China seeks to silence critics at UN forums -rights body report
GENEVA – ReutersBeijing is waging a campaign of harassment against Chinese activists who seek to testify at the United Nations about repression, while the world body sometimes turns a blind eye or is even complicit, Human Rights Watch has said.
In a report released on Sept. 5, the group said China restricts travel of activists, or photographs or films them if they do come to the U.N. in Geneva to cooperate with human rights watchdogs scrutinizing its record.
“What we found is that China is systematically trying to undermine the U.N.’s ability to defend human rights, certainly in China but also globally as well,” Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.
“This comes at a point where domestically China’s repression is the worst it has been since the Tiananmen Square democracy movement (in 1989). So there is much to hide and China clearly attaches enormous importance to muting criticism of its increasingly abysmal human rights record.”
There was no immediate reply from the Chinese foreign ministry, contacted by Reuters a day ahead of publication.
The U.N. system offers one of the few remaining channels for Chinese activists to express their views, the New York-based group said.
Its report, “The Costs of International Advocacy: China’s Interference in United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms,” is based on 55 interviews.