News / Asia

China’s Human Rights Record Challenged at UN

Wu Hailong, special envoy of China's foreign ministry, addresses the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review session at the United Nations in Geneva on October 22, 2013.
Wu Hailong, special envoy of China's foreign ministry, addresses the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review session at the United Nations in Geneva on October 22, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
China has made a spirited defense of its human rights record, which is under review at the U.N. Human Rights Council.  While admitting some shortcomings Tuesday, the Chinese delegation told the 47-member U.N. body that Beijing has made many improvements in promoting and protecting the rights of its citizens.

China’s human rights record is under review for the second time under the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).  Under this procedure, the U.N. Human Rights Council examines each nation’s record once every four years.  

The last time China came under the human rights spotlight in 2009, Beijing accepted 42 recommendations made by other countries in attendance.  In his statement to the council Tuesday, the head of the Chinese delegation acknowledged that not all of these recommendations have been implemented.  However, he said his country has made great strides.

Special envoy for China’s foreign ministry Wu Hailong said China is a huge country of 1.3 billion people and its 56 ethnic groups faced many difficulties.  But he said over the past four years his country has achieved a more prosperous economy, and improved democracy and the rule of law.  

Speaking through an interpreter, Ambassador Wu said the Chinese government has strengthened the judicial system and increased protections of ethnic minorities.


“My government also ensures that minority ethnic groups in China enjoy extensive human rights.  They participate in the management of state and local affairs as equals with the Han ethnic group.  The ratio of leading officials with ethnic background is growing in ethnic minority area(s)," said Wu. "Their freedom of religious belief and the right to use and develop their spoken and written languages are fully respected and guaranteed.  State investment in ethnic minority areas has kept expanding.” 
 

Tibet Activists China Human RightsTibet Activists China Human Rights
x
Tibet Activists China Human Rights
Tibet Activists China Human Rights
During the course of the hearing Tuesday, many Western countries accused China of arresting activists, curbing freedom of expression, including the use of the Internet, and suppressing ethnic minorities.


Before the U.N. council began its review, a group of five Tibetan activists scaled the U.N. building and unfurled a banner that said “China fails human rights in Tibet -- U.N. stand up for Tibet.”

A senior program officer for Human Rights in China, Shiwei Ye, told VOA the Chinese government implements very severe and restrictive policies on political and civil rights, as well as on social, economic and cultural rights.

Despite these concerns, he noted that since the last UPR in 2009, there has been a continued explosion of citizen activism in China that gives him hope that things will change for the better.

“Of course ,on the other hand, there is a serious crackdown ongoing.  But. despite the crackdown, citizens are becoming less afraid to speak out.  And, because they are less afraid, the government is growing more afraid of its own citizens.  So, we hope that China will stop being afraid of its own citizens and start listening to them and start working with citizens to address their legitimate grievances because this is key to sustainable development and the healthy development of the rule of law in China,” said Ye.

In his closing remarks, Ambassador Wu said that China was aware of the many difficulties and challenges it faced in promoting and protecting human rights.  But, he added his government was sure that by creating a prosperous society, China also would witness even greater achievements in human rights.
 

You May Like

Video Anti-Muslim Sponsor of Texas Cartoon Contest Draws Ire

Pamela Geller's supporters say she speaks truth about sensitive topic, while critics say she preaches 'that Islam is inherently evil' More

East Meets West in Exhibition Showing Chinese Influence on Fashion

Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition juxtaposes influence of art, imagery and culture, from Imperial China to the present day, on Western fashion and design More

South Africa Begins New Love Affair With Vinyl Records

Enthusiasts say the 'rebirth' of vinyl is resulting in a rebirth of music in South Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: anonymous from: China
October 22, 2013 11:10 PM
China is full of unfairs, and the Party is the biggest gangland!

by: Dolph from: Vancouver
October 22, 2013 9:19 PM
They do this dance every year and it's as rehearsed as a Broadway show. The West condemns China for their human rights (thus shutting up the activists in their countries), China retaliates "No no no no". The West replies "yes yes yes yes". China rebuts "No no no no" And then it's over. We go back to business as usual, have their children make our iPhones and DVD players and pretend that the whole rhetoric made some kind of difference. - posted from my iPhone

by: Mark from: NY
October 22, 2013 7:56 PM
China has been turning back in terms of human rights since Xi Jinping came to power. No freedom of speech. Xi Jinping is trying to reuse Mao Zedong's autocracy to control the country by Obscurantism.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs