The redundancy of international organisations like the United Nations and the WHO have again come to the fore as the human civilisation faces an existential threat in the wake of the pandemic. While the WHO has colluded with China and aided in the spread of the virus, the United Nations has been missing in action and thanks to archaic laws, the UN couldn’t even hold a discussion on the pandemic as China occupied the monthly chair of the UNSC. While there are calls across the globe to make China pay for its sins, it seems that China has been rewarded by the United Nations. Despite its horrendous record on human rights, China has been appointed to a panel on the UN Human Rights Council where it will help vet candidates for important posts.
It seems that the UN has learnt nothing from the pandemic where Dr Tedros led WHO has completely succumbed to the Chinese Communist Party so much so that the WHO officials are also being thought policed. China has been rewarded with a position in the UNHRC that will pick human-rights investigators. Jiang Duan who is a minister at the Chinese Mission in Geneva has been appointed to the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Consultative Group — where he will act as the representative of the Asia-Pacific states.
Instead of being punished for its initial COVID-19 coverup, China has been rewarded with a position in a key UN Human Rights Council panel that will pick human-rights investigators: https://t.co/wtqC4d8SM2. But if the world wishes to hold China to account, this is how to do it: pic.twitter.com/A3UyCSE8dn
— Brahma Chellaney (@Chellaney) April 4, 2020
U.N. Watch which is a Geneva based human rights watchdog has reacted furiously to this development and termed it “absurd and immoral” for the decision to allow the Chinese Communist Party to play a key role in selecting human rights officials. “Allowing China’s oppressive and inhumane regime to choose the world investigators on freedom of speech, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief,” said its Executive Director Hillel Neuer.
This development means that the Chinese Communist Party is all set to pick at least 17 human rights investigators, including those looking at freedom of speech, enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention — which is a regular occurrence in Xi Jinping’s China.
Over the past few years, the UNHRC has been severely discredited thanks to giving membership to the countries with a shady human rights record. From publishing a pro-Pakistan report on Kashmir to giving a seat to the likes of Venezuela, where human rights abuses are a regular occurrence under the regime of Nicolas Maduro, the UNHRC has lost all its credibility.
In 2018, the USA left the UNHRC with the then-U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley calling the council as, “a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias.”
China’s ascendancy to key position in the UNHRC not only allows it to pontificate to other nations about human rights but also effectively shields the CCP from any actions against its atrocities on Uyghurs or the sudden disappearance of the dissenters.
Recently, Dr. Ai Fen, the Director of the Emergency ward at the Wuhan Central Hospital has gone missing because she dared to expose the CCP’s cover up. She spoke about the Coronavirus outbreak in an interview to the Chinese magazine, Renwu (or people) last month, in which she had disclosed how she had found several patients with flu-like symptoms in the month of December last year who were not responding to the usual treatment methods. She later also received a lab report about one of the patients which contained the words “Sars coronavirus”.
Breaking into cold sweat, Dr. Ai Fen knew that a novel virus, a cousin of the 2003 SARS outbreak had struck the world. She circled the word Sars, and sent a photograph of the report to her former medical school classmate. Soon, the photograph was doing the rounds amongst the Wuhan medical circles. But the photograph that was doing the rounds caught the eye of China’s censor authorities, and the police tracked her down as the source of information. That night itself, Dr. Fen received a message from her hospital that warned her against divulging information about the mysterious virus, on the ground that it could cause panic. Two days later, she was summoned by the head of hospital’s disciplinary committee and reprimanded her for “spreading rumours” and “harming stability”.
In her interview, Dr. Ai Fen also said, “If I had known what was to happen, I would not have cared about the reprimand. I would have f*****g talked about it to whoever, where ever I could.” She also said, “I knew there must be human to human transmission.”
Throughout the pandemic, the CCP has heavily cracked on free speech. In February, two journalists – Chen Quishi and Fang Bin had also disappeared mysteriously. Their crime? They unmasked the true face of the Chinese Communist Party as they exposed the government’s inability to tackle the virus at its epicentre in Wuhan. Chen’s colleague and journalist Fang Bin secretly filmed 8 bodies in 5 minutes in 1 Wuhan hospital ward and Chen was immediately arrested the same night by the Chinese authorities.
When Dr. Wenliang on December 30, sent a message to fellow doctors in a chat group warning them to wear protective clothing to avoid infection, four days later he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau where he was told to sign a letter. In the letter, he was accused of “making false comments” that had “severely disturbed the social order”. He was one of eight people who police said were being investigated for “spreading rumours”. Local authorities later apologised to Dr Li. In his Weibo post he describes how on 10 January he started coughing, the next day he had a fever and two days later he was in the hospital. He was diagnosed with the Coronavirus on 30 January and later succumbed to the virus.
In February, Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a nonprofit organization with extensive contacts in China, has already tracked more than 300 cases of internet users who were penalized for sharing unofficial information on social media. While Quishi and Bin’s account have been completely scrubbed off the Chinese web space, the government is now resorting to penalise those who dared to share their posts.
Ren Zhiqiang, a member of China’s ruling Communist Party and a former top executive of the state-controlled property developer Huayuan Real Estate Group has also mysteriously disappeared after he directly criticised Xi Jinping over his failure to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.
While the pandemic has exposed the skeleton’s in the CCP’s market, China’s brutal crackdown on the Uyghur muslims is gut wrenching. In September last year, Lawyer Hamid Sabi, speaking at the UNHRC headquarters in Geneva claimed that the Chinese government is harvesting and selling organs from persecuted ethnic and religious minorities including the Uyghur Muslims, who are being persecuted at an accelerated pace.
A heart wrenching account from a former Falun Gong prisoner exposes the sheer brutality with which such crimes against humanity were committed. He told the Guardian, “after about a month in the camp, everyone was handcuffed and put in a van and taken to a huge hospital. That was for a more thorough physical check-up. We were given X-rays. On the third occasion in the camp, they were drawing blood from us. We were all told to line up in the corridor and the test was given.”
As per such reports, political prisoners, including Falun Gong practitioners, who the Communist Party of China sees as a threat to their rule, are being subjected to supposedly on-demand execution in order to provide organs to recipients. The Falun Gong practitioners practise a unique form of meditative practice, derived from Buddhism and Taoism. The Chinese Communist government has been trying to eradicate the religion for decades. There is substantial evidence corroborating accusations of Falun Gong practitioners being killed for the purpose of organ harvesting. Such allegations find considerable proof in the disparity between the number of transplants and known sources of organ donation.
China has a very low number of voluntary organ donors, at an average of just more than 100 per year. However, the number of organ transplants run into thousands. This number shot up in a big way only after 2004. In fact, a report says that in China, over 60,000 to 100,000 transplants have been taking place annually, to the point that surgeons have ‘lost count’.
Since 2018, Uyghur families in Xinjiang have to mandatorily invite government officials into their homes, provide them information about their lives and political views, and comply with political indoctrination. The Chinese administration is trying to ethnically cleanse Xinjiang by practising the “Pair Up and Become Family” programme which involves the country’s Han ethnic majority officers – to stay in Uyghur households every two months as a part of the programme.
The Chinese government describes the spies as ‘relatives’ of the monitored families and have to work, eat, and often share a bed with their ‘hosts’ as the Uyghurs are compulsorily made to stay with their ‘paired relatives’ day and night. A Communist Party officer was quoted, “Normally one or two people sleep in one bed, and if the weather is cold, three people sleep together.” The officer described the spies as “helping” the Uyghur families “with their ideology, bringing new ideas” and “talk to them about life, during which time they develop feelings for one another”.
While the Chinese government continues to maintain that it’s a voluntary exercise, the Uyghurs are well aware that refusing any state-sponsored activity can lead to being branded a potential extremist as recently, an Uyghur woman was sentenced to a detention centre for the ‘crime’ of pursuing her higher education in Egypt. The control has been totalitarian as the ‘relatives’ are now even attending private functions like weddings, funeral and other Uyghur occasions. Human Rights Watch has previously said Uyghur families are given no option to refuse the visits, which it said were an example of “deeply invasive forced assimilation practices” that “not only violate basic rights but are also likely to foster and deepen resentment in the region”.
The CCP is fully aware that China would be in deep trouble if international organisations decide to act against its atrocities and hence, the CCP is infiltrating international organisations at a break neck speed so as to ensure that China is never held accountable for its sins.
China has injected millions of dollars and infiltrated top-tier positions in nearly every international body and it is not afraid to use them to its favour every now and then.
The United States of America under President Donald Trump has let go of the wheel of major international organizations by cutting funding and participation in these institutions (Read; UN, WHO, FAO). As a result, there has been a major power vacuum and China has grabbed this opportunity with both hands.
The Chinese government, the second-largest contributor (10.8%) to the UN budget, has been considering the question of how to send more Chinese to work in the UN system. China has been continuously revamping its human resource deployment to organizations like the UN.
In June last year, the Indian government quietly withdrew the candidate it had nominated for the post of Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization. As India faced certain defeat to China’s Qu Dongyu, New Delhi, in order to soften the humiliation at the multilateral forum, pulled back. The election of the Chinese vice-minister for agriculture to head the UN’s largest technical agency was a significant victory for Beijing as it seeks to expand its diplomatic influence. Qu won the ballot in Rome securing the votes of 108 of the 191 participating countries without much campaigning.
Another example of a UN body going China’s way is UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In 2011, the United States cut off $80 million in annual funding to UNESCO—about 22 per cent of its entire budget. China raced to fill the void, pledging millions of dollars in extra-budgetary support for education programs. Beijing has increased its monetary contributions to the United Nations fivefold in the past decade thereby cementing its position to control any narrative that it thinks suits its stance.
Again, the UN’s severe underfunding problem coupled with the US withdrawal from UNHRC has helped China to take the front seat of another important UN body. China has gone as far as suggesting the phrase “human rights defender” to be removed from the UN lexicon.
As China continues to have its way in the international organisation despite the thousands of deaths and millions of infections that has slid the world economy into a state of recession, not just the UNHRC but also the United Nations as a whole stands discredited as they are wilfully allowing China to make a mockery of the world.