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 Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More