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China has garnered support from allies and prevented criticism of its human rights record during the U.N. Universal Periodic Review.
China has garnered support from allies and prevented criticism of its human rights record during the U.N. Universal Periodic Review.

China has garnered support from allies and prevented criticism of its human rights record during the U.N. Universal Periodic Review.

This week, China underwent its fourth Universal Periodic Review

The United Nations conducts a periodic review (UPR) of human rights in member states, including China, every four to five years. This event brings the international community together to examine China’s record on human rights, which began in 2008. The process involves documenting years of human rights violations.individual victims and U.N. bodies

The situation allowed for plenty of chances to be criticized, but many countries chose to make mild statements instead.-breaking economic growth in recent years.

Numerous individuals also commended China’s unprecedented economic advancement in recent times.2003 SARS outbreak had

Although it faced challenges, China proved that it learned from the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Prolonged attempts to weaken United Nations’ condemnation of its violations of human rights.
The efforts made have yielded considerable results.

map of China’s

In June, the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) will approve China’s UPR report, once China has decided which recommendations it will follow. China is then responsible for implementing these recommendations before its next UPR cycle in 2029. They may also be encouraged to release a mid-term report, although they have not done so in the past. In 2018, China appeared to accept a significant number of recommendations, but rejected ones related to serious violations against Uyghurs and Tibetans, as well as its lack of cooperation with U.N. representatives. The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) has created a detailed map of China’s actions.

A collection of suggestions regarding the state of human rights in China from 2018 onwards.
“Released by multiple U.N. organizations focused on human rights, with distinct archives for each.”
Hong Kong and Macao.

ISHR’s Raphaël Viana David summarized China’s 2024 UPR session and highlighted some of the more critical oral recommendations:

During its human rights review at the United Nations, China’s delegates strongly denied any wrongdoing despite numerous years of evidence, which had been approved by the UN, indicating a multitude of human rights violations. These included a widespread suppression of human rights activists in both mainland China and Hong Kong, potential crimes against the Uyghur population, and forced cultural assimilation of Tibetans.

Despite China’s attempts to influence governments to parrot its own ideas and the restrictive structure of the meeting – which only gave each speaker 45 seconds – over 50 countries gave numerous, detailed and specific suggestions to Beijing regarding pressing matters.

Some of the requests made in the report were for a temporary suspension or complete elimination of the death penalty, allowing United Nations human rights envoys and mandate holders to enter the country without restrictions, ratifying and enforcing human rights treaties, stopping censorship, dismantling obstacles that restrict freedom of association, assembly, and expression for civil society, journalists, and lawyers, revoking the Hong Kong ‘National Security’ law, and putting an end to the documented practices of internment and family separations in Xinjiang and Tibet.

Before this year’s session at ChinaFile, Sophie Richardson and Rana Siu Inboden provided an outline.

China uses a variety of methods to exploit the UPR process in their favor.:

The national report, created by government officials and propaganda authorities, is a fictional piece. It does not acknowledge any of the serious human rights abuses that have been brought to light by other UN reviews or international civil society organizations, such as crimes against humanity, torture, and widespread censorship. Instead, it boasts about the progress made in promoting human rights in China. The only issues it acknowledges are “challenges in promoting high-quality development” and a lack of strength in scientific and technological innovation.

Another approach reinforces this deceit: Against the recommendations of the UPR, the Chinese government restricts the involvement of independent civil society groups in drafting the report. Since China’s 2018 UPR, government officials have taken actions such as detaining, disappearing, and forcing into exile environmentalists, feminists, lawyers, and other peaceful activists who could provide valuable input. In 2013, authorities in Beijing arbitrarily arrested human rights advocate Cao Shunli, who was attempting to travel to Geneva to gain knowledge about UN human rights processes; she passed away while in police custody in March 2014. The organizations credited for contributing to the 2024 UPR national report are all either affiliated with or uncritical of the government.

Beijing strategically encourages its allies to express enthusiastic support during dialogues and urges them to offer vague recommendations that can easily be accepted by Beijing to claim progress. For example, at China’s 2018 UPR, Azerbaijan suggested that Beijing consider implementing measures to improve the effectiveness and accountability of public services. However, independent human rights group Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders notes that some of these recommendations can actually endorse human rights violations, such as Iran’s proposal for Beijing to protect its political system.

Finally, the trustworthiness of evaluations may be impacted by the constant influence that Beijing exerts on United Nations organizations. In its evaluation in 2018, the Chinese government was able to temporarily eliminate critical reports from organizations representing Hong Kong, Tibetan, and Uyghur communities.Source]

During this UPR cycle, we saw various methods being utilized. According to Sarah Brooks, Amnesty International’s director for China, “The unfortunate reality of this UPR assessment is that China’s well-established strategy of suppressing human rights defenders in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and other areas is still in effect.”

The individuals most suitable for progressing this task were not present.. They are silenced, in prison or otherwise detained, under surveillance, in exile.” Members of Students for a Free Tibet noted that certain unidentified Chinese individuals attempted to cut in line outside of the session and

Take pictures of Tibetans and Uyghurs.
Stephanie Nebehay of the Geneva Observer wrote about
, and to restrict the participation of international NGOs

China is attempting to prevent individual activists from participating in the session and limit the involvement of international NGOs.:

The diplomatic office of Beijing has requested the United Nations in Geneva (UNOG) to guarantee that individuals who support separation from China are not permitted to attend the session on Tuesday, which requires official permission. Additionally, they have asked that any slogans or banners against China not be allowed on the premises. A communication from China, which was seen by a reporter, states that any disruptive activities inside Room XX must be dealt with quietly, safely, and efficiently in order to prevent interference with the review process.

[…] Beijing’s latest salvo was accompanied by a request for “a special security plan” for its 60-strong official delegation, and a list of nearly two dozen Uyghur, Tibetan and Hong Kong activists whom it described as being “of concern.” It urged UN officials to reject any requests from the targeted activists and groups to organize side events. [Source]

Despite this, a few Uyghur and Tibetan advocates managed to arrange demonstrations during the session.

Another example of China’s attempts to subvert legitimate human rights criticism is found in the U.N.’s official “Summary of stakeholders’ submissions on China

One of the three principal documents that govern the UPR is “The Universal Periodic Review,” which human rights researchers have cautioned China has attempted to manipulate.flood the zone

Through the coordination of groups, the submission of favorable reports has been facilitated. An evaluation by CDT reveals that the quantity and proportion of “civil society” organizations from China listed in the summary report has risen in each UPR cycle. This is a significant observation to consider.

Registered NGOs in China have legal obligations to support the CCP.

This indicates that Chinese NGOs are more inclined to submit statements in favor of China’s human rights performance.

One China-based “NGO” that contributed to this year’s UPR stakeholder report was the China Society for Human Rights Studies, which hosts the China Human Rights Network. This network aims to “

Display the progress made in advancing human rights in China.established“enhancing the dissemination of China’s voice globally”awarded

For seven years in a row, the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department and other government organizations have recognized the company as a leading cultural export enterprise. This week, the company’s X account (previously known as Twitter) was inundated with promotional videos featuring Xinjiang. snow, trade, and kindergarten drama programs in reducing extreme poverty

Rewording: China has achieved an incredible feat in effectively reducing extreme poverty.
“Additionally, it was also disclosed.”
meme making fun of American democracy, as well as an open letter

Other Chinese civil society groups have reported to the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council, alleging that other non-governmental organizations have made false claims, spread misinformation, and caused significant disturbances with the intention of attacking and defaming China.

Anouk Wear’s analysis in the Jamestown China Brief reveals how China has gained advantages through a different facet of the UPR procedure.the submission of Advance Questions, which serve as a “useful litmus test for measuring the PRC’s relationships with U.N. Member States and how they have evolved over time”:

Initially, a smaller number of countries submitted questions that genuinely criticized and raised concerns about specific topics. However, over time, countries with positive relationships with China began to submit questions that praised them. For example, in 2013, Cuba asked about China’s achievements in promoting the right to development. This increase in supportive questions shows China’s growing friendly relations with UN Member States and their ability to influence them to submit such questions. This tactic distorts the historical record and takes away from addressing real human rights violations in China. Similarly, during the Universal Periodic Review, recommendations made by UN Member States reveal that China is able to gain increasing international support and persuade countries to endorse their strategies rather than constructively criticizing China, which is the main purpose of the UPR.]Source]

Advance Questions submitted during China’s 2024 UPR cycle
Recent data shows that there has been a growing trend in the number of states issuing Advance Questions that are favorable towards China. In the most recent UPR cycle, 22 out of 36 states (61 percent) submitted positive or supportive questions, a significant increase from previous cycles in 2018 and 2013. This marks a significant change from only 8 out of 24 states (33 percent) and 1 out of 8 states (12.5 percent), respectively. The 22 states that submitted supportive questions this year include Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, Cameroon, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Laos, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

One method of gauging the change in support from U.N. member states for China during its UPR is by examining the spoken statements made during the session, as classified by Nathan Ruser, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.


To classify the level of support from states, any score above 1.0 is considered supportive, any score below -1.0 is considered critical, and any score between -1.0 and 1.0 is considered neutral. This was done using Fudan University’s method. of articles

Articles listed by the Green Finance & Development Center of countries that signed a BRI-related Memorandum of Understanding with China, while updating the BRI status of certain countries to reflect recent changes.* The results show a striking correlation between participation in the BRI and support for China in the UPR.

Out of the 161 countries that spoke at China’s UPR session, 128 have been involved in the BRI while 33 have not. Among these statements, 91 showed support, 19 were neutral, and 51 were critical. By comparing this data, we can see that 102 of the BRI-participating countries responded positively or neutrally, making up 80% of all BRI countries and 63% of all countries, both BRI and non-BRI, at China’s UPR. As for the non-BRI countries, 8 out of 33 (24%) gave supportive or neutral statements. This information is displayed in the map below.

A map of the world shows various countries colored in blue, red, and dark red.

Some U.N. members’ actions reinforced China’s efforts to avoid disapproval. The U.N.’s collection of its own evaluations of China’s human rights performance for the UPR did not include the strongest statement from the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.August 2022 report

A report on Xinjiang stated that Beijing’s actions could potentially be considered crimes against humanity. Additionally, human rights activists were upset that the High Commissioner, Volker Turk, was not present during the session.

He fled to Liechtenstein instead of denouncing Beijing.,” summarized Kenneth Roth, former Human Rights Watch director.

Because there is a lack of official information, it can be challenging to determine the official relationship between certain states and the BRI. As a result, we appreciate any comments or feedback on our final list, which may not be completely current.