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China’s human rights record could face more embarrassment

EuropeN paper, Chinese Diplomacy triumphed.last october United Nationsthe Human Rights Council (Human Resources Committee) voted 19-17 to debate a long-delayed report concluding that China’s mistreatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang may have committed “crimes against humanity.”The Chinese delegation expended extraordinary energy to persuade Human Resources Committee Members voted against the resolution, which only sparked hours of discussion in the council.

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China is determined to avoid what it sees as a disgrace. President Xi Jinping himself is said to have called several presidents to ensure their representatives in Geneva vote the Chinese way. One Western diplomat said his chief representative in the city “was effectively camped out at the door of the swinging Mexican ambassador’s residence” to harass him on voting day. Sure enough, Mexico abstained, along with Brazil and India.

But it’s not over yet. Western diplomats and human rights activists argue (optimistically) that China’s failure to succeed in other international forums portends its waning influence in the human rights arena.intimacy Human Resources Committee A veteran rights monitor said the vote was “a huge step forward”. “This is the first time in history that China has been directly targeted Human Resources Committee

Monitor Human Rights Watch has tracked a gradual increase in the number of countries willing to name China Human Resources Committee And in other forums, “country-specific” criticism is routinely met with pushback, especially as many countries worry that their own records could come into the spotlight if naming and shaming become the norm. Only a dozen countries signed a letter written by the U.S. ambassador in 2016 Human Resources CommitteePresident, complaining about human rights violations in China. Similar statement from German leadership in 2020 United Nations There were 39 signatories when the conference started; last year there were 50. It’s not a huge number, but a clear trend.

this Human Resources Committee is a strange body. No one is going to pretend that its 47 member states, including Cuba, Eritrea, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, as well as China, were chosen because of their impeccable record. Members are elected among the five regional groups based on a pre-determined list for a three-year term (ie, if there are five vacancies, there are only five candidates). A few years ago, Somalia got more votes than Denmark.

Even in this troubled company, China has been losing ground. When it was elected in 2016, it won the most votes in its group. When it was re-elected in 2020, it won the least. Once back on council, it works to ensure its preferred candidate becomes president. But it failed to prevent a Fijian, who genuinely believed in promoting human rights, from being elected instead.

China finds it harder to win leadership positions globally United Nationsof many institutions.A recent report by the Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, said China’s efforts “whether in terms of funding, staffing, voting adjustments or drafting United Nations Language, often yields different results. A Singaporean handily beat a Chinese candidate to become president of the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2020. A few months earlier, an American woman had beaten a Chinese-backed Russian to become president of the International Telecommunication Union.

Both China and Russia aim to redefine the terms of human rights, shifting them from individual liberties to emphasizing social and economic progress. On the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December, they preached an abandonment of the Western-led liberal consensus that had more or less prevailed since the end of World War II.

They are all keen to prevent a controversial United Nations Convention on Crimes against Humanity, which is technically binding. But a group of countries led by Bangladesh, Gambia and Mexico angered China and Russia late last year by paving the way for a coalition in a council. United Nations— and an unstoppable wave of support at the convention.a recent article foreign policy The magazine concluded from China’s perspective: “Moscow and Beijing are beaten. They know it.

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