The People’s Republic of China has been re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council at the UN General Assembly in New York today, but suffered a significant drop in votes.

One hundred thirty-nine member states voted in favor of the PRC’s candidacy, compared to the 180 votes it secured in 2016. The result, about a 25% drop in votes, showed China trailing behind Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Nepal in its regional group.

The disappointing result comes after a number of recent setbacks for the PRC at the UN. In June, more than 50 UN experts and expert bodies called for an independent monitoring mechanism and a special session of the Human Rights Council to investigate human rights violations in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.

During the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, the PRC withdrew a resolution on the right to development that it had introduced jointly with Pakistan.

Observers were concerned about the apparent intention of the PRC to redefine international human rights standards and to undermine the universality and indivisibility of human rights.

Particularly in Tibet, “development” for Chinese authorities means forced relocation and settlement and, as reported recently, the implementation of coercive labor programs.

During the 75th General Assembly in New York, 39 states joined a statement on the human rights situation in China and referred to the situations in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.

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The International Campaign for Tibet states: “While we regret China being elected to the Human Rights Council, the drop in votes shows that more and more countries strongly disapprove of the CCP’s systematic and grave rights violations in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong. The international community should now be fully supportive of an independent monitoring mechanism at the United Nations. National governments should also consider holding the Chinese government accountable for its rights violations and its lack of transparency and openness, particularly in regard to Tibet.