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Hello, this is Michelle. China’s firm opposition to having the UN meddle with its human rights issue became apparent last year as it sought to quash a damning report on its mass detention policies in Xinjiang.

An NGO report shows that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Beijing’s influence on the UN’s human rights system in Geneva is growing and it comes in different forms.

photo journaliste

Michelle Langrand


China masquerading members at UN rights committees

Photo article

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres with Chinese president Xi Jinping during an official visit to Geneva on 18 January 2017. (UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré)

An NGO analysis sheds light on China’s “systematic” attempts to undermine the independence of UN human rights committees. The Geneva-based bodies are responsible for overseeing that states abide by the rights treaties they have signed up to.

The report, released on Wednesday by the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), details how China has been seeking to get Chinese former government officials elected to the human rights bodies that are “favourable” towards it. It also exposes how the leading power has been blocking participation of rights activists, even going as far as pressuring UN office staff to not publish the reports they have submitted to stifle criticism.

“The incidents recounted, while qualitative in nature, provide compelling evidence of China’s ability to effectively and unrelentingly restrict civil society engagement with [UN treaty bodies] in the context of specific reviews, and deter independent sources from speaking up,” the report states.

The report adds to growing suspicion of Beijing’s sway over the UN human rights office, after it led a successful campaign last year to delay for months the publication of a report concluding that mass detention of Uyghurs and other religious minorities in Xinjiang could amount to crimes against humanity.

Read the full story on Geneva Solutions (EN)

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