Human rights conditions have deteriorated in China with a "closing of space" for activists and lawyers, while Vietnam also continues to severely restrict freedom of expression, the U.S. State Department said Thursday.
The judgments were made in the department's annual assessment of human rights in countries around the world, that also took aim in Asia at post civil-war Sri Lanka and vast penal labor camps in North Korea.
But the U.S. hailed "remarkable" improvements in military-dominated Myanmar, including releases of political prisoners and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's participation in April special elections. It held up the country also known as Burma as an example of reform that it hoped could inspire change in other closed societies
In Indonesia, widely viewed as the most democratic country in Southeast Asia, the U.S. still cited major human rights problems, including continuing arbitrary and unlawful killings by security forces and others in the restive provinces of Papua and West Papua.