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HRW Says China Seeks to Silence Critics


FILE - Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth.

China is carrying out a campaign of harassment against those who question its human rights record, even extending its reach to the United Nations, according to Human Rights Watch.

In a 96-page report "The Costs of International Advocacy: China's Interference in United Nations Mechanism," the international watchdog details China's efforts to harass and intimidate independent activists, based on dozens of interviews.

The New York Times quotes a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, as saying the reports' accusations are "groundless." He called on the group to remove 'its tinted lenses’ and objectively and justly view China's human rights development.

"I think it is widely known that China is going through the most intense period of repression at home since the crackdown on the Tiananmen square democracy movement more than 25 years ago," Kenneth Roth, the group's executive director, told VOA. "But what is not broadly appreciated is how much that attack on human rights monitoring and human rights criticism has extended abroad, particularly to the United Nations"

FILE - Chinese officials answer questions about a law regulating overseas non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 28, 2016.
FILE - Chinese officials answer questions about a law regulating overseas non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 28, 2016.

Roth said China is trying to undermine the U.N. human rights system, noting Chinese president Xi Jinping's visit to Geneva in January when 300 staff were sent home and NGOs were not allowed to be present.

"It was as if the [United Nations] was complicit in Xi Jinping's insatiable desire for public acclaim and his antipathy to any public criticism," Roth said.

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