seeks to take strategic advantage of international windows of opportunity arising from China's role as host of the 2008 Summer Olympics, its increasing integration into the international community, and a growing Chinese civil society.
HRIC regularly addresses the relationship between corporate social responsibility, trade, and human rights through reports, briefings, and presentations, thus contributing to a global framework that respects and promotes human rights. HRIC has outlined a best practices matrix for IT companies doing business in China, involving information communication technology , surveillance and security, multilaterals, the media, governments, and NGOs.
HRIC’s E-Activism Project supports Chinese citizens’ increasing activism and promotes the free flow of information in China by building a technology platform that uses proxy server technology and a weekly e-newsletter sent to hundreds of thousands of subscribers in China. The project includes the development of six interrelated Web sites with online Chinese publications, tools for accountability, and online advocacy resources.
HRIC is funded by private foundations and individuals from Europe, Asia, and North America. . It also receives funding from National Endowment for Democracy .
Michael Barker at Center for Research on Globalization criticized the link HRIC with National Endowment for Democracy . Quote:
:"Human Rights in China work appears to be closely related to that undertaken by it’s better known counterpart, Human Rights Watch, as Robert L. Bernstein, the founder and former chair of Human Rights Watch is currently the chair of HRIC’s board of directors . Not surprisingly Human Rights Watch and HRIC regularly work together to publish human rights reports, which is fitting as extremely close ties exist between Human Rights Watch and the global democracy manipulators .
:"The founder of Human Rights in China, Fu Xinyuan, is Associate Professor of Pathology at Yale University School of Medicine; he also sits on the advisory board of the Israel Science Foundation . Ironically, in 2005, The Guardian reported that foreign grant reviewers were boycotting the Israel Science Foundation due to the Israeli government’s human rights violations.
:"Since 2002, Human Rights in China’s executive director has been Sharon Hom – an individual who also serves as a member of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Advisory Committee, and is an emerita professor of law at the City University of New York School of Law. Prior to Hom’s appointment to Human Rights in China, the organization’s longstanding executive director – from 1991 to 2002 – was Qiang Xiao, who was formerly the vice-chair of the steering committee of the NED-initiated World Movement for Democracy, and presently acts as the director of the China Internet Project , sits on the board of advisors for the NED-funded International Campaign for Tibet, and is the chief editor of China Digital Times."
''China Rights Forum '' is HRIC's English-language quarterly journal. Since its founding in 1990, CRF has covered a range of issues regarding China's human rights developments. CRF provides space for the voices of Chinese scholars, artists, writers and activists promoting democratic reform, labor rights, freedom of expression, and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities and disadvantaged groups. Current and previous issues of CRF are available online.
''Ren Yu Ren Quan'' is a Chinese-language online monthly journal publishing in-depth analyses, research papers, current events commentaries, theoretical discussions and law reviews. Issues covered have included torture and corruption in China, Internet censorship and China’s unsound legal system.
''Huaxia Dianzi Bao'' is a Web site archive of HRIC's weekly Chinese-language e-newsletter. Each issue contains news from China that has been banned and censored in the mainland. The majority of the contributors and readers are mainland Chinese Internet users.
HRIC’s research fuels a range of reports and publications such as thematic reports and briefings, issues backgrounders, trends bulletins, and short reports on topical issues involving ethnic minorities, women and children, control of the media, labor rights and state secrets, legal reform and social unrest. HRIC regularly issues reports on human rights issues and circulates them to multilateral bodies, media, policy makers, governments, and NGOs.
In June 2007, HRIC published ''State Secrets: China's Legal Labyrinth''. The report describes and examines the and shows how it allows and even promotes human rights violations by undermining the rights to freedom of expression and information, and by maintaining a culture of secrecy that has a chilling effect on efforts to develop the rule of law and independent civil society. The report also includes a set of concrete and specific recommendations relating to governance, legislative amendments and strengthening implementation.
In April 2007, ''China: Minority Exclusion, Marginalization and Rising Tensions'', a report by HRIC and commissioned by Minority Rights Group International) was released. The report documents the serious impediments to the fulfillment of China's human rights obligations, in the areas of political participation, development, and preservation of cultural identity.
In April 2005, HRIC released a joint report with Human Rights Watch, ''Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang'', which reveals for the first time the complex architecture of law, regulation, and policy in Xinjiang that denies religious freedom, and by extension, freedom of association, assembly, and expression. The report is based on previously undisclosed Communist Party of China and government documents, as well as local regulations, official newspaper accounts and interviews conducted in Xinjiang.
In 2004, HRIC published ''Media Control in China'', a Chinese-language report countering China’s claims to easing controls on the media by openly portraying the oppressive, often violent, and lethal consequences of overstepping the government’s limitations on freedom of speech and of the press. The report has been partially translated into English, and has been widely circulated on Chinese Web sites, in classrooms, and at conferences. A revised and expanded edition was released in July 2006.