Universal Periodic Review – China’s skewed vision of human rights

12/02/2009
Communiqué

Paris – Geneva - New York, 12 February 2009 - The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organization, Human Rights in China (HRIC) strongly condemn today the rejection of People’s Republic of China of all major recommendations, formulated during the Universal Periodic Review.

On the occasion of the adoption by the Human Rights Council of the draft report, China has totally rejected all the important recommendations relative to the application of the death penalty, the situation in the autonomous region of Tibet, the harassment and detention of Human Rights Defenders, and the restrictions to the freedom of expression as well as the abolition of the system "re-education through labour" under the justification that are "not in accordance with national realities".

China had already rejected on Monday during the interactive dialogue with the Human Rights Council as "political propaganda" any comments regarding the situation in Tibet or Human Rights Defenders. Making use of their classic argument on cultural relativism regarding universal human rights standards, the Chinese authorities made, once again, clear that human rights in China are not universal. Series of major recommendations made by countries concerning a large number of human rights issues did not find echo, during a process where Burma, Sudan and the Islamic Republic of Iran praised China’s human rights record as an exemplary and took the opportunity to criticize China’s critics as "politicizing the process".

Beyond the sensitive questions of the abolition of death penalty or the restrictions to freedom of expression, -as the Chinese delegate declared : "the restrictions on journalists reporting on sensitive cases come not from the government but from the stakeholders ;- China has refused to cooperate concretely with the UN special mechanisms and Procedures.

FIDH and HRIC reject unequivocally Chinese claims about the real situation of human rights in the country and call China to re-consider its position and endorse crucial recommendations, regarding in particular legislation on state secrets, freedom of lawyers, minorities rights and ensure respect of political and civil rights for all Chinese citizens. Our Organizations express their deep disappointment on the outcome of a process which was indeed politicized by China’s allies in order to avoid any criticism regarding the serious violations of human rights.

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