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China’s Human Rights Record Scrutinizes At Key UN Meeting

Eric Chan, Hong Kong’s chief secretary, praised the legislation

Human rights

Xi Jinping

China’s human rights record was scrutinized at a key United Nations meeting on Tuesday, with Western countries pressing for additional protections for Xinjiang Uyghurs and greater freedom in Hong Kong, while Beijing claimed unprecedented improvement.

The review at the United Nations in Geneva is the first since the global body’s top rights official issued a report in 2022 stating that the detention of Uyghurs and other Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province may be a crime against humanity.

Beijing rejects any wrongdoings.

In recent weeks, China has sent letters to envoys urging non-Western countries to praise its human rights record ahead of the meeting.

At the meeting, Ambassador Chen Xu stated, “We embarked on a path of human rights development that is in keeping with the trend of the times and appropriate to China’s national conditions and scored historic achievements in this process”.

There are 163 countries scheduled to speak at the Tuesday session, with each having 45 seconds to speak.

Many countries, including Ethiopia and Cameroon, applauded China’s human rights accomplishments. Western countries expressed reservations, including Germany, which underlined human rights violations in Xinjiang and Tibet, and Canada which urged China to remove a contentious Hong Kong national security law.

Eric Chan, Hong Kong’s chief secretary, praised the legislation.

“The days of social disturbance and fear are now over. Stability as well as law and order has been restored and our city is back on track”, Chan told the UN meeting.

Sarah Brooks of Amnesty International warned that the meeting might serve as a ‘fig leaf’ for China and other countries seeking closer ties with Beijing.

Tibetan, Uyghur, and Hong Kong activists, as well as Chinese dissidents, plan to stage a protest outside the United Nations headquarters later on Tuesday.

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