China Scolds U.S. for Racism at U.N. Human Rights Council

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general s
Wang Ye/Xinhua via AP

China urged the U.S. to “root out systematic racism” at the United Nations (U.N.) on Monday. Beijing’s exhortation comes amid mounting evidence that the Communist Party has imprisoned as many as 3 million ethnic minorities in concentration camps in an effort to erase them from society.

“The Chinese delegation wishes to recommend to the U.S. [the following]: … Root out systematic racism, address widespread police brutality and combat discrimination against African- and Asian-Americans,” Beijing’s representative said at the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Monday during the body’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States’ human rights record.

The UPR is a “unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all U.N. Member States,” the UNHRC explains on its official website. “The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations.”

Testimonies from people who have escaped China’s Xinjiang concentration camp system suggest that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has imprisoned 1 million to 3 million ethnic minorities, mostly Uyghurs, in concentration camps in the past four years in northwestern Xinjiang. Satellite evidence indicates that the CCP began building the camps around 2017. The CCP refers to the camps as “vocational training centers” meant to educate prisoners, but survivors say they endured or witnessed extreme torture, indoctrination, rape, forced sterilization, and other crimes against humanity.

The culture of Xinjiang’s native minorities differs greatly from that of China’s ruling ethnic Han majority. Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, and Kazakhs are majority Sunni Muslim and speak Turkic languages. The CCP views Xinjiang’s cultural differences as a threat to the party’s dominant power, which is consolidated within the ethnic Han culture. The party has resorted to extreme measures to assimilate Xinjiang’s minorities into Han culture through its detention camp system. Survivors of the camps say they were subjected to Communist Party political indoctrination, forced into slave labor, and endured physical and sexual abuse, among other human rights abuses.

Xinjiang’s Turkic ethnic groups are not the only minorities targeted by CCP discrimination. Human rights watchers have accused the Communist Party of racist attitudes and actions against African immigrants in China as well. Authorities in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in April enforced evictions of African migrants residing in the city for work, citing unfounded concern from locals that black people were more likely to carry and transmit the Chinese coronavirus than Han Chinese people. Municipal CCP officials allowed local business owners to deny Africans entry to hotels, forcing many to sleep on the street.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday addressed China and other nations’ rebuke of the U.S. human rights record at the U.N. on Monday.

“Brutal regimes shouting the loudest about our record have the most to hide about their abysmal records,” Pompeo said at a press conference.

Russia, Iran, and Venezuela also criticized the U.S. at the U.N. on Monday during its review by the Human Rights Council, according to the Geneva-based watchdog U.N. Watch.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration exited the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2018 after accusing the body of granting membership to human rights abusers and of pursuing policies that were anti-U.S. and anti-Israel. The council in October elected notorious human rights violators China, Russia, and Cuba to the council.


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