China, which has often been accused of human rights violations, now has an influential role on the U.N. Human Rights Council ( Radio-Canada

  China on the UN Human Rights Council raises concern (interview)

With China now being appointed to the Human Rights Council and the ‘consultative group’ there is concern by several countries that human rights abuses will not be investigated or properly condemned.

China has itself has regularly been accused of abuse and this could now further increase concerns that the Council has become as politicized and ineffective as its predecessor.

Colin Robertson is a former Canadian diplomat to China and to the U.N.


Critics of China’s human rights record accuse the country of efforts to derail human rights resolutions whether directed at them or at others.

Colin Robertson, now with the Global Affairs Institute, is a former Canadian diplomat to China and to the U.N. (supplied)

In July last year, 22 western nations signed a letter to the U.N about China’s arrests and incarceration of  Uyghurs, and dissenters. This was followed by a letter from 37 nations, including N. Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia and others, many of whom have human rights abuses of their own people with accusations of the ‘politicization’ of human rights issues and supporting China’s actions.

Robertson says this latest appointment is part of a systematic programme of the Chinese government to seek influential positions and influence wherever it can. This is to push their global strategy of expanding Chinese interests globally beyond current aspirations in the South and East China sea, limit international criticism, and extend their power.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been aggressively promoting Chinese influence at the U.N. where it can shape policies  (Thomas Peter-Reuters)

In an email to RCI he also wrote “The UN is the global parliament and it reflects national interests. We had hoped after the fall of the Soviet Union that the liberal international order would become the norm for all but it has not and it was naive to think it would.  Russia and China see global affairs in traditional terms: as a concert of great powers each with their own spheres of influence with tributary and vassel nations within that sphere”.

He says it is unfortunate that the U.S has backed away as it leaves a vacuum and weakens the international concept of multilateralism and western ideals of ‘rule of law’.

With China now at the head of four of 15 specialized U.N. committees, there are concerns that China will not move towards a more westernized mindset, but that the world will be influenced more towards a Chinese mindset, which some critics have long said runs counter to western ideals. Germany’s foreign minister once said for example in  February 2018 at the Munich security conference, ““China is developing a comprehensive system alternative to the Western one, which, unlike, our model, is not based on freedom, democracy and individual human rights”.

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Categories: International, Politics

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