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China, Russia, other human rights abusers elected to U.N. Human Rights Council

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China, Russia, Cuba, and Pakistan, all of whom have highly questionable track records on human rights, were appointed to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday afternoon.

Breaking down the votes, China received 72%, Cuba 88%, Russia 82%, and Pakistan 87.5%. Saudi Arabia’s bid, on the other hand, failed to gain enough support, only getting 46%.

Each year, several countries are elected to the governing board of the U.N. Human Rights Council for three-year terms.

The council’s mission is to promote and protect human rights around the globe as well as to address any rights violations and recommend actions for them. It has long been criticized for failing to properly address human rights abuses and for giving membership to undemocratic countries who routinely violate these rights.

China has been run by an authoritarian, one-party regime since 1949. Information and free speech are severely regulated there. In recent years, aside from violating the human rights of Hong Kongers and suppressing their democracy, China has imprisoned at least a million ethnic Uighur Muslims in what have been described as “concentration camps” and it has alleged that China has carried out forced sterilizations of Uighur women and the mass harvesting of their organs.

There was a hope after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 that Russia would become a prosperous liberal democracy like many Western nations. Vladimir Putin, however, has dragged the country’s back to shadows of authoritarianism since taking power on New Year’s Eve in 1999, getting rid of free speech and assembly among other abuses.

Cuba has been run by a communist dictatorship since 1959. This regime has consistently violated the human rights of its citizens, forcing many Cubans to flee to the United States over the decades.

Like many of these other countries, Pakistan suppresses freedom of speech. Another major issue is that Pakistan has failed to prevent violence against women and those who perpetrate it. Additionally, the country’s blasphemy laws heavily discriminate against religious minorities.

Beside these nations, the others who were elected to the Human Rights Council today include France, the United Kingdom, Bolivia, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Senegal, Ukraine, Gabon, and Uzbekistan.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world

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China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.

Key findings of the report are below.

“Persuaded to return”

According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.

Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.

The Nine Forbidden Countries

China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.

Conclusion

According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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