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Concerns Rise Over China’s Stand at United Nations Human Rights Council

China has passed human rights reviews twice before this one, while more than 120 countries Beijing's human rights record during the most recent process.

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The 22nd session of the U.N. Human Rights Council meets in Geneva on Feb. 25, 2013. RFA

Rights activists are increasingly worried that Beijing’s influence operations are having a negative impact on the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which concludes its 40th session on Friday.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) China director Sophie Richardson warned in an article this week that China is seeking to undermine the mission of the U.N. Human Rights Council from within.

She also cited HRW research in 2017 which reported threats and harassment of U.N. staff involved in human rights evaluation by Chinese officials.

“As we head towards the final phase of [China’s U.N. human rights review], ask yourself: What other government threatens #humanrights treaty body experts?” Richardson tweeted on Thursday.

“As an [Human Rights Council] member #China is expected to uphold highest standards,” she wrote in another tweet, referencing a report in The New York Times. “Instead it tells people that merely attending an event is a ‘hostile act.'”

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During the recent round, the Chinese government said it accepted most of the 346 human rights recommendations put forward by the council. VOA

According to HRW’s 2017 article based on a 97-page report: “Chinese officials have at times harassed and intimidated U.N. staff, experts on treaty bodies, and independent experts focusing on specific human rights issues.”

The 2014 death in detention of activist Cao Shunli, who was detained on her way to a U.N. human rights event in Geneva, also sent a “chilling” message to Chinese activists who may want to participate in the U.N. human rights process, the article said.

HRW isn’t the only human rights organization worried about Chinese influence at the U.N.

Renee Xia, who heads the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network, reported from a side-event of the Human Rights Council conference in Geneva this week that it was “standing room only.”

“Strong show of interest despite #China urging countries not to attend,” Xia tweeted.

“The strong attendance was more remarkable esp. after #China officials went to many countries’ diplomats at the U.N., Geneva, to threaten them with “serious consequences” if they attended the side events,” she wrote in another tweet.

“#Bullying at the UN must stop!” she wrote.

‘So many restrictions’

Wang Dan, a former leader of the 1989 student-led pro-democracy movement on Tiananmen Square, is also in Geneva this week.

“To tell you the truth, my feelings during my two days here are that China has huge influence at the U.N.,” Wang told RFA.

“For example, at one side-event, it wasn’t just the Chinese delegation who spoke against [criticisms of Beijing’s rights record], but other countries came to speak in support of China’s position,” he said.

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“Many of the countries participating in the Human Rights Council are actually the ones that are carrying out the most violations of human rights, Pixabay

Wang said tight controls over public speech also make it less likely that the ruling Chinese Communist Party will have to face criticism of human rights violations coming from within its own borders.

“There are a lot of people online in China, but they are under so many restrictions,” he said. “You can’t mention the Tiananmen Massacre. You can’t mention [late Nobel peace laureate and political prisoner] Liu Xiaobo. You can’t say this, you can’t say that.”

“I don’t think that’s how you define freedom … but then the Chinese point to the U.N. charter, which says that all member states must be respected,” he said.

‘Autocratic rule the default’

Veteran New York-based rights activist Liu Qing said the work of the council had become “unrecognizable” to him.

“Many of the countries participating in the Human Rights Council are actually the ones that are carrying out the most violations of human rights,” Liu told RFA.

“The only purpose of these countries in insinuating themselves into the Human Rights Council is to curb the positive role of the Human Rights Council and make autocratic rule the default setting on the international stage,” he said.

Amnesty International blogger Shao Jiang wrote in December 2018 that Beijing is reinterpreting universal human rights as merely the right to survival, freedom to access food, and regards other definitions of human rights as secondary to trade and economic development.

“The Chinese government has appointed government officials as independent experts into the UN’s Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, and the U.N. treaty bodies,” Shao said.

China has passed human rights reviews twice before this one, while more than 120 countries Beijing’s human rights record during the most recent process.

During the recent round, the Chinese government said it accepted most of the 346 human rights recommendations put forward by the council.

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The United Nations now reports annually on government reprisals against human rights defenders participating in U.N. human rights efforts, Richardson wrote in an article in The Hill last December.

“China has topped the list of offenders in every report issued,” she said. (RFA)

Next Story

“China to Lead World in 5G Scale”, Says Qualcomm President

As the mobile ecosystem follows the relationship and the expansion of the Chinese economy through all those different countries, it is likely to be very competitive in the transition to 5G

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5G touches many industries, not only cellphones, but also smart cities, automobiles, healthcare and other sectors. It is now being understood by governments worldwide that 5G is very important and no country including China will benefit from being late to 5G. Pixabay

China will lead the world in the 5G scale and Qualcomm expects to increase business with China in the 5G transition, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon has said.

“China is likely going to have the largest 5G rollout and network,” Amon said on the sidelines of Qualcomm’s annual Snapdragon Tech Summit held this week in Maui, Hawaii.

“The scale in China’s deployment plans makes 5G ubiquitous with nationwide coverage as fast as possible.

“In terms of taking the importance of 5G as the future of Internet, I think China is doing the right thing with an accelerated rollout of this technology,” Amon said, Xinhua news agency has reported.

In June, China granted commercial-use 5G licenses to the country’s top three telecom operators — China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom — as well as China Broadcasting Network. Many Chinese tech companies unveiled their 5G smartphones.

According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, 5G technology is expected to create more than 8 million jobs by 2030.

“I believe China understood since the very beginning that 5G will be the essential infrastructure to connect to the Internet. And the numbers that the three operators had made public are incredible,” Amon said.

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China will lead the world in the 5G scale and Qualcomm expects to increase business with China in the 5G transition, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon has said. Pixabay

“If Chinese operators execute their plans, we will see 1 million 5G base stations by the end of 2020. And that is going to build the infrastructure that will not only connect billions of smartphones, but will also multiple billions of other smart devices and industries that will benefit from 5G,” he said.

In his opinion, China regards 5G as fundamental infrastructure for the society, which gives the country the advantage on the scale and the commitment to its deployment.

5G touches many industries, not only cellphones, but also smart cities, automobiles, healthcare and other sectors. It is now being understood by governments worldwide that 5G is very important and no country will benefit from being late to 5G, Amon said.

Unlike the deployment of 3G and 4G networks when China was behind other key markets, the country is now in the forefront of 5G transition with other leading economies, Amon said.

“I believe that is a sign of the maturity of the Chinese economy today,” he noted.

Optimistic about the progress of the Chinese mobile ecosystem, Amon noted that it is very consistent with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“As the mobile ecosystem follows the relationship and the expansion of the Chinese economy through all those different countries, it is likely to be very competitive in the transition to 5G,” Amon said.

He cited the examples of Chinese tech companies such as Xiaomi, OPPO and OnePlus. Phones of Xiaomi are now in the portfolio of virtually every operator in Europe, while OnePlus is growing in the US, which is traditionally a very difficult market.

“We have now two vibrant companies of China’s ecosystem in the US market, one is OnePlus and the other one is Motorola-Lenovo, with the new Razor being a great innovation in the market,” he said.

China’s mobile ecosystem will take the opportunity of the 5G transition to grow outside the country and establish a very strong position in the markets such as Southeast Asia, Latin America, Eastern and Western Europe and the US, Amon said.

Saying that he is “super excited” about Qualcomm’s business in China, Amon applauded the win-win cooperation between Qualcomm and its Chinese partners, such as Xiaomi, OPPO, OnePlus, Vivo and Motorola.

Amon called the cooperation an example of successful relationship between the two countries, adding that it allows Chinese partners to not only grow in domestic consumption, but also expand outside China with the BRI.

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According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, 5G technology is expected to create more than 8 million jobs by 2030. Wikimedia Commons

“We are not backing down on our China cooperation. We’re increasing our cooperation in resources towards or partnerships in China in the 5G transition,” he said.

According to Amon, despite the current China-US trade frictions, Qualcomm’s business with China is increasing, rather than decreasing. “I expect that to continue in 2020 and 2021 as we go to this 5G transition,” he said.

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At the summit, Qualcomm unveiled two new 5G Snapdragon mobile platforms — Snapdragon 865 and 765/765G. It also announced the world’s first 5G-supported extended reality platform, modular 5G mobile platforms and new 3D sonic fingerprint technology.

Defining the role of Qualcomm as an enabler of mobile ecosystem and partnerships, Amon said that 5G has unlocked an era of the “Invention Age.” (IANS)