POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE:
The appointment of a top Chinese diplomat for the Council Consultative Group reflects China’s efforts to expand its influence on the UN system, MOFA said
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
UN members need to be careful about the abuse of Beijing’s power in the world body system, after a Chinese official was appointed last week at a panel at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday
Jiang Duan (蔣 端), who holds a ministerial position at the Chinese mission in Geneva, Switzerland, was appointed to the council Consultative Group as a representative for Asia-Pacific countries for a one-year term until March 31 next year.
It is ironic that the Chinese government, with its dire record on human rights issues, can be included in a consultative group to help monitor human rights conditions in other countries, ministry spokesman Joanne Ou (歐 江 安) said in a statement.
The appointment reflects China’s control of the UN system, which deserves the vigilance of all governments, he said.
Beijing’s efforts to expand its influence on the UN system and promote a human rights agenda with “Chinese features,” such as prioritizing development projects, have worried democracy and the global community, he 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 human rights violations in Beijing, he said.
Representatives from 22 countries in July last year sent a joint letter to 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 monitor Beijing’s actions at the UNHRC to prevent it from abusing power or using its position to cover up the atrocities of its rights, Ou added.
On Thursday, Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based non-governmental organization, UN Watch, said Jiang’s appointment was “unreasonable and immoral.”
“Allowing Chinese oppressive and inhumane regimes to elect world investigators about freedom of speech, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances such as making pyromaniac the head of the city’s fire brigade,” Neuer said.
US Representative Chris Smith, a senior member of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and deputy chairman of the Human Rights Commission Tom Lantos, on Sunday also condemned the appointment.
The Chinese government’s record of human rights includes the systematic abuse of religion and ethnic minorities, including Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur and Kazakh Muslims, Falun Gong and “underground” Christians, Smith said.
“There is no justification whatsoever in empowering Chinese government officials, Jiang Duan, to investigate human rights violations until there are calculations relating to China’s own record,” he said.
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