Last week, the Chinese government was elected to the UN’s Human Rights Council – a body which is made of 47 member nations – whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world. Other luminaries in this “prestigious” group include Venezuela, Pakistan and Angola. It is an egregious insult to nations with better human rights records and is yet more evidence of how the UNHRC is beyond unfit for purpose.
What was one of China’s first acts as a member of the council? It was to, without a hint of irony, lambast the USA’s record on human rights along with nations such as Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea. The fact that nations that actively restrict religious and political freedoms can stand up on a platform and freely attack the leader of the free world over its human rights record is quite simply a bad joke and indicative of the malaise within the UNHRC and other multinational organisations.
Let’s focus on China. There were a series of declarations in its “review” of the US’ rights record – most of which are spectacularly hypocritical and egregious in their accusation of others. There are several that I want to highlight.
Firstly, the Chinese government has called on the US government to “address widespread police brutality”. This is not just inaccurate – while problems still remain within the US police, it is by no means widespread brutality – it is also highly offensive for the Chinese government to lecture others on police brutality. You only need to look at the recent example of how China has trampled the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as a clear indicator of the difference between the USA and China, and which country respects human rights and which truly experiences police brutality. Not only does China actively repress its citizens who wish to carry out peaceful protest, it is also in clear breach of the Sino-British Agreement. Indeed, the UK government has now started the process of looking at their legal options for sanctioning the Chinese regime for their breach of the Agreement by extending their lack of civil rights and liberties to Hong Kong.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the Chinese government suggested in their “review” that the US must “root out systemic racism” and “combat the increasingly severe religious intolerance and xenophobic parties”. This is a shocking accusation to come from China’s ruling party – the USA continues to have problems with racism, as most countries do – but the situation in China is infinitely worse. China is carrying what amounts to systematic religious and ethnic cleansing of the Uighur population in the North of the county. This ongoing genocide of the Uighur population and other Muslim minorities is being carried out in “re-education” camps, where it is believed that China has incarcerated over one million people. Muslims are not the only religious group that China persecutes, Christians are also oppressed by the regime and so are Buddhists. China continues to attack these religions as they provide an alternative to only living for the Chinese Communist State.
Of course, China’s position and the decision to ignore its and other nation’s rights abuses is not a great surprise. For a number of years there have been a great number of our supranational bodies turning a blind eye to moral issues that simply should not be and cannot be ignored. Indeed, in some circumstances, like allowing China of all nations to attack the USA’s record on human rights, they take an active stance.
The UNHRC has another specific blindspot – its record on Israel. The UNHRC has published more reports condemning Israel than any other country in the world – never mind the fact that Israel is one of the most tolerant nations and is a democracy beset by terrorism. Since its foundation, the Human Rights Council has adopted 135 country-specific resolutions; 68 of which are against Israel.
Just ask yourself, why is Israel a permanent fixture on the agenda at the UNHRC while there are bloody civil wars, brutal suppression of protests and genocides going on? When the only Jewish majority nation, Israel, is held to a different standard to that of every other nation, you must wonder why. For me, the only answer is anti-Semitism.