Sat, Sep 15, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Chinese government, academics tout Beijing’s human rights record at UN


Pro-Beijing academics brought together by the Chinese government have briskly defended the country’s human rights record as criticism grows over the mass internment of ethnic minority Muslim Uighurs in China’s far west.

Chinese officials for the first time on Thursday hosted journalists to meet with the academics on the sidelines of a UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.

China has faced mounting criticism over a massive security clampdown targeting Uighurs native to China’s Xinjiang region. New UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet this week said monitors should be allowed into the region, and calls have been made in the US Congress for sanctions on some Chinese officials.

Li Xiaojun (李曉軍), director of publicity at the Chinese State Council Information Office, touted Beijing’s record, berated alleged failures in the West to counter violence by Islamic extremists and denied any injustices against Uighurs.

“It’s not mistreatment, and it’s the correct thing to do for the Chinese government,” he said. “Maybe it’s the necessary way to deal with Islamic or religious extremism, because the West has failed in doing so.”

“Look at Belgium, look at Paris, look at some other European countries,” Li added. “These countries did not deal with religious extremism very well ... actually they are doing that very bad.”

He said his government is placing some people in training centers, insisting they are different from detention centers.

“China wants to seriously to deal with Islamic extremism. It wants to prevent that from spreading to the common people, to the common Muslims in Xinjiang,” Li said.

News organizations, including The Associated Press, have reported on new indoctrination camps in far western China, where detainees have had to disavow their Islamic beliefs, criticize themselves and their loved ones, and give thanks to the Communist Party.

The academics hailed the alleged effectiveness of China’s one-party state, or insist its approach to human rights is grounded in the fight against poverty and that efforts would proceed “step-by-step.”

Asked whether they had criticisms of the government’s human rights policies, none offered any.

“Unfortunately, my knowledge is very limited,” said Jingwen Zhu (朱景文), a professor of law at the Renmin University of China Law School, when asked about the Uighurs.

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