The UN top rights envoy told Beijing yesterday she expected more progress on human rights in China, saying individual countries could not ignore international standards in dealing with the issue.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour expressed concern about the possible use of the death penalty against ethnic minorities and the mentally ill, saying data from other countries showed they often were executed in disproportionately large numbers.
Arbour also said she expressed her concern over China's execution of people for offenses "that do not meet the international standard of `most serious crimes.'"
China executes thousands of prisoners every year for crimes ranging from murder to nonviolent offenses such as tax evasion.
"There is a framework of international standards that must be respected. It's not appropriate to say we're doing it in our own way," she told a briefing as she ended a five-day visit.
Her remarks came just days after Tang Jiaxuan (唐家璇), a state councilor and former foreign minister, told a symposium attended by Arbour that every country should be allowed to adopt its own approach to dealing with human rights.
"Every country should choose its own way to promote and protect human rights in line with its national conditions," Tang said on Tuesday.
Arbour, in China on her first visit as UN high commissioner, told yesterday's briefing she expected progress on rights in China in the coming years given the country's development in other areas.
"During my discussions with Chinese officials it was often said to me that change had to be gradual," she said.
"While I do not disagree, I believe the stage is set for expecting more than modest progress in the coming years," she said.
"China has declared its commitment to human rights and has raised expectations for the country to match its growing prosperity with a firm commitment to advancing human rights, at home and abroad," she said.
She said her visit had shown that China is "seriously" approaching the issue of ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Officials had told her China wants to use the time before ratification to bring legislation and practice in line with the covenant's requirements so that the treaty can be ratified with as few reservations as possible, she said.
"If China were to ratify the covenant today, certainly on the basis of my discussions here, it's pretty clear that the government understands that it would be in non-compliance in many areas," she said.
At the start of her visit, she raised about 10 individual cases of particular concern to the UN, including cases of detained journalists, labor activists, two Tibetans, a member of the Uighur minority group and an ethnic Mongolian.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
UPTICK IN NUMBERS: The Taipei deputy mayor said the city has services to assist new immigrants, but has established an office specifically to help those from Hong Kong The Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office today officially opens, where it is to provide humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers, after Beijing yesterday passed a controversial national security law for the territory. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed dismay over China’s passage of the law, saying that Beijing has broken its pledge to allow Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years following its handover from the UK. “I feel extremely disappointed [about the law’s passage], which means China did not keep its promise to Hong Kong,” Tsai said in Taipei. Beijing’s “broken promise” also
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly