Rights watchdog slams China for covering up its records

June 11th, 2009 - 5:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Geneva, June 11 (DPA) International watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) Thursday accused China of attempting to “whitewash” its rights record at the United Nations after Beijing rejected 70 recommendations to stop abuses in the country.
The recommendations were made by UN member states at the Human Rights Council during a periodic review of China. All countries are reviewed every four years as part of the universal system.

China rejected the recommendations, a central part of an outcome report based on the country’s review, saying there was no censorship or torture in the country. Human rights groups say they have documented evidence countering these claims.

“The Chinese government has tried to whitewash its human rights record in the hope that the UN will just look the other way,” said Juliette de Rivero of HRW in Geneva. China was making a “mockery” of the council, she added.

De Rivero highlighted “heightening repression of China’s human rights lawyers” and “a tightening chokehold on freedom of expression”.

Beijing’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Li Badong, said at the end of first stage of the review, which took place in February, that he would not deal with points of contention, raised mostly by Western-bloc states, and thanked those countries that praised China’s economic advances and rights record.

China told the UN’s council that it has committed itself to strengthening human rights protection in the country, mostly on social and economic issues, like reducing poverty and improving health conditions.

The government was also said to be working on reforming the justice system.

On Wednesday, Cuba accused HRW and other advocacy groups and non-governmental organisations of being “clowns” and implied they were working for the US government.

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