Despite its myriad human rights abuses, China has been given a seat on a panel for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Jiang Duan, minister at the Chinese Mission in Geneva, was appointed to the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Consultative Group, representing the Asia-Pacific States. Other countries sitting on the panel are Chad, Spain, and Slovenia. By sitting on this panel, China will be able to hand-pick human rights investigators, and the move is leading many to cry foul.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization based in Geneva, slammed the decision. “Allowing China’s oppressive and inhumane regime to choose the world investigators on freedom of speech, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief,” he said. “It’s absurd and immoral for the UN to allow China’s oppressive government a key role in selecting officials who shape international human rights standards and report on violations worldwide.”
China is renowned for its human rights abuses, making this decision a mockery of the United Nations. “[A]t a time when China has forcibly disappeared citizens who express dissent like the executive Ren Zhiqiang, who called Xi a ‘clown’ over coronavirus response — as well as upwards of a 1 million Muslim Uyghur and minority group members — it is inconceivable that China would be allowed to influence the selection of the next member of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances,” Neuer said. “And how can China be involved in choosing the UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of freedom of opinion and expression, when the regime routinely imposes draconian censorship, and seeks to shut down dissenting voices?”
Population control in China, in which the United Nations Population Fund is believed to have been complicit, has been a driver for some of the country’s worst human rights abuses. Even after the notorious One Child Policy was allegedly “relaxed,” the reality is, not much changed. Women have been dragged off the streets and forced into abortions. “In those days, women were abducted by government officials, tied up and dragged to us like pigs,” one midwife said in an interview with the Atlantic. Baby girls are ripped away from their mother’s arms by state officials, and put into orphanages. The gender imbalances caused by these population control efforts has led to a huge surge in human trafficking. And China has the highest suicide rate of women in the world.
And as if this wasn’t all bad enough, China is currently actively committing genocide against Uighur Muslims.
It’s estimated that more than 1 million Uighurs are being held in concentration camps. Women in these camps face unspeakable horrors, including forced abortions, sexual violence, and gang rape. Survivors have reported having their heads shaved and being forced to live in one small room, with just a bucket for a toilet, and with cameras watching them at all times. Prisoners are forced to watch propaganda as a means of “re-education.” They also undergo various forms of torture — chairs made out of metal nails, fingernails pulled out, skin flaying, and electric shocks in a so-called “black room.” Others are victims of medical experimentation, and escapees have reported being sterilized against their will. One of the most shocking reports detailed how prisoners’ organs were removed from them to be used for organ donations — while the prisoners were still alive.
Human Rights Watch has called China one of the world’s greatest threats to human rights. For the United Nations to give China a seat on a council supposedly dedicated to preventing and fighting human rights abuses sends a clear signal that the rest of the world will continue to look the other way as China’s government continues to terrorize millions of innocent people.
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