Opinion: “China Acting Contrary to Its Role in UNHRC”
The United Nations General Assembly recently re-elected members of the Human Rights Council. China, which has a notorious human rights record was also re-elected into the Council. Issues of human rights persecution in China such as oppression of religious freedom in Tibet, Uyghur concentration camps in Xinjiang, the prohibition of local language in Inner Mongolia, and implementation of the “National Security Law” in Hong Kong have triggered discussions on crimes against humanity in the UN General Assembly.
The human rights situation in China has been a focus of debate among democratic countries in international organizations including the UNHRC. There are increasing calls for China to stop human rights violations against Muslims in Xinjiang. Last October, Germany issued a statement at the United Nations on behalf of 39 countries showing concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the latest developments in Hong Kong after the implementation of the new version of the National Security Law. The statement was opposed by Pakistan and Cuba, the other bad actors of human rights and dubbed Germany’s statement as an interference in China’s internal affairs and expressed support for China’s Xinjiang policy.
An important feature of the United Nations Human Rights Council is to ensure a fair assessment of the human rights situation in each country and try to resolve human rights violations that occur anywhere. The ultimate goal is to improve the human rights situation in all countries. The re-election of China, which is notorious for its human rights situation, runs counter to the Council’s goal of promoting and improving human rights. It will be difficult to achieve fair and just expectations when the United Nations Human Rights Council meets next time to consider human rights cases in China. In the past, when human rights groups have questioned China’s persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang at the Human Rights Council, Chinese representatives not only hindered these questions by manipulating council rules, but also thumped the tables to show their aggressive protest. China’s arrogant show was apparent in these actions.
In recent years, China has taken advantage of its economic strength and the support of the “Belt and Road” and the “Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank” to buy off many weak and small countries. If some smaller nations do not support China, they receive threats of discontinuation of economic incentives.
China has placed personnel in international organizations such as the United Nations Human Rights Council, the World Health Organization, and the International Civil Aviation Organization, and its manipulation of deliberations on relevant resolutions or personnel arrangements within these organizations have been rampant.
In 2018, the election of some countries with poor human rights record as member of the United Nations Human Rights Council aroused dissatisfaction among many countries, as a result the United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council. In May this year, President Trump dissatisfied with China’s hiding of the Wuhan epidemic, criticized the “World Health Organization” as a “Chinese puppet”, announcing that he would withdraw from the World Health Organization and suspend funding to the World Health Organization, highlighting the seriousness of China’s manipulation of international organizations.
The election as a member of the “United Nations Human Rights Council” once again demonstrates China’s arrogance and the decline of the “United Nations Human Rights Council”, becoming a “Chinese puppet” following in the footsteps of “World Health Organization”. Although U.S. President Trump announced his withdrawal from some of these international organizations, the U.S. withdrawal will not prevent China from bullying on the international stage. On the contrary, it will reduce the resistance to China’s hegemony. Hence, democracies such as the US, the UK, Germany, India, Japan and Australia should push for reforms of UN and its affiliated bodies to stop China and other bad actors such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Iran from acting contrary to the basic principles and roles of these international organizations. The Biden administration must have a well strategized plan of reforming the UN Human Rights Council when considering rejoining it.