Opening remarks by H.E. Ambassador Chen Xu at the Press Conference for Chinese and Foreign Media
2022-09-09 15:35

(September 9, 2022)

Dear friends from the media,

It gives me great pleasure to meet with you at this early autumn season. Tomorrow is the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. Here, I wish you all a happy Mid-Autumn Festival.

The 51st Session of the Human Rights Council will start soon. As a usual practice, the Permanent Mission of China hosts this press conference to share China’s views and position on current multilateral human rights work. The world today is undergoing major changes and a pandemic unseen in a century, and there are many challenges in the multilateral human rights field. More and more countries have expressed concerns over the increased politicization of the Human Rights Council, the proliferation of country-specific issues and the rise in confrontation. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the UN human rights mechanism’s long time lack of investment in the field of economic, social and cultural rights, its insufficient attention to issues such as equality, social protection and protection of the rights of persons in vulnerable situation, and its lackluster in technical assistance and capacity building.

China will actively participate in the work of multilateral human rights mechanisms, including the Human Rights Council, in the spirit of constructive dialogue and cooperation. We wish to work together with others to advocate and practice true multilateralism, engage in frank and inclusive dialogue, respect the right of people of all countries to independently choose their human rights development paths, and attach equal importance to all human rights. We need to increase input in economic, social and cultural rights, the right to development, the elimination of inequality and the fight against racism. We must oppose the politicization of human rights issues and the acts of publicly exerting pressure and provoking confrontation, and jointly promote the global human rights governance towards a direction that is more fair, just, reasonable and inclusive.

I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate China’s stern position on the so-called “assessment" on Xinjiang released by the OHCHR.

First, it is a product of political manipulation and is absolutely unlawful and void. For a period of time, Western countries have frequently stirred up Xinjiang-related issue, with the political attempt to destabilize Xinjiang and contain China. The “assessment” is another example of hijacking and exerting pressure on UN bodies in order to mislead the international community’s perception of Xinjiang. Without the consent of the Chinese government or the authorization of the Human Rights Council, the “assessment” was produced based on presumption of guilt and uses the so-called “testimonies” from 40 overseas anti-China separatists as its main source. It intentionally ignores the authoritative information and objective materials provided by the Chinese government, maliciously distorts China’s laws and policies, smears Xinjiang’s fight against terrorism and extremism, and turns a blind eye to the tremendous human rights achievement in Xinjiang. The “assessment”, disregarding facts and full of lies, constitutes a great affront to the Chinese people, in particular the 25 million people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

Second, it runs counter to promoting dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights. During the former High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s visit to China, the two sides reached an agreement on a whole set of follow-up cooperation mechanisms, which fully shows China’s sincerity for cooperation. However, in disregard of China’s utmost sincerity, the OHCHR released the so-called “assessment” and closed the door of cooperation by itself. Such an act deviates from the funding mission of UN human rights bodies, namely promoting and protecting human rights through dialogue and cooperation. It provokes confrontation and division, and poisons the atmosphere of international human rights cooperation, thus brings far-reaching harm to the international human rights cause.

Third, this “assessment” demonstrates that the OHCHR has become a tool of Western countries to bully developing countries, including China. After the release of the “assessment”, many countries expressed their concerns that the “assessment” is beyond the mandate of the OHCHR and has set a dangerous precedent. They are worried that if the OHCHR targets China today, it may target other developing countries tomorrow. As long as the Western countries want, all developing countries may become “victims” of the OHCHR’s politicized practices.

Fourth, it will serve as an instrument for Western countries to suppress and contain the development of Xinjiang and violate the human rights of people there. The unilateral coercive measures imposed by the U.S. on Xinjiang have already had a serious impact on the economic and social development and human rights of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Western countries may further impose unwarranted sanctions on relevant industries and enterprises in Xinjiang under the pretext of the “assessment”, which will lead to the loss of jobs and livelihood of people of various ethnic groups, resulting in “forced unemployment”, “forced return to poverty” and “forced decoupling”, and undermining the prosperity and development of Xinjiang. This is a real violation of human rights.

Fifth, the “assessment” is an open encouragement to violent terrorists, and denigrates the successful practices and useful experiences of China’s fight against terrorism and extremism. Xinjiang used to suffer from the ravages of terrorist attacks. After its successful and productive efforts to fight against terrorism and extremism, Xinjiang has seen no violent terrorist incident for more than five consecutive years. Lives, properties and human rights of people of all ethnic groups have been effectively protected. Xinjiang has become a worldwide role model in combating terrorism and de-radicalization. The “assessment” maliciously distorts China’s laws and policies on counter-terrorism, and frames China’s punishment on violent terrorists in accordance with law as “violation of human rights”. It is a disservice to the counter-terrorism efforts made by China and the world as a whole.

Sixth, it is a typical “double standards” and fully reflects the inequality within the current international human rights system. As a result of the political manipulation by Western countries, the work of the Human Rights Council has become increasingly politicized and confrontational, and developing countries, including China, have suffered greatly. These Western countries turn a blind eye to their own serious human rights violations, while manipulating the international human rights agenda, bullying developing countries, and holding the mirror up to others but not themselves. The OHCHR should pay close attention to the human rights violations in those Western countries.

Friends from the media,

Human rights for all is the unremitting pursuit of human beings. China pursues a people-centered approach and upholds that living a happy life is the primary human right. China has embarked on a path of human rights development that conforms to the trend of the times and suits its national conditions, and has made remarkable achievements. While vigorously promoting its own human rights cause, China advocates the common values of humanity, namely peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, works to build a community with a shared future for human beings, and makes its own contribution to the global human rights cause.

In the context of Xinjiang, tremendous achievements have been witnessed in its economic and social development, as well as human rights cause. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the overall economic volume of Xinjiang has grown by 160 folds. The Uygur population in Xinjiang has increased from 2.2 million to 12 million, and their average life expectancy has grown from 30 years to 74.7 years. Living conditions of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang have been lifted up remarkably, including unprecedented changes in food, clothes, housing and transportation. Xinjiang has realized full coverage of nine-year compulsory education across the region and full coverage of fifteen-year free education from kindergarten to senior middle school in the four prefectures in southern Xinjiang. Free health check-up is provided to all urban and rural residents, and urban-rural universal basic endowment and basic medical insurance system are established, covering everybody under basic social protection. The so-called “genocide” “crimes against humanity” “forced labor” and “religious repression” noting but outrageous lies. The door to Xinjiang is open. We welcome more people to visit and see Xinjiang and feel by their own a real Xinjiang that is different from the one pictured by the U.S and Western countries and anti-China forces.

China has been consistently advocating human rights dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect, so as to expand common understanding, reduce differences, promote mutual learning, seek progress together. Dialogue and cooperation must be a two-way street. It is not justifiable to ask us for cooperation while doing harm to us. The OHCHR has shown through its own act that it is not at all interested in engagement and cooperation, and cooperation cannot continue under such circumstances. We are firmly opposed to the politicization of human rights issues, or using human rights as a political tool to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. We will never sit idly by while our own interests are undermined. China’s development and progress will never be impeded by anyone.

History and reality have shown repeatedly that justice prevails among the people. In recent years, nearly 100 countries have supported China’s just position on Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong related issues at the Human Rights Council, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly and other international fora through various ways. If any Western country dares to use the OHCHR’s “assessment” to instigate anti-China actions at the upcoming session of the Human Rights Council, it will definitely be rejected by the Developing World. The developing countries will never agree to such acts as politicizing, instrumentalizing or weaponizing human rights issues, and any kind of anti-China action is again doomed to failure.

Thank you.