Israel’s bizarre human rights accusations against China

The article below, originally published in Xinhua, discusses the bizarre phenomenon of Israel (during a regular periodic review conducted by the UN Human Rights Council) criticising China’s treatment of Muslims.

As the author points out, this criticism has been issued at a time when Israel is carrying out a genocidal assault on Gaza; when “Israeli bombardment and gunfire have killed more than 25,000 Palestinians and displaced millions, leaving the survivors desperately trying to access critical supplies, including food and medicine.”

The major imperialist powers have no problem echoing these unsubstantiated and entirely false accusations against China, and yet at the same time they refuse to condemn Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people; refuse to call for a ceasefire in Gaza; and claim that South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice is “without merit”.

All this proves once again that the Western powers have no interest whatsoever in human rights, other than to the extent that a human rights narrative can be leveraged in the pursuit of hegemony.

Western double standards – on bold display with unwavering support for Israeli atrocities in Gaza – illustrate no genuine concern for human rights. Instead, the West manipulates the topic to advance its geopolitical agenda.

During a regular periodic review conducted by the UN Human Rights Council, Israel criticized China’s treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang.

You read that right.

The accusation came from Israel that has been accused of killing innocent civilians and creating a humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

Since the latest stage of the conflict broke out on Oct. 7 in the Gaza Strip, Israeli bombardment and gunfire have killed more than 25,000 Palestinians and displaced millions, leaving the survivors desperately trying to access critical supplies, including food and medicine.

It continues to ignore the growing outcry from the Arab world and international community to end the devastation.

Despite the bloodshed, Israel has turned to lecturing others on how to safeguard human rights, and even on treatment of Muslims.

The bizarre accusations have nothing to do with human rights, but politics. Israel acted in collusion with its Western allies, which are plagued by double standards on human rights. Facing the atrocities in Gaza, the U.S.-led West has been reluctant to condemn Israel publicly. While visiting Israel earlier in the month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said South Africa’s genocide claim against Israel is without merit.

Pretty rich coming from a country guilty of committing human rights abuses across the globe.

In sharp contrast to its tolerance of Israel, the West continues to attack China’s efforts to protect human rights at home. The United States and its allies falsely claim that China is committing “genocide” in Xinjiang without producing a shred of evidence.

Call it the lie of the century.

In Xinjiang, the human rights of all ethnic groups are well-protected. For years, the region has allocated a large proportion of public spending to implement a series of projects to bolster employment, culture, education and healthcare. These investments guarantee that everyone equally shares in the region’s economic growth regardless of ethnicity or religious affiliation.

China’s efforts to protect human rights have won recognition across the world. Over 120 countries acknowledged China’s human rights endeavors during this year’s UN review.

Western double standards — on bold display with unwavering support for Israeli atrocities in Gaza — illustrate no genuine concern for human rights. Instead, the West manipulates the topic to advance its geo-political agenda.

Xinjiang is “a political issue provoked by the West, who wish to leave the people (in Xinjiang) in poverty and ignorance,” said Kamal Gaballa, an Egyptian columnist and a member of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs. “The West wishes to make Xinjiang a focal point of tensions and terrorism to impact the development of China.”

Gaballa is right, and the world must do more to call out these glaring double standards.

Whole Process People’s Democracy is a significant contribution to human rights

The 2023 China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights was held in the Italian capital Rome on September 20, with the theme, “Modernisation and the diversity of human rights among civilisations”.

Organised by the Human Rights Institute of the South West University of Political Science and Law (SWUPL) in Chongqing, China, and the Roma 9 China-Italy Economic and Cultural Exchange Centre, and hosted by the China Society for Human Rights Studies and the Faculty of Law at Sapienza University of Rome, it was attended by distinguished academics and prominent political and social activists from China, Italy, Austria, Britain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland.

In his paper, entitled ‘Whole Process People’s Democracy is a significant contribution to Human Rights’, our co-editor, Keith Bennett noted that:

“To frame international relations as being characterised by a supposed struggle between democracy and autocracy, and to stigmatise, sanction and even commit acts of war against other countries on such a basis, is itself the grossest violation of the most fundamental human rights of many millions of people and potentially of the majority of humanity.”

Drawing on The German Ideology, an 1846 work by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Keith noted that, “it is on the basis of this materialist Marxist principle that socialist countries like China, and many developing countries more generally, have placed such emphasis on the liberation and development of the productive forces. This has not been to negate or to violate human rights. On the contrary, it has been the prerequisite for their development and their guarantee.

“In this way, socialist countries, both historically and today, have paved, and are paving, the way for the elaboration of a human rights paradigm that is actually focused on people’s right and ability to manage the affairs of the state, economy and society as a whole.”

Xi Jinping’s concept of whole process people’s democracy, he explained, has its roots in Marxist theory, the historical experience of the Chinese revolution and in China’s fine traditional culture and civilisational experience.

According to this concept, politics, and therefore social relations, are not characterised by an adversarial division into contending and hostile camps, but rather by a search for consensus, harmony and inclusivity, whereby the achievement of the rights of all becomes the prerequisite for the achievement of the rights of one.

The necessary prerequisite, and material basis, to fully embody such inclusive and non-adversarial democracy is the establishment of a socialist system, where exploitation and oppression are no longer the defining characteristics of society, although they may persist to a certain extent in a primary phase of socialism.

In a situation characterised variously by frequent changes of prime ministers, unstable coalition governments, and the crisis and implosion of the traditional political party system, with once almost hegemonic political forces reduced to insignificance or even extinction, whilst new party formations prove to be nebulous and ephemeral, it surely behoves those of us in Europe to look without prejudice at alternative experiences and experiments and not least at China’s evolving whole process people’s democracy.

The full text of Keith’s paper is printed below.

We also reproduce a news report on the conference originally published by the Chinese newspaper, Global Times. Reporting the presentation made by Lord (Neil) Davidson, a member of the British House of Lords from the Labour Party and former minister, it notes his observation that certain sections in the UK’s political parties have been particularly vocal in their use of human rights criticisms to attack other states’ parties, adding:

“In the case of the UK, one does not require to be steeped in history to reflect that the history of the British Empire reveals case after case of the destruction of the human rights of peoples across the world.”

He noted that discussions on human rights with the objective of mutual understanding between countries can only serve to improve relations. Differing ideologies and differing cultures are a given in today’s world but an acceptance that mutual understanding makes for a safer world for all is hardly a controversial proposition.

Whole Process People’s Democracy is a significant contribution to human rights

Thank you very much for your invitation to participate in the 2023 China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights and for giving me an opportunity to say a few words.

Dialogue of this type is extremely relevant and timely. Human rights are the universal aspiration and entitlement of humanity. But each country and each people have to find their own way to realise them. No country can genuinely claim that its human rights situation is perfect. They remain a work in progress. To frame international relations as being characterised by a supposed struggle between democracy and autocracy, and to stigmatise, sanction and even commit acts of war against other countries on such a basis, is itself the grossest violation of the most fundamental human rights of many millions of people and potentially of the majority of humanity.

Continue reading Whole Process People’s Democracy is a significant contribution to human rights

The flaws in the “Assessment” report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on China

In this important article, originally carried on Counterpunch, Alfred de Zayas, a former long-term United Nations employee, dissects the recent report of the Office of the (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights on China’s Xinjiang region, which he believes, “should be discarded as propagandistic, biased, and methodologically flawed.” The report, he notes, was not mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, comes in response to pressures from Washington and Brussels, and forms part of their geopolitical hybrid war against China.

De Zayas draws a comparison with his own mission to Venezuela, prior to which he read all the relevant reports from the OHCHR, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. But when he fact-checked these on the ground, he saw a fundamentally different picture from that contained in reports by ideologues who had not been to Venezuela. 

The author therefore writes that, “the questions must be raised whether and to what extent the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council are operating in the service of Western interests, to what extent the human rights concerns of the rest of humanity are taken on board.”

On 31 August 2022, the last day of Michelle Bachelet’s 4-year tenure as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Office released a 46-page document, which I believe should be discarded as propagandistic, biased, and methodologically flawed.  This document, which was not mandated by the Human Rights Council and responds to pressures on OHCHR by Washington and Brussels, bears the superficially neutral title “ Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region”[1].

Already in June 2022, at the beginning of the 50th session of the Human Rights Council, China’s ambassador Chen Xu deplored the increase in “politicization” of the Council, reminding the members that “disinformation has become rampant, which seriously runs counter to the original purpose of the Human Rights Council.”

High Commissioner Bachelet did well in delaying publication of the Xinjiang “assessment” and returning to Chile before the unappetizing and destructive debates start during the forthcoming 51st session of the Council (12 September-7 October 2022).  Already the Chinese mission has rejected[2] the “assessment” as unprofessional and incompatible with the end-of-mission statement issued by Michelle Bachelet after her successful mission to China and Xinjiang in May 2022, a statement, which I consider balanced, detailed and constructive[3].  Alas, Bachelet’s statement after her well-prepared visit did not succeed in silencing the Washington and Brussels critics that have been systematically misrepresenting the situation in Xinjiang and misusing it for purposes of their geopolitical hybrid war against China.  Bachelet’s sedate statement was met by hostility, media mobbing and calls for her resignation.

Continue reading The flaws in the “Assessment” report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on China

Xi Jinping: Steadfastly following the Chinese path to promote further progress in human rights

We are very pleased to publish below the full text of Comrade Xi Jinping’s important speech on human rights. Comrade Xi delivered this speech to a group study session of the Communist Party of China’s Political Bureau, held on February 25 this year, which took as its theme the Chinese path of advancing human rights.

In his comprehensive exposition, the Chinese communist leader notes how the concept of respect and caring for others is deeply rooted in Chinese history and culture and that during the Western bourgeois revolution, Enlightenment thinkers advanced the concept of “natural rights”. Marx and Engels, he goes on to note, endorsed the historical value of such bourgeois theories, but “firmly refuted the theory’s denial of the social, historical, and class-based nature of human rights. ‘The individual,’ Marx pointed out, ‘is a social being.’… They envisioned that ‘In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.’”

Throughout its century of struggle, therefore, the CPC has always fought for the genuine human rights of the Chinese people. As a result, absolute poverty has been eliminated and a system of whole-process people’s democracy gradually developed, along with the world’s largest education, social security and health care systems. Human rights, Xi observes, “are not special privileges bestowed on some people or a small minority but universal rights to be enjoyed by all the people.” Moreover, “The advancement of human rights is a common undertaking of all humanity. In protecting human rights, all of us can always do better.”

In this context, he calls out the hypocrisy of the major capitalist countries, noting that, “Political polarization, wealth disparities, and racial tensions have all intensified, while racism, populism, and xenophobia have become rife, thus bringing human rights issues to the fore. Yet, these countries still use slogans like ‘universal human rights’ and ‘human rights over sovereignty’ as a pretext for forcing Western conceptions and systems of democracy and human rights on others and for meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. This has only served to cause recurrent military conflict, ongoing unrest, and the displacement of many from their homes in a number of countries.”

The speech was originally published in Chinese in issue 12 (2022) of Qiushi Journal, the CPC’s main theoretical organ. We reproduce it from issue 4 (2022) of Qiushi Journal’s English language edition.

Today, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee is holding its 37th group study session, the focus of which is the Chinese path of advancing human rights. The goals of this session are to review our country’s human rights achievements, both theoretical and practical, in the new era, assess the international struggle in the sphere of human rights, and maintain steadfast commitment to the Chinese path to promote further progress in human rights.

It is the pursuit of all societies to protect the life, value, and dignity of every person and ensure their entitlement to human rights. Chinese culture has always stressed the importance of respecting and caring for others. From Confucius who declared that “benevolence has been the greatest priority of governance since ancient times” to Mencius who said, “Finding talents for the country is what benevolence is all about,” to Xunzi who believed that people were “most valuable” and Mozi who called on us to “love others as we do ourselves regardless of social status or wealth”—each of these great thinkers stressed the intrinsic value of the person. Our forebears also put forward other similar axioms: “Of all things in the world, people are most precious”; “To accomplish great feats, one must put the people first”; “In the matters of governance, the people should come first.” During the Western bourgeois revolution, the thinkers of the Enlightenment put forward the concept of “natural rights,” which holds that all men are created equal and possess inalienable rights, a concept that helped propel forward revolutions in Britain, America, France and other countries.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels endorsed the historical value of the bourgeois theory of human rights, meanwhile they firmly refuted the theory’s denial of the social, historical, and class-based nature of human rights. “The individual,” Marx pointed out, “is a social being.” He also argued that “Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby.” Marx and Engels made the point that in a capitalist society “man has ceased to be the slave of men and has become the slave of things.” They envisioned that “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” 

Continue reading Xi Jinping: Steadfastly following the Chinese path to promote further progress in human rights

Statement condemning the OHCHR’s ‘Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China’

The following statement has been initiated by Friends of Socialist China. You can add your name as an individual signatory using Google Forms. Once you do so, your name will appear on this page within a few hours. Organizations wishing to add their signatures to this statement should contact us at

We strongly condemn the publication by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of its Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China. In the words of former OHCHR lawyer and human rights expert Alfred de Zayas, this document “should be discarded as propagandistic, biased, and methodologically flawed.”

Based on substandard research methods and biased sources, the Assessment is completely lacking in credibility. It treats arms of the military-industrial complex such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), along with professional anti-communists such as Adrian Zenz, as legitimate sources. Meanwhile the voices of Chinese NGOs, academics and individuals are suppressed, as are the numerous reports of diplomatic trips to Xinjiang – including by representatives of Muslim-majority countries – that have taken place in recent years.

The Assessment pointedly ignores China’s extraordinary progress in promoting the human rights of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang: in relation to poverty alleviation, social welfare, economic development, safety from terrorist attacks, and more. Instead, the document uses deliberately ambiguous language – that China’s actions “may” constitute crimes against humanity – in order to slander the People’s Republic of China whilst maintaining some plausible deniability.

It is highly suspicious that the Assessment makes no mention of then-UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s visit to Xinjiang in May 2022. Having visited a prison and spoken to former trainees at a vocational education and training center; having interacted with civil society organizations, academics, and community and religious leaders; Bachelet found no evidence of crimes against humanity. The numerous conversations she had do not form part of the data set for the Assessment.

What is the reason for the disparity between the OHCHR report and Bachelet’s end-of-mission statement? It is painfully obvious that the OHCHR has come under intense pressure from the US to bolster the credibility of the lurid slanders that have been thrown at China by Western politicians and journalists. Such propaganda forms part of the West’s imperial agenda of undermining China.

The OHCHR Assessment does a profound disservice to the cause of strengthening global human rights cooperation. The report does not enjoy a mandate from the General Assembly or the Human Rights Council, and it runs counter to the wishes and interests of the mainstream of the international community. A joint statement delivered by Cuba at the 50th session of the Human Rights Council in June this year stated its firm opposition to the “politicization of human rights and double standards, or interference in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights”. This statement was signed by 69 countries, the overwhelming majority from the Global South.

Given the OHCHR’s relative silence in relation to persistent human rights abuses by the imperialist powers, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Assessment is politically-motived, produced under pressure from the US, and designed to contribute to a dangerous, escalating New Cold War.

We call on the OHCHR to withdraw its Assessment, and we stand in solidarity with the people of China, subjected to abhorrent and baseless accusations.

Initial signatories (organizations)

Initial signatories (individuals)

  • Kojo Amoo Gottfried (former Ambassador of Ghana to the People’s Republic of China)
  • Roland Boer (Professor, Dalian University of Technology)
  • Ben Chacko (Editor, Morning Star)
  • Michael Dunford (Emeritus Professor, University of Sussex)
  • Raymond Ferguson (National Secretary, Australia-DPRK Friendship and Cultural Society)
  • John Foster (Emeritus Professor, University of the West of Scotland)
  • Robert Griffiths (General Secretary, Communist Party of Britain)
  • Kenneth Hammond (Professor, New Mexico State University)
  • David Laibman (Editor Emeritus, Science & Society)
  • Dee Knight (DSA International Committee member)
  • Doug Nicholls (General Secretary, General Federation of Trade Unions)
  • Dirk Nimmegeers (Editor,
  • Ben Norton (Editor, Multipolarista)
  • Suzanne Berliner Weiss (author and activist for social justice)

Individual signatories

Niels Duus NielsenDenmark
Michael WongsamBritain
Simon HeimStudentHong Kong SAR, China
David AltimierProfessor, Political AnalystMexico
João RoqueBrazil
C Larsson
Peter OlechBritain
Stefania FuseroItaly
Ng Kong HungSingapore
Christopher HelaliInternational Secretary of the CC of PCUSAUnited States
JOSEPH PIETTEWorkers World PartyUnited States
Keith HeywoodBritain
Mark LeCanada
Joe LeeAustralia
Philippe GendraultPRCFUnited States
Daniel J. BrownAustralia
Lyn NeeleyTeacher AFTUnited States
Régis Apolinário CoelhoStudent/IFESBrazil
Jakob Ulrik MunckDenmark
Steve SweeneyJournalistBritain
Dan RossBritain
Gregory DunkelRetired, AFT2343United States
Nan ZhangCanada
Ng Sauw TjhoiChief-editor “China Vandaag”Belgium
Marie-France GermainCanada
DakotaIndigenous man of CanadaCanada
Edward Owen RedmondBritain
Tony KinderUniversity ResearcherBritain
Kim E Koo MDUnited States
Edward Owen RedmondBritain
De Maegd FransARLAC (Solidarity with Latin America and the Caraibes).Belgium
floyd gardnerveterans for peaceUnited States
Sue HarisInternational Action CenterUnited States
juan donostMexico
Matthew LouieUnited States
Man Leewenyahonline.comAustralia
Robin StoweUnited States
Ann LoganRetired book editorBritain
Joseph ThompsonStudentUnited States
William MurphyRetiredUnited States
Jason BowersUnited States
Michael ChiaSingapore
Alex TanMalaysia
Roger StollUnited States
Pat TurnbullBritain
Stewart Kellyconcerned citizenUnited States
Larry M LeeCanada
LekxMember-activist of grassroots movement Peace With Venezuela The Netherlands (Vrede Met Venezuela)Netherlands
Mitchell ShoreCanada
Dave ThomasChair Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association of NiagaraCanada
MaureUnited States
Doug NichollsGeneral Federation of Trade UnionsBritain
Zhen ChiChina
Peta ElmesUnited States
Peta ElmesUnited States
Victor KoppeLawyer (genocide specialist)Netherlands
Jonn MeroNorway
Clinton ScottBritain
Vicente CastellsBritain
James De BurgheChina
Mark Charles RosenzweigUnited States
Songyon JingChina
Stan SquiresCanada
Alexander ReysenbachPensionerBelgium
Bob OramBritain
Daniel B
Pete FoleyBritain
William DereJournalist and authorCanada
Wilhelm Reichmann
Chin K SeahCanada
Asfred MaldonadoPuerto Rico
Brandon MilesIndependent JournalistUnited States
Joe HerosyUnited States
Danny LiUnited States
Wilfred JayasingheSri Lanka Peace & Solidarity CouncilSri Lanka
Peggy Powell DobbinsUnited States
Elizabeth SmithCanada
Matthew AlmonteUnited States
Edward TrippRetiredUnited States
Xiaoming GuoCanada
Stephen PaulmierHawai’i Friends of the Soviet PeopleOccupied country of Hawai’i
Iris YauLecturer & CuratorBritain
Laurence Wright
Sandy Eaton, RNUnited States
Kate LattimoreBritain
Ben LunnComposerBritain
Hank KeetonKeeton CorporationUnited States
BobAkamineUnited States
Mark PrenterAustralia
Giles GeetooahUnited States
Demba Moussa DembeleEconomistSenegal
Wei Weng LEONGSingapore
David AyrtonBritain
Ron JuddNew Zealand
Youri Smouterjournalist & host of 1+1 at 1+1 hosted by Youri Smouter fmrley Yuri Muckraker at youtubeBelgium
Calla Mairead WalshUnited States, Canada
Ping HuaNo Cold War BritainBritain
Peter RubinUnited States
Brishni ChattopadhyayIndia
Damien MarsicChina
Bill MeyerMichigan Peace CouncilUSA
Tom WickhamIreland
Fabio Massimo ParentiAssociate Professor of International Political EconomyItaly
Michael AwAustralia
Bertil CarlmanRetired teacherSweden
Yick Foon WONGRetireeAustralia
Arsenio PanuelosPhilippines
David LeeAustralia
Robert Fitzthum
Derek BlackmoreBritain
James K InkenbrandtUnited States
Matthew CampbellUnited States
Joris De WinterBelgium
Anna EckertUnited States
B. Keith BrumleyUnited States
David MüllerSwitzerland
Joe MonteroAustralia
Kevin LindemannUnited States
Karen AramUnited States
Kostas KalogeropoulosResearcherGreece
Dr. Tamara ProsicResearcher, Monash UniversityAustralia
Jui Ching LingNetherlands
Kevin Patrick Michael McCannCommunist Party of BritainBritain
Antonis BalasopoulosCyprus
Håkan DanielssonSweden
Laura WellsGreen PartyUnited States
Ethan EvaloboUnited States
Derek GrigsbyOrganizer / MECAWI ( Michigan emergency committee against war and injustice )United States
Iain InglisChina
Leo CollinsIreland
Michael ShaneUnited States
ko ruijterNetherlands
Loo Wen SiangMalaysia
Siqlme CqkftSingapore
Ruipeng LiChina
Andre S
Jake HemingwayUnited States
Joseph OstosUnited States
M. K. BrusselUnited States
Mike ShaneCommunist Workers League ( States
Karen LiRetired teacherUnited States
Robert LaffinUnited States
Ray GastonTeam Vicar Parish of Central WolverhamptonBritain
Leonardo BargigliUniversità di FirenzeItaly
John SharkeyCanada
M. K. BrusselUnited States
Mushahed AhmedMember of the central committee, Communist Party of Bangladesh (M-L)Bangladesh
Dilip BaruaGeneral Secretary, Communist Party of Bangladesh (M-L)Bangladesh
Miguel FigueroaCanadian Peace CongressCanada
Elisabeth HillsUnited States
Ruipeng Li
Eddy SebahiFrance
Noah BermanBritain
Nino PaglicciaFrente Hugo Chavez - CanadaCanada
eloi ramirezUnited States
kwok zu limSingapore
Bobby ChenChinaRock.FMUnited States
Cui GuoweiChairman/Shaanxi Provincial Patriotic Volunteer AssociationChina
Hulun Buir Environmental Protection Volunteers AssociationChina
Shaanxi Patriotic Volunteers AssociationChina
Wang JunzhanChina Great Wall SocietyChina
Gansu NGO Network for International ExchangesChina
Dragon Design FoundationChina
北京春晖博爱公益基金会 Chunhui Children's FoundationChina
China Association for Promoting International Economic & Technical CooperationChina
China Arab Exchange AssociationChina
Ken StoneTreasurer, Hamilton Coalition To Stop The WarCanada
China Association for Promoting International Economic & Technical CooperationChina
China Arab Exchange AssociationChina
Middle East Foundation for Peace DevelopmentChina
World Digital Economy Forum SecretariatChina
China Africa Investment and Trade Promotion AssociationChina
Dragon Design FoundationChina
Chunhui Children's FoundationChina
Beijing Changier Education FoundationChina
Novel Inception FoundationChina
Enlai FoundationChina
Beijing Crafts CouncilChina
Beijing Hengji Health Management and Development FoundationChina
Beijing NGO Network for International Exchanges 感谢!China
Charles BritzUnited States
Arnold AugustThe Canada FilesCanada
Michael CalluraRetired SteelworkerCanada
Kit Aislyn HaynesSigilUnited States
Alias HopeUnited States
Farooque Chowdhury
John Considine
Clare HaririBritain
Raymond FergusonNational Secretary Australia-DPRK Friendship and Cultural SocietyAustralia
David LaibmanEditor Emeritus, Science & SocietyUnited States
Peter GoseCanada
China Society for Human Rights StudiesChina
China Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences(CUAES)China
Lijun ZhangChina Association of Ethnic Economy (CAEE)China
Xiaohua WuChinese Association For Ethnic Policy (CAEP)China
China Ethnic Minorities’ Association For External Exchanges (CEMAEE)China
Minzu Unity and Progress Association of China(MUPAC)China
Russel HarlandTrade UnionistBritain
Sara BarkerCanada

Bachelet’s “Assessment of Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang” Risks Discrediting the OHCHR and Politicizing the Human Rights Regime

This article by Casey Ho-yuk Wan, an attorney and independent researcher, provides a rigorous critique of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ recently-released Assessment of Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the People’s Republic of China.

Casey gives an overview of the contents of the Assessment, noting that it makes no reference to the most serious charge against China – ie that it engaged in a genocide against Uygur people in Xinjiang – and furthermore that its accusations are couched in deliberately ambiguous language, for example “[China’s actions] may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity”.

The author observes that Chinese voices are near-absent from the source interviews, in particular Chinese NGOs, academics and individuals. The Assessment does however extensively cite US-funded NGOs such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and ideologically-driven anti-communist researchers such as Adrian Zenz. As such, the Assessment suffers from a profound bias. Meanwhile it makes no mention of human rights that the Chinese government has been very actively promoting in Xinjiang: poverty alleviation, development, and safety from terrorist attacks.

Casey makes the crucially important point that the Assessment does not enjoy a mandate from the General Assembly or the Human Rights Council. Through a detailed analysis of voting and statements at the United Nations, he makes it clear that the majority of the world’s countries – and the vast majority of Muslim-majority countries – support China’s position and reject the accusations that have been thrown around by the US and its allies regarding Xinjiang. As such, and given the OHCHR’s relative silence in relation to persistent human rights abuses by the imperialist powers, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Assessment is politically-motived, produced under pressure from the US, and designed to contribute to the escalating New Cold War. One by-product is that the Assessment “will likely weaken the credibility of the OHCHR in the eyes of the Global South”, thereby causing lasting damage to the entire UN-based human rights framework.

The article is fairly long and detailed, but deserves to be thoroughly read.


On 31 August 2022, shortly before the tenure of Michelle Bachelet as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ended, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released its “Assessment of Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the People’s Republic of China.”[1]

This write-up is a response to the “Assessment”, which raises serious doubts as to the impartiality, objectivity, and non-selectivity of the OHCHR’s work with implications for the credibility not merely of the Assessment, but of the OHCHR as a responsible international organ capable of conducting human rights work in a constructive manner while avoiding double standards and politicization. This write-up will also speculate on potential political consequences of the Assessment. In summary, the Assessment risks the discrediting of the OHCHR and the politicization of the global human rights regime the OHCHR is mandated to promote, while likely serving to widen the chasm between the OHCHR and the Global South and to aggravate ongoing and potential international conflicts. 

The Contents of the Assessment

It is important to identify what the Assessment has stated. While much has been made by mainstream media of the Assessment’s seeming indictment of China’s crimes against humanity[2], the Assessment cannot be definitely said to be a sort of indictment or supposition of fact. Paragraph 148 of the Assessment provides:

The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups, pursuant to law and policy, in context of restrictions and deprivation more generally of fundamental rights enjoyed individually and collectively, may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.

This sentence is deliberately ambiguous. In particular, the use of the word “may” can take on two different meanings. The sentence could be stating that, given what the OHCHR currently knows, the extent of arbitrary detention likely constitutes crimes against humanity. This interpretation would be strengthened had the sentence been placed in present perfect tense – that the extent of arbitrary detention may have constituted crimes against humanity. Instead, the sentence placed in the present tense gives rise to a second interpretation: that, given the right circumstances, the extent of arbitrary detention could give rise to the level of crimes against humanity. In other words, “may” could imply either a preliminary finding or supposition of fact, or the mere possibility of a fact.

Leaving the sentence ambiguous in this manner seems to serve the purpose of staking out a position but without committing the OHCHR to find one way or the other in regards to China. At any rate, the sentence is by no means a definitive statement of fact that China committed crimes against humanity. The Assessment is also notable for making no mention of genocide, making only a passing reference to slavery, and presenting no definitive finding on forced labor in Xinjiang.

The Assessment limits itself to the evaluation of certain human rights concerns: China’s laws and policies regarding counter-terrorism and extremism; imprisonment and deprivation of liberty (particularly in regards to the vocational education and training centers (VETCs)); conditions and treatment in the VETCs; religious, cultural, and linguistic identity and expression; privacy and freedom of movement; reproductive rights; employment and labor; family separations and enforced disappearances; and intimidations, threats, and reprisals.

A full review of the Assessment is beyond the scope of this write-up. Suffice to say that in each of the areas listed above, the OHCHR found great cause to be concerned, and have definitively concluded that “serious human rights violations have been committed” in Xinjiang that are “characterized by a discriminatory component.”

Concerns Regarding the Assessment

UN General Assembly Resolution 48/141 of 1994 established the post of High Commissioner of Human Rights, who would be “the United Nations official with principal responsibility for United Nations human rights activities under the direction and authority of the Secretary-General; within the framework of the overall competence, authority and decisions of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Commission on Human Rights.” Among other responsibilities, the High Commissioner of Human Rights would “promote and protect the effective enjoyment by all of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.”

Resolution 48/141 further emphasized the “need for the promotion and protection of all human rights to be guided by the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, in the spirit of constructive international dialogue and cooperation…” These principles were reaffirmed by UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 of 2006, which established the Human Rights Council (HRC) to replace the Commission on Human Rights. Resolution 60/251 further aspired to eliminate “double standards and politicization” of human rights issues. Resolution 48/141 also requires the High Commissioner to “respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and domestic jurisdiction of States”, as well as to recognize that “all human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social – are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated” and to “promote and protect the realization of the right to development”.

The Assessment raises serious concerns about the work of the OHCHR, as the Assessment fails to live up to the principles of impartiality, objectivity, and non-selectivity, risking the proliferation of double standards and politicization in contemporary human rights work.

The Assessment is one-sided, and sets a worrying precedent

The Assessment claims a “rigorous review of documentary material currently available to the Office, with its credibility assessed in accordance with standard human rights methodology.” It pays special attention to the laws, policies, data, and statements of the Government of China, including document leaks by journalists alleged (and accepted by the OHCHR) to be of an official nature. Supplementing the review of documentary material, the OHCHR interviewed 40 individuals with claimed direct and first-hand knowledge of the matter at hand.

However, a review of the 306 footnotes of the Assessment reveals a concerning omission. Citations in the Assessment overwhelmingly consist of Chinese governmental material, “the vast amount of research that has been completed by non-governmental organizations, researchers, journalists and academics over the last years”, and the interviewed individuals. Missing from citations entirely are non-government Chinese material, including material from Chinese non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academics, and individuals. Also missing are Chinese-language sources apart from Chinese governmental materials such as laws and regulations, and mass media reporting.

Continue reading Bachelet’s “Assessment of Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang” Risks Discrediting the OHCHR and Politicizing the Human Rights Regime

The US is a serial human rights abuser

The following article by Carlos Martinez, written for the Chinese magazine China Today (founded under the name China Reconstructs by Soong Ching-ling in 1952), comments on the recent report issued by the China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS) entitled U.S. commits serious crimes of violating human rights in the Middle East and beyond. Carlos discusses the irony of the US having such a disastrous human rights record at home and abroad, given that “it so often frames its aggressive foreign policy precisely within a context of human rights.” He further contrasts the US’s record with that of China, concluding that “the West’s attempts to smear China as a human rights abuser – and to portray the U.S. and its allies as upholders of freedom and democracy – are nothing but the hypocritical lies of a collapsing hegemonic world order.”

The latest report from the China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS), entitled “U.S. commits serious crimes of violating human rights in the Middle East and beyond,” provides a detailed assessment of the United States’ human rights record, particularly in relation to its wars and regime change operations in the Middle East. 

Noting that U.S. imperialism has caused “permanent damage and irreparable losses to countries and people in the region,” the report highlights a valuable lesson to be learned by the peoples of the world: that the pervasive Western narrative of democracy and human rights is nothing but a façade, behind which lies hegemony, inequality, cruelty and violence.

A great irony of the U.S.’ record of human rights abuses is that it so often frames its aggressive foreign policy precisely within a context of human rights. For example, in early 2011, journalists and politicians in the West loudly raised their voices about the abuses supposedly being perpetrated by the government of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. They spread numerous stories: that the government was preparing a massacre in Benghazi; that sub-Saharan Africans were being forced to fight for the government; that Gaddafi was instructing pro-government troops to use rape as a weapon of war. 

Continue reading The US is a serial human rights abuser

Open letter to UN High Commissioner for human rights

Friends of Socialist China is proud to be a signatory to this letter of nearly 1,000 Chinese and foreign NGOs to Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, calling on her to reject the demands of various fanatically anti-China elements who want her to use her position to slander China’s human rights record.

The full list of signatories can be found on Xinhua.

Dear Madame High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet,

During your visit to China including Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in late May, you had extensive exchanges with representatives from different sectors. We believe that you saw with your own eyes that Xinjiang has enjoyed sustained economic development, social stability, improvement of people’s livelihood, cultural prosperity and religious harmony. You gained a good knowledge of the fact and truth that people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang enjoy various forms of human rights in accordance with law. We expect that , you will draw a conclusion based on the facts, and present what you saw and heard in Xinjiang to the international community in an objective and fair manner.

We notice that for a period of time, certain anti-China forces, out of ulterior political motives, have publicly urged you to release the so-called assessment on Xinjiang, which is against the objective facts and confuses right and wrong. We express our serious concerns regarding this. It is reported that the assessment is entirely based on false accusations fabricated by anti-China forces and false testimony by overseas anti-China separatists, and echoes the biggest lies of the century that there are so-called genocide, crimes against humanity, forced labour, forced sterilization, religious repression in Xinjiang. Such an assessment is completely untrue. The assessment, once released, will be definitely used by certain countries as a political tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs and to contain China’s development under the pretext of human rights. It will badly damage the credibility of Madame High Commissioner yourself and the OHCHR, and seriously undermine the developing countries’ confidence in constructive cooperation with the OHCHR. It will deeply hurt the sentiments of all 1.4 billion Chinese people including the 25 million in Xinjiang and of all who support the development of Xinjiang. We are strongly opposed to the release of such an unreasonable, unauthorized, and untruthful assessment.

Facts should never be distorted. Truth should never be denied. We strongly call on you and the OHCHR to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, respect the authoritative information provided by member states, and respect the serious concerns raised by all Chinese people and all people championing justice around the world. We call on you and the OHCHR to stand on the right side of history, and not to release an assessment full of lies.

When it comes to China’s development, Hukou reform is inevitable

In this useful article, republished from China Daily, Keith Lamb provides an overview of the Hukou household registration system and the reasons for the recently-announced plans to reform it. Lamb notes that Hukou was originally introduced in order to prevent uncontrolled urban migration and the accompanying problems (in particular the emergence of slums, which can be found in practically all other recently-industrialized countries). However, the economic and social needs of a modern, increasingly urbanized socialist country require loosening restrictions on household registration and improving the rights and living conditions of people migrating to the cities. As the author observes, “when it comes to building a modern socialist state, inequality in accessing services must eventually, on principle, be transformed into a state of equality.”

China’s National Development and Reform Commission recently announced that the household registration system, popularly known by its Mandarin name Hukou, will be streamlined to encourage urbanization. All cities with a population under 3 million will have Hukou limits removed and registration for an urban Hukou in cities with a population between three and five million will be eased.

The modern Hukou, which reached maturity in 1958, determines who has access to local social amenities, such as education, healthcare and employment. Originally, it was an effective measure that prevented mass internal migration when China had an undeveloped economy based on agricultural production.

Checking mass migration from rural to urban centers prevented slums from building up, which was common in neighboring developing countries. Labor was also paired with the land which was important considering it was the location where the majority of production took place, allowing agriculture to be used in the service of industrialization.

Continue reading When it comes to China’s development, Hukou reform is inevitable

Who really profits from ‘forced labor’?

The “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act”, the latest anti-China legislation to be enacted in the United States, came into effect on June 23, having been signed by President Biden last December. Under this law, all goods from China’s Xinjiang are barred from the US unless the importer can prove they were produced “free of forced labor”. It is, of course, notoriously difficult to “prove” a negative, something compounded by the arbitrary designations and assertions already advanced by the US with regard to the autonomous region.

In this article, originally published by Workers World, Betsey Piette notes that this measure will harm US industries and further fuel inflation. More especially she notes that, “if US politicians and anti-China lobbyists are genuinely concerned about protecting people from being subjected to ‘forced labor,’ they should look no further than the US prison-industrial complex. According to a report the American Civil Liberties Union released June 15, incarcerated workers in the US produce roughly $11 billion in goods and services each year but receive pennies an hour in ‘wages’ for their work.”

The US imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other country, with some 800,000 people subject to such forced labor.

First signed by President Joe Biden in December, the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” took effect June 23. Under this latest anti-China measure, all goods made in Xinjiang province are banned, unless the importer can demonstrate the imports were produced “free of forced labor.” The ban also impacts programs that transport Uyghur workers to job sites. 

The new law could affect a handful of companies or far more. Its implementation could result in more detention of goods at the U.S. border, further delaying product deliveries and further fueling inflation. Hardest hit will be U.S. industries that rely on the import of commodities using lithium, nickel manganese, beryllium copper and gold mined in Xinjiang. These include manufacturers of solar panels, auto companies and energy firms.

This latest U.S. anti-China propaganda campaign is based on unsubstantiated claims that Uyghur people were forced to take up new jobs in industries recently relocated to Xinjiang. 

However, if U.S. politicians and anti-China lobbyists are genuinely concerned about protecting people from being subjected to “forced labor,” they should look no further than the U.S. prison-industrial complex. According to a report the American Civil Liberties Union released June 15, incarcerated workers in the U.S. produce roughly $11 billion in goods and services each year but receive pennies an hour in “wages” for their work.

Jennifer Turner, principal author of the report stated: “The United States has a long, problematic history of using incarcerated workers as a source of cheap labor and to subsidize the costs of our bloated prison system. Incarcerated workers are stripped of even the most minimal protections against labor exploitation and abuse. They are paid pennies for their work in often unsafe working conditions, even as they produce billions of dollars for states and the federal government.”

In the U.S., which imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other country, roughly 800,000 people are subject to this forced labor, making roughly 13 cents to 52 cents per hour. In Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, incarcerated workers are essentially enslaved — paid nothing for their labor.

Over 75% of incarcerated workers interviewed by the ACLU told researchers that if they refuse to work, they are subjected to punishment, including solitary confinement, loss of family visits and denial of reduced sentences.

The Global Times, which is publishing a series of stories to expose the U.S. as a real “contemporary slavery empire,” says that this exploitation of incarcerated workers “plainly demonstrates the U.S.’s real disregard for basic human rights and their brutal exploitation of the country’s workforce.”

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed on Jan. 31, 1865, while abolishing enslavement actually allowed enslavement to remain legal, as “a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” This amendment lets the government legally impose forced labor on incarcerated workers across the country.

Prison labor insourcing

Part of the problem for the U.S. enforcement of the anti-China labor ban is identifying what companies produce goods involving Uyghur labor in Xinjiang province. But it is very easy to find what U.S. companies are profiting directly from privatizing prisons or exploiting prison labor.

A majority of the labor performed by exploited prisoner-workers directly benefits the states managing prisons. Incarcerated workers are forced to perform various tasks from food preparation to laundry services. But many private companies profit as well.

Two major companies — Core Civic and Geo Group — are the giants of the U.S. private prison industry. Core Civic recognized $526 million in annual gross profits in 2021. Geo Group made $628 million. But these companies are not alone in profiting from prisons.

A Feb. 15 report by estimated that 4,200 large corporations use over 600,000 incarcerated workers to produce goods and services. There are several well-known companies on this list. McDonalds and Wendy’s use prison labor to produce frozen beef patties and other products. Calls to Verizon, Sprint or Avis for service may be answered by incarcerated workers.

Walmart and Starbucks use enslaved prison labor to cut down their costs of producing goods and services. Prison labor produces circuit boards for Compaq. For years Aramark has used incarcerated workers to prepare and package most food items used in prisons. In 2019 Aramark was sued for using “involuntary servitude” — they were not paying incarcerated workers anything.

Politicians could amend the 13th Amendment to remove the prison labor exclusion clause. Biden could take measures to end contracts with private prison companies. But none of this is likely to happen under capitalism.

Those genuinely concerned about “forced labor” should be on board with the movement to abolish prisons.

The US’s cynical misuse of human rights

This article by Carlos Martinez discusses the themes emerging from the recently-concluded 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, in particular the stark disparity in the conduct of the imperialist powers (plus a few hangers-on) and the majority of the world’s countries. While the US and its allies continue their campaign to cynically use human rights issues to slander certain countries and promote their New Cold War, the rest of the world increasingly demands the depoliticisation of human rights. This article was originally published on CGTN.

Global politics seems to be moving in two opposite directions. On the one hand, the US and its closest allies are stepping up their efforts to consolidate and expand US hegemony. On the other hand, the countries of the developing world, the socialist countries and the formerly-colonised countries are increasingly united in their efforts to promote multipolarity, multilateralism, sovereign development, and democracy in international relations.

These two contrasting approaches have been evident during the 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, which concluded recently on 8 July.

A group of 47 countries issued a joint statement to the session, making all sorts of lurid accusations against China regarding its treatment of the people of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The countries signing up to this slanderous statement were the “usual suspects” of the US, Western Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and a handful of others.

Out of 30 NATO members, the only countries not to sign were Turkey, Greece and Hungary. All the ‘Five Eyes’ signed. Meanwhile, not a single one of the approximately 50 Muslim-majority countries put their names to this statement, although it purportedly represents the interests of Uyghur Muslims.

Continue reading The US’s cynical misuse of human rights

The cruel irony of the US obsession with politicizing human rights

Co-editor of Friends of Socialist China Danny Haiphong explains why the US’s obsession with politicizing human rights against China is both baseless in substance and a deflection from its own heinous human rights record in all areas of economic, social, and political development. This article was originally published on CGTN.

The 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has entered its last week of deliberation. This particular session of the UNHRC saw the United States immediately politicize the issue of human rights by signing a statement from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and 46 other countries condemning China. The letter expressed “grave” concern over the human rights situation in China, listing the popular talking points in the West regarding the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the Tibet Autonomous Region. 

China’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office at Geneva Chen Xu said that “disinformation has become rampant, which seriously runs counter to the original purpose of the Human Rights Council.” Cuba made a joint statement on behalf of 70 countries, stating that “the affairs of Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet are China’s internal affairs.”

The U.S.’s politicization of human rights against China is ironic in a cruel way. Washington refuses to acknowledge the mountain of evidence proving that its allegations against China are illegitimate in the eyes of the rest of the world. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) sent a delegation to China and expressed satisfaction with its treatment of Muslims, including Uygurs, in a resolution on their findings. The OIC includes 57 member states and a population of near two-billion people. In 2020, Cuba made a statement on behalf of 45 countries that praised China’s counterterrorism and deradicalization policies in Xinjiang.

Continue reading The cruel irony of the US obsession with politicizing human rights

On the continuous development of human rights in China

Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was recently interviewed on the subject of democracy and human rights for the Chinese edition of People’s Daily. We publish below the English translation.

“The Chinese government listens to the voices of the people, is committed to meeting the needs of the people, and promotes the continuous development of the cause of human rights.” Recently, British writer and political commentator Carlos Martinez said in an interview with this reporter that the Chinese Communist Party leads the Chinese people. Unprecedented progress has been made in finding a human rights development path that suits the national conditions of the country. What is important is that China breaks the narrow definition of human rights in the West, “China’s human rights protection is extensive and sufficient”.

Martinez was deeply impressed by the whole process of people’s democracy in China. He said that this concept highlights the essential difference between socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics and Western capitalist democracy. The Chinese side believes that if the people are awakened only when they vote, and then go into a hibernation period, they only listen to hype slogans during elections, they have no right to speak after the election, they are favored during canvassing, and they are left out after the election. Such a democracy is not true democracy. Martinez agrees.

“The participation of ordinary Chinese people in running society is higher than that of Western countries. In terms of representing the basic interests of ordinary people, the Chinese government has done a far better job than Western governments.” Martinez said that in the whole process of China’s development of people’s democracy, the people have always enjoyed democratic rights, not limited to elections; available to all social classes, not limited to certain groups. China’s democratic system has its own historical background. It can ensure the enjoyment of democratic rights by the broadest masses of people and provide important support and guarantee for social governance.

Martinez said that China’s achievements lie not only in achieving rapid economic growth, but also in the government’s wholehearted commitment to improving the living standards of ordinary people. The Chinese government pays attention to poverty eradication, environmental protection, education development, etc., to improve people’s lives in general. “People’s demands are reflected in the government’s work, which is the real people’s democracy.” Martinez said.

“Eliminating absolute poverty in a developing country with a population of more than 1.4 billion is an extraordinary achievement and has historical significance.” Martinez specifically mentioned that due to the impact of the new coronavirus epidemic and geopolitical factors, poverty is rising. The Chinese government has historically solved the problem of absolute poverty and made important contributions to human development and progress. He said that while carrying out targeted poverty alleviation, China has actively shared its experience with other countries and regions, participated in many poverty alleviation projects in Africa, and carried out various cooperation with developing countries, which has promoted the sustainable development of these countries and regions.

Media briefing on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ visit to China

We republish below the media briefing given by Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu in relation to the recently-completed visit to China by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Politicians, journalists and various perpetually anti-China human rights groups have for years been clamoring for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Xinjiang, in order to substantiate their claims that a genocide is taking place there. Now Ms Bachelet has visited numerous sites and met with many people from all walks of life in Xinjiang – including religious leaders – and has failed to find evidence of genocide, the accusers are doubling down on their slander, claiming the whole visit was staged. Ma Zhaoxu’s media briefing provides a useful summary of what actually happened during Bachelet’s visit.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet visited China in late May. On 28 May, Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu gave a briefing on the trip in an interview with the press.

Ma said that at the invitation of the Chinese government, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet visited China during 23 to 28 May. This is Ms. Bachelet’s first visit to China since she took office as well as the first such visit by a UN human rights chief in 17 years. President Xi Jinping met via video link with High Commissioner Bachelet on 25 May. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with High Commissioner Bachelet, and senior officials from the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Ethnic Affairs Commission, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and All-China Women’s Federation held talks with the High Commissioner respectively.

Continue reading Media briefing on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ visit to China

Interview: Comparing human rights in China and the West

We are very pleased to republish this interview given by our Co-Editor Danny Haiphong to Global Times. In his interview Danny compares the very different approaches to human rights in China and the US. He notes how the US constantly raises generally spurious charges regarding the state of human rights in other countries, especially in China, in an attempt to distract attention from its own abhorrent human rights record. This can especially be seen in the contrasting approaches around Covid-19. In China, people and saving human lives come first whereas in the richest country on earth millions are without health care.

To help understand China’s progress in the past decade, the Global Times (GT) has launched a weekly series of interviews with scholars from home and abroad, presenting a holistic view of China’s governance philosophy. The following is an interview with Danny Haiphong (Haiphong), an independent journalist in the US and co-editor of Friends of Socialist China as well as a founding member of the No Cold War international campaign, on how China has made human rights protection a priority and how it has taken human rights moral high grounds.

GT: The US Department of State issued the 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on April 12, of which 90 pages are used to criticize China’s human rights conditions. At the same time, 2021 was considered to be the US’ most fatal year in history with more than 460,000 Americans killed by the coronavirus last year. Why does the US care more about human rights of China and other countries than its own record? 

Haiphong: The US has politicized human rights for several reasons, none of which have anything to do with genuine concerns about the wellbeing of people. Constant speculation about human rights elsewhere provides a distraction from the shortcomings of the US’ own political and economic system. The US possesses an abhorrent human rights record. An average of three Americans per day are killed by US law enforcement. Nearly one million Americans have died of COVID-19. US wars abroad have taken the lives of millions and destabilized entire regions.

Human rights are also an integral component of US foreign policy. Any nation deemed a threat to US hegemony is condemned for human rights violations. Often, the allegations are unfounded. This is certainly the case in relation to China. The US has spread insidious lies about the so-called human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Hong Kong Special Administration Region (HKSAR) to justify sanctions and military encirclement. The US’ politicization of human rights is not only hypocritical, but a true danger to humanity. 

Continue reading Interview: Comparing human rights in China and the West

The battle against Covid-19 in Shanghai: a human rights disaster?

In this latest piece, originally published on his Chronicles of Haiphong, our Co-Editor Danny Haiphong unpicks the western media’s propaganda onslaught regarding the current Omicron outbreak in Shanghai and the resultant lockdown. Whilst acknowledging the hardships and frustrations of the current situation, Danny points out that, when condemning China’s zero-Covid strategy, the western media ignores the solidarity and sacrifice of ordinary people.  When it comes to tackling Covid, as in other areas, he notes that the real criminals infringing human rights are to be found in the imperialist countries of North America and Europe.

The city of Shanghai is currently battling an outbreak of COVID-19’s Omicron variant, tallying upwards of 350,000 new cases in a matter of weeks. Much of the city has been placed under some form of lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. Case numbers continue to rise. In predictable fashion, Western media has used the occasion to condemn China’s dynamic zero-COVID strategy. Videos of frustrated residents went viral across the West as an example of the “evils” of China’s communist party-led government.

Indeed, China’s latest battle with COVID-19 has not been without hardship. Logistical issues with food and medical deliveries have been a source of frustration. Tragedy struck when a grassroots healthcare worker died by an apparent suicide, raising concerns about the mounting levels of stress for grassroots volunteers and cadres battling the virus around the clock. The central government has taken rapid measures to alleviate pressure on the local government. Thousands of doctors and volunteers have traveled from other cities and provinces to improve the delivery of food and medications.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, Western observers have used the latest outbreak in Shanghai to demonize China’s dynamic zero-COVID strategy. The rapid spread of COVID-19 in Shanghai appears to validate Western media claims that China’s zero-COVID strategy does more harm than good. Western countries, led by the United States, have taken a “live with the virus” approach to justify the roll back of all mitigation measures and social welfare protections. The massive death toll to COVID-19 incurred in the West is viewed as merely the cost of doing business. Fatigue over rampant misinformation and inconsistent COVID-19 policy is almost as high as the mistrust that majorities of people in the West possess in their governments.

Continue reading The battle against Covid-19 in Shanghai: a human rights disaster?

Wang Wenbin: deeply-entrenched white supremacism at the heart of US anti-Asian racism

We reproduce below an important statement made by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin in his March 30th press conference, responding to a question from a Beijing Daily correspondent, who noted that 75% of Asian seniors in New York City are afraid to leave their homes due to the threat of anti-Asian violence. Wang outlines the contributions made by the Asian communities to US economy and society. Despite this, he notes, they still face systemic racial discrimination. This is due to deep-seated white supremacism, which is still stirred by US politicians. According to Wang, the US needs to give up being a textbook example of double standards of human rights.

I have seen relevant reports and am concerned about the discrimination against Asian Americans and hate crimes in the US.

Ethnic minorities of Asian descent have made important contributions to the economic and social development in the US. For example, it is reported that Chinese Americans contributed over $300 billion to US GDP in 2019 through consumer spending, supporting 3 million jobs. As of 2017, there are over 160,000 Chinese American-owned businesses in the US, generating approximately $240 billion in revenue and supporting 1.3 million jobs. Chinese Americans have also made important contributions to public health and social welfare in the US through active involvement in non-profits, volunteering and philanthropy. Since March 2020, more than 690 Chinese American grassroots organizations have raised over $18 million and delivered millions of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) and meals to agencies in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, such hard work and important contributions brought them no respect or protection they so richly deserve, but unabated discrimination and injustice. After COVID-19 broke out, several doctors of Asian descent said that the patients are more afraid of them than the virus. On March 16 last year, a shooting spree in Atlanta targeting women of Asian descent have resulted in the death of six Asian female. The case later triggered fear and anger among Asian Americans nationwide as the US law-enforcement authorities refused to label it as an incident of hate crime. A report published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino revealed that anti-Asian hate crime increased by 339% in 2021 compared to the year before. Besides hate crime, Asian Americans are also subjected to various discrimination in employment, education, income, social welfare and cultural rights. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, only 54% of Asian American older adults surveyed said they were satisfied with their lives, significantly lower than respondents of other races and ethnicities.

It takes more than one cold day for the river to freeze three feet deep. At the heart of the persistent discrimination and xenophobic words and deeds against people of Asian descent lies the deeply entrenched white supremacism. Even worse, some US politicians instigate antagonism and confrontation and clamor for hostile anti-Asian policies to serve their selfish political interests, only to make things more difficult for Asian Americans. Former US leader openly called the coronavirus as “China virus” in a speech delivered at the UN General Assembly, sparking a public outcry in the international community. Six Republican congressmen in the US, who are also veteran anti-China politicians, voted against an anti-Asian hate crime bill. They even openly stigmatize and attack people of Asian descent by associating the coronavirus with them. The previous US administration’s infamous “China Initiative” fueled racial discrimination against Asians, especially Chinese Americans, and contributed to a 71% increase in violence against Asian Americans between 2019 and 2020. 

Although the “China Initiative” was suspended at request, the discrimination, stigmatization, suppression and attacks against Asian minorities, including those of Chinese descent, have continued. This is a stain on the US human rights record, an irony to the US’ reputation as melting pot of ethnic groups, and an affront to the US value of “freedom and equality”. UN Special Rapporteur Fernand de Varennes said the US human rights system is leading to growing inequality. Stephen Walt, a professor at Harvard University, said “Americans must first fix what has gone wrong at home and rethink how they deal with the rest of the world.” At the 48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, many countries blasted the United States for being the “biggest destroyer” of human rights in the world and urged the country to address its own severe human rights violations. We urge the US government to heed these appeals from the international community and stop being a textbook example of double standard of human rights. 

Arnold August: Revolutionary democracy in China and Cuba has resulted in huge advances in human rights

Embedded below is a clip of Canadian author and political scientist Arnold August, speaking at a virtual conference – Human Rights Today: Universal and Global? – organized by Central South University, Changsha, China, on February 27, 2022. Arnold addresses the accusations that China and Cuba are ‘undemocratic’, exposes how this label is weaponized by the US against its political enemies, and explains how the Chinese and Cuban revolutions (in 1949 and 1959) created a type of popular democracy which gives expression to the needs and aspirations of ordinary people.

Beijing’s Winter Paralympics: a symbol of human rights

This article by Keith Lamb, originally published in CGTN, examines the preparations that have been made in China for the 2022 Winter Paralympics, and explores how these connect to a growing understanding in China of disability rights, along with an expanding infrastructure to support those rights.

Holding both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games in Beijing is unprecedented. Also, it is no lesser an achievement that Beijing will hold both the Summer and Winter Paralympics. If the Olympics represent the harmonious bringing together of global diversity, united in the pursuit of excellence by competing for gold, then the Paralympics goes a step further by including excellence from all members of society.

Some see the Paralympics as a charitable sideshow to the Olympics but this is not the case. Even in the Olympics, athletes are separated in different divisions. The 100-metre sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica’s gold, in Tokyo 2020, is no lesser an achievement than gold in the men’s division.

Likewise, athletes in combat sports are divided by weight. Welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather would easily be floored by a “run-of-the mill” heavyweight but he is nevertheless classed, in terms of skill, as one of the best of all time.

Continue reading Beijing’s Winter Paralympics: a symbol of human rights

Quote: The US must be held to account for its abuses of human rights

While the US talked about democracy and human rights at the ‘Summit for Democracy’, the innocent Afghan people who were gunned down by the US military were brushed aside and their families had no place to complain about their grievances. This is the harsh reality brought to the world by the so-called democracy and human rights advocated by the US. We condemn the brutal military intervention by the US in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in the name of democracy and human rights. We call on the international community to look into the US military’s war crimes of killing innocent civilians around the world and hold it accountable.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 14, 2021