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China Again Proven Unfit for UNHRC

CPFC’s Statement on China’s Human Rights UPR in Geneva

GENEVA– On October 22nd, the United Nations scrutinized China’s human rights record for three and a half hours at its quadrennial Universal Periodical Review (UPR) meeting in the Palace of Nations. Given an opportunity to demonstrate improvements to its atrocious view on human rights, China instead brazenly mounted a public relations campaign of exhaustive refutation and denial to silence its critics.

Citizen Power for China (CPFC, aka Initiatives for China) regrets the lies told by Ambassador Wu Hailong and ten other Chinese government officials in shamelessly claiming that China had improved their human rights situation in each and every field. Wu’s group, who spoke for seventy minutes, repeated their vicious attacks blaming his Holiness the Dalai Lama for Tibetans’ self-immolation, China’s failed policy in Tibet, and the alleged violence of the so-called Uighur separatists. China timidly hid from mentioning imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who remains in prison since 2008 for exercising his right to free speech, and tens of thousands other political prisoners in China.

CPFC commends the United States, Canada, Poland, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Belgium, Spain, France, Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and New Zealand for, despite being given only fifty one seconds each at the meeting, speaking out to criticize China’s human rights record and making constructive recommendations on improvement of freedom of expression, rule of law, treatment of human rights lawyers, civil society, policies for minority groups, abandonment of the re-education through labor camp (RTLC) system and ratification of the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights (ICCPR).

Despite these efforts, CPFC is disappointed that no government highlighted or made recommendations on any individual human rights case such as those of Liu Xiaobo, Wang Bingzhang, Gao Zhisheng, Xu Zhiyong,Guo Feixiong, Ding Jiaxi, Zhao Changqing, Dhondup Wangchen, Ghetret Niyaz, Hada and many others. However, we are particularly thankful that Canada opposed China’s imprisonment of political dissidents and specifically recommended China to release all political prisoners.

While regretful at the progress of the UPR meeting, CPFC acknowledges some positive signs, including China’s willingness to reform the RTLC system, expedition of the process of ratifying ICCPR, and realization of “the dream of human rights,”  as part of the “China Dream.”

Nevertheless, CPFC continues to seriously doubt China’s sincerity in improving human rights, not only because “the dream of human rights” contradicts the remarks made by Mr. Xi Jinping, but also because of the severe measures China took to silence criticism prior to its UPR when it detained Chinese activists Cao Shunli and Chen Jianfang at the Beijing airport as they were leaving China to attend a training program on the UPR held by the International Services for Human Rights. Both have been petitioning the Chinese government for the right to participate in drafting China’s UN human rights report. Cao Shunli has been missing since September 14, 2013, and her family does not know where she is held.

CPFC therefore strongly believes that China’s stubborn reactions against UPR scrutiny have once again proven that it is unfitting to join the UN Human Rights Council, and that it is nowhere near ready to accept an international leadership role on the UNHRC. Until China takes specific steps to improve human rights, CPFC will continue its effort to oppose China’s membership on the UNHRC. As of today, nearly 6000 people signed onto the petition opposing China’s membership on UNHRC with many of the petitioners residing inside China.

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