The Chinese government aggressively denied its human rights violations during today’s Universal Periodic Review of its record at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Despite China’s false claims, a number of countries rightly pointed out China’s systematic abuse of basic freedoms in Tibet and Xinjiang, among other serious concerns.

“The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) is deeply concerned by the responses of the Chinese government during today’s UN hearing,” said Kai Mueller, head of ICT’s UN advocacy team and executive director of ICT Germany. “It should be clear to everyone that this was not just about the rights of Tibetans, Uyghurs or Chinese human rights defenders, but also about promoting to the world the Chinese system, which quite obviously discards human rights and the rule of law,”.

A number of western countries[1], among them the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia, raised specific worries about Tibet, calling for religious freedom, unhindered access by foreign citizens and human rights observers and the release of language advocate Tashi Wangchuk, who was sentenced to five years in jail after he appeared in a New York Times video. Western countries also spoke out about conditions in Xinjiang.

However, the Chinese delegation absurdly claimed that concerns were not based on facts “and therefore full of prejudice and regretful.” Moreover, the Chinese delegation said it would not accept “politically driven accusations” and repeated its claim that China is pursuing a different path of development, which, in reality, can be understood as a path that disregards the universality of human rights.

“It was particularly worrisome to see that the top-down and authoritarian Chinese development narrative was not only left unchallenged by the international community, but was even promoted by a number of states,” Mueller said. South Africa, for example, praised the Chinese government as a “global leader of people-centered development,” neglecting the fact that hundreds of thousands of Tibetan herders and nomads have been relocated, banned from their grasslands and discriminated against by Chinese policies for years.

“The International Campaign for Tibet urges the international community to challenge China’s appalling human rights record and prevent it from becoming the new normal,” Mueller said. “Everyone who witnessed today’s review of China at the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva should understand what is at stake now.”


[1] Countries specifically raising Tibet were Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the United States.