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China Is Firmly Committed to a Path of Human Rights Development That Suits Its National Conditions

-Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu on China's Participation in the 48th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

2021/09/26

The 48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) is being convened in Geneva, Switzerland. In a recent interview, Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu elaborated on China's participation in the session.

Ma Zhaoxu said that COVID-19, which continues to spread globally, poses a grave threat to all people's right to life and health. What the world has achieved in sustainable development over the past decade now risks being reversed. A total of 150 million people have slipped back into extreme poverty. Social inequality and racial discrimination are getting worse. At the same time, acts that violate international law, such as external military interference and unilateral coercive measures, are on the rise, which significantly undercut the ability of the countries concerned to contain COVID-19 and realize post-pandemic recovery. Deficit in the governance of and trust in the international human rights cause keeps growing. Against such a backdrop, the 48th session of the HRC, a core UN platform for the discussion of human rights issues, is drawing wide attention.

Ma Zhaoxu pointed out that "human rights for all" is a shared aspiration of all humanity and the relentless pursuit of China. The 100-year journey of the Communist Party of China has been one of fighting for human rights, respecting human rights, protecting human rights and promoting human rights. China has found a path of human rights development that suits its national conditions, secured the historic achievement of ending absolute poverty, completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and blazed a new, China-style path to modernization, achieving outstanding progress that is recognized worldwide. With this, we have added a remarkable new chapter to the promotion and protection of human rights in China, and also left a deep mark in the international human rights cause.

Ma Zhaoxu stated that China has taken an active part in global human rights governance, earnestly fulfilled international human rights obligations and put into practice the spirit of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. China has ratified or joined 26 international human rights instruments, including 6 core UN human rights treaties, and successfully participated in three rounds of Universal Periodic Review of the HRC, becoming a role model of compliance. China has served as member of the HRC five times, one of the most elected countries to the Council. We have human rights dialogue and consultation with over 20 countries and regional organizations, and seek to expand international exchange and cooperation on human rights.

Ma Zhaoxu said that during the current HRC session, guided by the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, China has held high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and win-win and taken a constructive part in all discussions on human rights, sending out China's voice, putting forward China's proposition and making China's contribution.

We have expounded on China's vision for human rights. Committed to a people-centered development philosophy, we believe that a happy life of the people is the paramount human right, both the universality and particularity of human rights should be upheld, the rights to subsistence and development are the basic human rights of paramount importance, a systematic approach is needed to promote economic, political, social, cultural and environmental rights of all and social fairness and justice should be upheld so as to achieve all-round development of the people.

We have firmly defended international equity and justice, spoken up for fellow developing countries and safeguarded the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We have acted to oppose using human rights issues to interfere in other countries' internal affairs and issued joint statements together with like-minded countries on the human rights problems of the United States and other Western countries, exposing their deplorable track records on human rights and hypocritical nature of "hegemony in the name of human rights" and "interference disguised as democracy".

We have actively advocated human rights dialogue and cooperation, called on all parties to practice true multilateralism and promoted the common values of humanity of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom. On behalf of fellow developing countries, China has made multiple joint statements on such issues as "the importance of peace and security to human rights", "the implementation of the right to development by putting people at the center", and "the equitable distribution of vaccines", making sure the voices of the developing world are duly heard. We have also conducted thematic side events on key human rights issues, including business and human rights, protection of human rights in the context of COVID-19, and poverty reduction, to share best practices and promote exchange and mutual learning.

Ma Zhaoxu stressed that the HRC, as a platform for all parties to conduct constructive dialogue and cooperation on human rights issues, should adhere to the principles of objectivity, impartiality, non-selectivity and non-politicization. However, what we see is that some Western countries have continued to carry out megaphone diplomacy, turning the HRC into an arena of political confrontation. Based on false information, rumors and lies, they have made groundless accusations and attacks against China on Xinjiang- and Hong Kong-related issues, and grossly interfered in China's internal affairs under the pretext of human rights. It is fully justified that we reject such moves and respond resolutely.

A lie, even repeated a thousand times, is still a lie. The international community has not and will not be fooled by the platitudes of a few countries. At the current session of the HRC, nearly 100 countries expressed their support for China's position through joint statements, national statements and joint letters. They made it clear that Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet are entirely China's internal affairs that brook no interference by any country, and that they oppose interference in China's domestic affairs under the pretext of human rights issues. These voices of justice are loud and powerful. Once again, facts show that fair-minded people can tell right from wrong. China is firmly determined to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests. Any attempt to use Xinjiang to contain China or destabilize Hong Kong and attack China is doomed to fail.

Ma Zhaoxu noted that people can see clearly that those Western countries, who regard themselves as "human rights judges", don't have a perfect track record on human rights. They not only have a despicable history of slave trade, colonialism, invasion, expansion and genocide, but are also found to have serious human rights violations even today, including indifference to the right to life and health during the pandemic, "vaccine nationalism", systemic racism and racial discrimination, massive violation of the rights of refugees, migrants and indigenous communities, arbitrary unilateral coercive measures, and politicization of human rights issues. For years, these Western countries have acted as lecturers and kept pointing fingers at developing countries on their human rights in a condescending manner. This has been going on for far too long. Now it's time for them to stop!

Ma Zhaoxu stressed at the end of the interview that there is always room for improvement when it comes to protecting human rights. The process of the Chinese people pursuing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is also one of realizing social equity and justice and advancing the cause of human rights. We will unswervingly follow the human rights development path that suits China's national conditions, actively participate in global human rights governance, and continue to contribute to the sound development of the international human rights cause.

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