More than 300 organizations are calling on the United Nations to address the rampant human rights abuses by the Chinese Communist Party.
In an open letter published Wednesday, the groups — which include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Service for Human Rights — requested that the UN create an “impartial and independent” watchdog to place scrutiny on the long-ruling Communist Party over their documented human rights abuses in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.
In the letter, the groups denounced China’s efforts to manipulate some of the UN’s work on human rights globally.
“We are dismayed at China’s efforts to distort the mandate of the UN Human Rights Council by promoting ‘cooperation’ over accountability, and opposing initiatives to bring scrutiny of serious rights violations and international crimes in countries around the world,” the letter reads.
“It has sought to deny access to human rights defenders to UN premises, denounced speakers on NGO side events as ‘terrorists,’ and threatened delegates to deter them from attending UN side events on rights violations, including abuses in Xinjiang.”
In a statement regarding their involvement in the letter, Human Rights Watch called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to “take responsibility for publicly addressing China’s sweeping rights violations.”
“China has systematically persecuted rights defenders in reprisal for their cooperation with UN human rights operations – torture, enforced disappearance, imprisonment, and stripping licenses from lawyers,” said Renee Xia, director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders. “The UN system should no longer tolerate such treatment.”
China has faced a wave of international scrutiny over the past few years, with tensions reaching new highs amid the communist nation’s refusal to accept responsibility for its lack of transparency at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.
Responding to news of the letter Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian rejected the groups’ criticisms.
“I think the statements made by these organizations are groundless and not worth refuting,” Zhao said.