China, North Korea, Cuba, Iran Denounce U.S. for ‘Systematic Racial Discrimination’ at U.N.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 20: Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations on August 20, 2019 in New York City. Prior to the meeting on the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged that …
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

China’s U.N. representative in New York read a statement Monday condemning the United States for “systemic racial discrimination” and “deep-rooted racial discrimination, police brutality, and social inequality” in the country.

China currently runs over 1,000 concentration camps for racial and ethnic minorities where — due exclusively to their ethnicity, religion, or other immutable parts of their identity — survivors say they face communist indoctrination, rape, torture, slavery, and screening for black market organ harvesting.

Following its condemnation of America for alleged racism, China led a group of allies in the committee Tuesday applauding its concentration camps.

Representative Zhang Jun made his remarks during a meeting of the Third Committee, tasked with economic and social rights, of the U.N. General Assembly, according to China’s state-run Global Times propaganda newspaper. The newspaper asserted that 26 countries co-signed Zhang’s statement against America and unnamed “Western countries” on “systematic racial discrimination.”

The list of countries joining Zhang’s statement features authors of some of the world’s most egregious human rights atrocities, most of them formal Chinese allies. Included in the list are several communist/socialist countries including North Korea, Cuba, Belarus, Laos, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and Eritrea. “Palestine,” which the United Nations accepts as a member despite not being a country, also joined the statement, along with the repressive Islamic regimes in Iran, Sudan, and Pakistan.

Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and its patron government, Russia, also signed the statement.

“Almost twenty years after the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, instances like the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake continue to take place,” Zhang said, referring to an anti-racism U.N. document, “and vulnerable people continue to suffer or lose their lives to racism and police brutality.”

“Such instances are a reminder that chronic and deep-rooted racial discrimination, police brutality, and social inequality still exist. The COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] mortality rate of minorities, in particular people of African descent, is disproportionately high in some countries,” Zhang added, without noting that the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, according to scientific studies, was greatly worsened by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) attempting to obscure the true severity of the original viral outbreak in central Wuhan city.

George Floyd was a Minnesota man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, triggering nationwide riots this summer. Jacob Blake survived a police shooting in Wisconsin in circumstances still under investigation; Wisconsin law enforcement revealed following the incident that they were pursuing Blake on charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing, and sexual assault.

Zhang also called for the United Nations to allow the lifting of all international sanctions, regardless of the human rights status of the countries sanctioned, to help them fight the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, and made a non-specific appeal in favor of “migrants at immigration detention centers in certain countries that reflects a contemporary form of racial discrimination.”

China occasionally attempts to weaponize discussions and protests regarding the status of black Americans in the country against the entirety of the American political project. In June, at the height of the George Floyd protests, the Global Times urged the rubber-stamp “National People’s Congress” of China to pass a “George Floyd Human Rights Bill” condemning America for not being communist.

“The U.S. has fallen from the moral high ground as a self-proclaimed human rights defender. It’s time for the international community to scrutinize the deplorable U.S. human rights situation,” the Global Times asserted. “China’s top legislature could also consider passing a ‘George Floyd human rights bill’ to send the U.S. a message, urging it to step up human rights protection.”

Chinese government media have also claimed, like some leftist groups in the United States, that the Chinese coronavirus pandemic has highlighted unacceptable racism existing in the country.

“Long-standing disparities in health and inequalities in access to medical care have also become prominent divisions during the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.,” the Global Times said in a column in June. “According to data released by several states and big cities, African Americans are more likely to die from COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus], prompting U.S. media to lament, ‘When white America catches the novel coronavirus, black Americans die.’”

The pandemic triggered a wave of racist discrimination in Chinese cities with notable African populations. Perhaps the largest outburst of racism occurred in Guangzhou, home to a growing Nigerian and other African population. Han Chinese landlords began evicting black people, hotels rejecting them, and restaurants — including a McDonald’s — posting statements banning black people from their premises. Those discriminating told their victims they did so because the Communist Party had blamed foreigners for the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve been sleeping under the bridge for four days with no food to eat … I cannot buy food anywhere, no shops or restaurants will serve me,” Tony Mathias, an Ugandan student, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in an article in April. “We’re like beggars on the street.”

China responded to criticism from the Nigerian government for its “disturbing” treatment of black people by dismissing the widespread reports as “isolated incidents.” The Global Times blamed Africans’ inferior “culture” for the racism and urged Africans to “readjust their way of thinking.”

China’s Xinhua state news agency followed up on the activities of the General Assembly Third Committee on Tuesday by noting that many of the countries signing onto Zhang’s statement later approved another statement supporting China for creating concentration camps in which it tortures Muslim ethnic minorities — or, as Xinhua described it, “in support of China’s counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang.”

Xinjiang is China’s westernmost province and home to the majority of the nation’s ethnic Uyghur minority, an ethnic Turkic people of majority Muslim beliefs. China claims the concentration camps in Xinjiang are actually “vocational training centers” where uneducated people from non-Han ethnic backgrounds can learn the basics of a trade to help them partake in the modern Chinese economy. Doing this, Beijing’s officials have argued, helps keep Muslims from joining radical terrorist groups.

Cuba — a nation whose government forced Christians, LGBT people, and other “undesirables” into camps in the 1960s — reportedly presented the joint statement in favor of the concentration camps.

“The joint statement commended the Chinese government for its pursuit of a people-centered philosophy in advancing economic and social sustainable development, eradicating poverty, increasing employment, improving people’s living standards and promoting and protecting human rights,” Xinhua reported. “The joint statement noted with appreciation that China has undertaken a series of measures in response to threats of terrorism and extremism in accordance with the law to safeguard the human rights of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.”

Xinhua went on to claim that those living under communist repression in the province “enjoy their happy lives in a peaceful and stable environment.”

China is expected to return to the U.N. Human Rights Council next year.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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