China's reelection to UN human rights body regrettable: MOFA

10/15/2020 10:22 PM
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MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou. / CNA file photo
MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou. / CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 15 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Thursday expressed regret over China's recent election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), questioning the country's longtime human rights records.

"It was regrettable that China was reelected as a member of the UNHRC," the ministry's spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a regular press briefing on Thursday.

"The Chinese government has long been under strong criticisms by the democratic world for harming human rights," she said.

She cited instances that showed China was not fit to play a leading role in human rights issues.

Ou pointed out that seven U.N. special rapporteurs have openly expressed concerns on Hong Kong's human rights condition in a joint letter to the Chinese government in September, following Beijing's passage of the national security law in the former British territory in June.

More than 300 international human rights groups have also written to high level U.N. officials, including its secretary-general, urging the international body to establish mechanisms to check on China's human rights condition, Ou said.

In addition, 39 countries, led by Germany, the U.S., the United Kingdom and Japan, earlier this month called on China to respect human rights in Xinjiang and Hong Kong at a U.N committee that deals with human rights issues, she added.

On Tuesday, China and 14 other countries won seats in the UNHRC by secret ballot in the U.N. General Assembly and will serve in the U.N. body from 2021 to 2023.

Including the recent election, China has been voted to be in the UNHRC five times since 2006 when the U.N. body was established.

Ou said MOFA hoped that all members of the UNHRC fulfill their duties by checking their domestic human rights situations and protecting their people's rights to freedom of expression, religion and assembly, indirectly referring to China.

The ministry also reminded all U.N. members and the international community not to allow China to undermine human rights by taking advantage of its position in the UNHRC, she said.

(By Emerson Lim and Chen Yun-yu)

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