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China at the UN: Shouting Down the Critics

March 15, 2016

In a statement to the Human Rights Council today, the Chinese Ambassador to the U.N., Fu Cong, accuses “certain Western countries” of pursuing a policy of “new interventionism . . . under the banner of human rights and humanitarianism.” He also warns the Council itself from being used as a tool to “openly politicize human rights issues,” lest it repeat “the same mistakes and failures of the Commission,” referring to its widely discredited predecessor, the Human Rights Commission.

The accusations followed urgent concerns raised at the Human Rights Council—by FIDH and HRIC in an NGO intervention today, and by 12 governments in a rare joint statement last week—over the human rights deterioration in China since 2015. The joint statement, delivered by Keith Harper, U.S. Ambassador to the HRC, was issued by the United States, Ireland, the U.K., Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. It highlighted the Chinese authorities’ arrests and detentions of rights activists, civil society leaders, and lawyers as actions “in contravention of China’s own laws and international commitments,” as well as their forced disappearances of individuals in Hong Kong and elsewhere in “extraterritorial actions.”

Last week, immediately following the 12-government joint statement, Ambassador Fu delivered a blistering attack on the U.S. for hypocrisy and double standards on human rights issues. He also denounced Japan for continuing to deny the historical responsibility of conscripting “comfort women” during the Second World War—without the slightest irony in light of the historical amnesia imposed by the Chinese regime about the Great Famine, the abuses of the Cultural Revolution, and the deaths of unarmed civilians resulting from the military crackdown in 1989.

“The Chinese government is pursuing a policy of obfuscation using the worn-out tactic of labeling and politicized accusations—instead of constructively engaging issues appropriately raised on international platforms and addressing the real problems at home,” said Sharon Hom, Executive Director of Human Rights in China. “In the face of this bullying, the international community needs to maintain a principled position of support for human rights and for China’s civil society that is under attack by its own government.”

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