On Tuesday, a cross-regional group of 39 United Nations member countries issued a stinging public condemnation of systematic human rights abuses by the Chinese Government, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet, and expressed serious concern about the effect of its new national security law on human rights in Hong Kong.
The United States, several European countries, Japan, and others have called on China to allow “unfettered entry” to Xinjiang for independent observers, including UN human rights leader Michelle Bachelet, and to urgently refrain from detaining Uighurs and representatives of other minorities.
The 39 countries also urged China to “keep autonomy, rights, and freedoms in Hong Kong and support the independence of the Hong Kong judiciary” in a joint statement read at the General Assembly meeting of the Human Rights Committee.
“We are profoundly concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the recent developments in Hong Kong,” said German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in a statement to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on behalf of the community. “We call upon China to uphold human rights.”
Supporters of the German-led declaration include the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, the several Member States of the European Union, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Haiti, Honduras, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.
The Joint Statement endorses the unprecedented call by 50 UN human rights experts for the establishment of a UN human rights monitoring mechanism in China. A new global civil society appeal from more than 400 organizations that echoed the call of experts.
The competing comments illustrate human rights tensions between China and the West. These tensions have risen, in particular, between the United States and China, and include other concerns, including responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic, trade and Beijing actions in the South China Sea.