UN members need to watch out for Beijing’s abuse of power in the world body’s systems, after a Chinese official was appointed last week to a panel on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday
Jiang Duan (蔣端), who holds the rank of minister at the Chinese mission in Geneva, Switzerland, was appointed to the council’s Consultative Group as a representative for Asia-Pacific states for a one-year term through March 31 next year.
It is ironic that the Chinese government, with its egregious record on human rights issues, can be admitted into the consultative group to help monitor the human rights conditions in other countries, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement.
The appointment reflects China’s control over UN systems, which deserves the vigilance of all governments, she said.
Beijing’s efforts to expand its influence over the UN system and promote a human rights agenda with “Chinese features,” such as prioritizing development projects, have alarmed democracies and the global community, she said.
China is not qualified to play a leading role in human rights issues, given that many groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Freedom House, have raised concerns about Beijing’s violation of human rights, she said.
The representatives of 22 nations in July last year sent a joint letter to the UNHRC calling on Beijing to stop persecuting Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, Ou said.
The ministry called on all UN member states and the global community to closely monitor Beijing’s actions in the UNHRC to prevent it from abusing power or using its position to cover up its rights atrocities, Ou added.
On Thursday, Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based non-governmental organization UN Watch, said Jiang’s appointment was “absurd and immoral.”
“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,” Neuer said.
US Representative Chris Smith, a senior member of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs and co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, on Sunday also condemned the appointment.
The Chinese government’s record on human rights includes the systematic abuse of religious and ethnic minorities, including Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur and Kazakh Muslims, Falun Gong and “underground” Christians, Smith said.
“There is no justification whatsoever in empowering a Chinese government official, Jiang Duan, to investigate human rights abuses until there is a reckoning with regard to China’s own record,” he said.
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