News / Asia

China to Appear Before UN Human Rights Council

FILE - Overview of the U.N. Human Rights Council during the emergency debate on human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, at the United Nations in Geneva, February 28, 2012.
FILE - Overview of the U.N. Human Rights Council during the emergency debate on human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, at the United Nations in Geneva, February 28, 2012.
VOA News
Chinese officials will appear before a United Nations panel to defend their country's human rights record, which many say is stained by a worsening crackdown on dissent.

The Tuesday session in Geneva will be the second time Beijing has reported to the Human Rights Council, which reviews the rights record of each country every four years.

The hearing comes amid a series of arrests of Chinese rights activists, including some who were trying to participate in the government's report to the so-called Universal Periodic Review.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the Chinese delegation is looking forward to a "candid discussion" on human rights, but warned it will only accept certain types of criticism.

"In Geneva, China will give the truth of our efforts and progress in human rights, and we look forward to constructive criticism. We will kindly accept the constructive criticisms and work towards a better state for Chinese human rights. But we do not welcome the 'maligned criticisms,'" said Chunying.

The debate offers a chance for foreign diplomats to air their complaints about China's rights record in a public setting, in the presence of Chinese officials, who will also be invited to give a presentation.

At the council's first review of China in 2009, Beijing rejected virtually every recommendation from U.N. member states except for those calling for the general promotion of human rights.

China, the world's most populous country, claims it is making progress on human rights but that it should not be held to the same standard as more developed countries.

It views criticism of its rights record as inappropriate interference in its internal affairs, despite having signed international treaties guaranteeing freedom of speech and other fundamental human rights.

In the leadup to the U.N. hearing, Chinese authorities have arbitrarily detained dozens of activists, jailed government critics, and increased online censorship.

In a statement released on Monday, Human Rights Watch called the recent period "one of China's major crackdowns on activists and free expression."

Specifically, the New York-based group raised concerns about the forced disappearance of Cao Shunli, a prominent activist who was trying to convince the government to allow independent civil society groups to take part in the U.N. review.

Cao has not been seen since September 14, when she was interrogated and detained at the Beijing airport. She was one of several Chinese activists prevented from flying to Geneva for a workshop on international human rights.

Under the council's rules, countries are encouraged to allow public participation in drafting their reports for the UPR. Beijing argues it has met those requirements by seeking "broad public support" on a government website.

Human Rights Watch also urged more action on issues, including China's use of torture in its criminal justice system, pervasive media censorship tools, notorious Re-Education Through Labor camps, and extensive human rights abuses in Tibetan and Uighur areas.

Critics have said these and other alleged rights violations mean China should not be allowed to serve on the U.N. Human Rights Council. Beijing has announced plans to run in a November election to fill one of the council's 47 seats for a three-year period beginning in 2014.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs