News / Asia

    Chinese Human Rights Record Under UN Scrutiny

    FILE - Wu Hailong, special envoy of China's Foreign Ministry (L), addresses the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review session at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Oct. 22, 2013.
    FILE - Wu Hailong, special envoy of China's Foreign Ministry (L), addresses the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review session at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Oct. 22, 2013.
    Days after China dismissed a United Nations report that accused North Korea of crimes against humanity, Beijing is criticizing a U.N. investigative report on its own human rights record. The report, scheduled to be adopted by the world body in Geneva Wednesday, is the outcome of months of dialogue between U.N. member states and the Chinese government.
     
    The Universal Periodic Review is a U.N. mechanism that examines the human rights record of member countries with the help of other member states and independent groups.
     
    The inquiry covers a wide range of issues. In its response to the report on its own human rights record, Beijing accepted 204 of their recommendations, on issues ranging from poverty alleviation to a stronger welfare system.
     
    But on other issues, such as China’s policies in Tibet, judicial reform and treatment of political opposition, authorities rejected the recommendations.
     
    “At the U.N. Human Rights Council, some countries ignored the great progress made by China on human rights, and willfully criticized,” said Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry. “This is the politicization of human rights and a double standard.”
     
    China rejected the report’s advice on 48 points, either dismissing the relevancy of the issues raised, or claiming that it is already implementing laws to better protect its citizens' rights.
     
    Ye Shiwei of the advocacy group Human Rights in China said the recent crackdown on human rights defenders in China belies the government's reassurances to the United Nations.
     
    “We really need to ask China, if they are already doing that, then why are there so many people in the New Citizens Movement and in other human rights communities in China, and of course Cao Shunli herself, why did she die?” said Ye.
     
    Cao Shunli was an activist who had been staging peaceful sit-ins to press Chinese authorities to allow independent groups to participate in the U.N.’s review. In September, she was arrested by police at the airport before she could participate in meetings in Geneva. Authorities later said she died while in custody.
     
    A group of human rights experts at the U.N., as well as some countries involved in the review, urged the Chinese government to investigate Cao's death. They say it is unacceptable that activists pay the ultimate price for interacting with the United Nations on human rights.
     
    In recent months, China has put on trial members of the New Citizens movement, a loosely organized group that advocates for anti-discrimination policies and political accountability.  
     
    Human Rights in China's Ye said that Cao's treatment, and the intense crack down on political dissent, has heavily weighed on the review.
     
    “In 2009, at the review, only two countries have raised the issue of protecting civil society [in China], whereas in 2013, at least 13 countries have raised it,” said Ye.
     
    Through the Universal Periodic Review, several countries urged China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which includes protecting freedom of speech and association and guaranteeing a fair trial.
     
    China said it is adjusting its legal system in ways that will address some of these issues, but it has not set a timetable for formally implementing the international treaty.
     
    Michael Davis, a professor of law at Hong Kong University, is skeptical that China is truly interested in judicial reforms.
     
    “To live up to international standards under the ICCPR would require a free society, a free press, freedom of the internet. Are they going to do that? One has to be doubtful: there has been no sign because that would be very serious political reform,” said Davis.
     
    Instead of promoting political reform, Davis said, China might decide to ratify the covenant and then face international criticism for falling short of its requirements.
     
    “The Chinese approach to all of this is that nobody else has a right to tell it what it do, but that it has an obligation under human rights commitment to try to reform itself and then it takes the view that what it already does for the most part is consistent with human rights. Even though nobody agrees with that,” said Davis.
     
    In response to criticism of its policies on ethnic and religious minorities, China said the government guarantees the protection of all the basic rights of minorities.
     
    In Tibet, more than 130 people have self-immolated since 2009 in protest of China's heavy policing of the region and oppression of religious rights.
     
    All but one of the U.N. Review’s recommendations on Tibet were rejected by China, which only agreed to facilitate visits to Tibet by senior U.N. officials.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Wangchuk from: NY
    March 26, 2014 10:10 AM
    The CCP denies it violates human rights in China, Tibet & East Turkestan but won't allow independent investigations into human rights by anyone, not even the UN. The CCP says come see for yourself but when people try, the CCP bars them entry or puts up roadblocks to their investigations. This is China credibility gap. It's unable to prove any of its claims about human rights.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.