Image: original artwork by @badiucao/text amendment from @tibettruth
If you were asked to vote on which is more important, development or human rights, you may abstain on the reasoning that the two are in a way interdependent. How would you decide if this choice was amended by an insistence that human rights are not universal, but defined by the social, cultural and political characteristics of each state? Are you reaching for the reject button yet?
Well that ‘reasoning’ is being successfully argued by the Chinese regime (no surprise there then) within the United Nations Human Rights Council, of which incredibly it is a member. Its representatives have for some time now been pushing an agenda which affirms‘human rights with Chinese characteristics’.
In short that means subservience to the dictate of the state, development minus the protection (or respect) for individual human rights. The sort of deal that would have corrupt governments and corporations salivating, right?
At the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee in Geneva which closed February 22, a resolution proposed by China in 2017 (and adopted) entitled, “The contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights” was before the Committee for a vote. This followed a request by the United States.
The Chinese resolution was adopted by a vote of 30 in favour to 13 against. What does that say of the motive of member states which voted their approval? What chance has human rights when the very international institution charged with its protection diminishes its importance in favor of unfettered development?
Even a glance at the news streams reveals just how screwed are global politics, none more so perhaps than within the United Nations. Which this week is meeting to appoint, or more correctly reappoint (minus any genuine opposition) a number of states onto its Human Rights Council. The list of those (a few will be stepping down at the end of the year to replaced by equally worrying nations) set to legislate and investigate human rights includes Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, China, Cuba, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Now there’s a bunch of authorities we can all reply upon to champion free-speech, civil, political and human rights, not!
Meanwhile the head of the European Union’s Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini and government representatives are keeping silent on the ethical concerns on having human rights abusers and oppressive regimes awarded responsibility for protecting freedoms and rights.
Meng Hongwei is a loyal member of China’s Communist Party, since November 2016 he has has also been the President of Interpol, the global policing partnership. An election greeted with considerable alarm among human rights groups, which were justly concerned his appointment would lead to abuse of the organization’s powers to issue international arrest warrants. Particular targets would of course be those voices of dissent against the Chinese regime. Which while terrorizing Tibetans, torturing Uighurs and vicously oppressing its own people is cynically branding protesters against its tyranny as terrorists.
It’s an irony off of the scale for sure. Meanwhile the world’s most repressive state, which maintains its power through forced labor camps, torture, executions and censorship has its Deputy Minister Of Public Security (the very department that inflicts such violations) leading Interpol!
This week Beijing is hosting Interpol’s annual assembly and Meng Hongwei will be ensuring that ‘terrorism’ is given prominence on the agenda. No doubt his keynote speech will receive warm applause from international police representatives. It will also please the Chinese regime which is slyly seeking to legitimize (and manipulate global political opinion) its oppressive actions in East Turkistan as a just response to what it claims are terrorists. They would expect nothing less of their ideological colleague, who during a briefing of a Chinese police unit being dispatched to Syria during 2014 advised them to place:
“Politics first, party organization first and ideological thinking first.” (Source: New York Times November 10, 2016)
How such thinking complies with and respects the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Interpol is supposed to uphold as a core value, is difficult to understand. If anything it suggests that Meng Hongwei has a clear conflict of interest. While his position as a Chinese Minister presiding over a department which systematically inflicts a range of abuses makes a mockery of any claim that Interpol is commited to human rights principles.
Cambridge University has a tradition of accommodating the Chinese regime, we need only to recall a willingness of Trinity College to host in 2013 prominent members of China’s Ministry of Public Security. On the condition from conference organizers that no mention of human rights or issues such as Tibet were permitted!
Now the University is embroiled in another China-linked controversy, as Cambridge University Press (CUP) has conformed to a demand from the Chinese authorities to block online access to journals and other data. Unsurprisingly the subject areas targeted for such censorship include Tiananmen, the so-called Cultural Revolution, Tibet, East Turkistan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
In response to the international concern and outrage which has followed CUP has issued a statement which contains the following:
“The issue of censorship in China…is not short term issue and therefore requires a longer term approach.….we will continue to take every opportunity to influence this agenda”. Emphasis added. (tweeted by @CambridgeUP 8/8/2017)
Such a response has a worrying similarity to comments drafted by the British equivalent of the State Department, which also masks its appeasement of China with arguments of ‘constructive engagement’ and being a ‘force of moderation’. In truth however such change never materializes, the human rights atrocities continue, forced labor camps flourish, women forcibly sterilized, while Tibetans are brutally denied their cultural and national freedom.
Cambridge University Press is hiding behind the same self-serving justification, yet in doing so it is in contradiction to the values of human rights and freedom of thought it claims to champion.
“Freedom of thought and expression underpin what we as publishers believe in..” (tweeted by @CambridgeUP 8/8/2017)
Really? From where most reasonable and intelligent folks are standing CPU looks to be in an indefensible position. Being actively complicit in censorship on the inane suggestion that at some undetermined future point its engagement with China’s regime can realize ‘progress’. Meanwhile blood-stained cash from China continues to fund the world of academia and Cambridge University no doubt benefits from its more than cordial relations with the Chinese authorities and numerous companies and institutions!
Amazing to see so many women and men on the streets in support of the Women’s March, while the event received international appreciation across social media the questions posed by the image above are valid and thought provoking.
How much trust and credibility can we invest in reports arising from collaborations between western academic institutions and Chinese universities, especially if the subject under examination is an issue of immense political sensitivity to China’s regime?
Contemplating that question it’s important to remind yourself that under the totalitarian control of the Communist Party of China universities do not have the liberal freedoms or operational independence enjoyed by institutions in the USA, Canada, Europe, and countries in Asia such as India.
The presence of the state and its political interests imposes a suffocating pressure across China’s academic community, and this is felt most acutely within those areas deemed as critical to the national or party interest.
One such topic, that attracts international concern is China’s notorious coercive birth control policies, its associated human rights atrocities and demographic and social impacts. Western media is awash with reports on China’s gender imbalance, or claims from the Chinese regime that the ‘one-child’ policy has been ended. Sadly less attention is given by the same champions of free speech to the harrowing range of violations suffered by women across China who face forced sterilizations, forced abortions, arbitrary arrests, loss of employment and denial of housing. The coercion has not gone away, although you may be forgiven for thinking so when viewing the reportage from mainstream media.
But then we have to remind ourselves that such articles are being composed from within China, derived in the most part from official Chinese ministries, who exert a tight control over foreign correspondents. In addition over recent years at a senior executive level media agencies such as Associated Press, Reuters, the BBC have developed a close association with China’s authorities. We must consider also the political influences which operate within such agencies, no doubt they conform to the policy of their respective governments towards China.
An accommodation would seem to have been reached, at the center of which is an active willingness to comply with Chinese demands on reporting of issues seen as sensitive. These include Tibet of course, but also the whole subject of population control policies and their consequences, is it any wonder then that journalists based in China, sourcing their reports from Chinese officials, aware that any violation of their contract with the Ministry Of Information or Foreign Affairs could result in their visa being withdrawn produce articles that echo the official line?
This appeasement, for that is what it is, is illustrated most tellingly in the manner in which China’s population issues are reported, indeed so slanted is such coverage that it’s authorship may as well be credited to National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China!
Take for example a report today which is across the media ‘China’s Missing Girls Actually Exist’ a claim deriving from recent statistical analysis by a collaboration between University of Kansas and Shangxi Normal University that Chinese women; thought once to have not existed due to the demands of the population control program and cultural preference for having male birth, now apparently exist.
The tone and content of this report characterizes the issues mentioned above, diluted and compliant journalism, combined with a source that relies upon Chinese statistics, which are often used for political and propaganda purposes. One also evaluated by a Chinese University controlled, monitored and authorized by China’s regime, in partnership with a foreign academic institution; that in order to operate within China most probably has to comply with and be sensitive towards the China’s authorities.
These important considerations of course have been ignored by mainstream media who are channeling the report with a credulity that must be bringing a warm glow of satisfaction to China’s regime. The story which is being ignored is that a docile media is at best being manipulated to promote China’s politically engineered propaganda, at worst it is a willing partner in spreading disinformation. What would be the object of such a deception and as Sherlock Holmes may inquire, who would most benefit?
Well we already have some indication provided by the political realities that apply to the issue itself within China, that the findings are drawn from China’s census, which as already mentioned is politicized data. Further explanations can be extracted from comments offered by a joint-author of the report:
“People think 30 million girls are missing from the population. That’s the population of California, and they think they’re just gone…..Most people are using a demographic explanation to say that abortion or infanticide are the reasons they don’t show up in the census and that they don’t exist. But we find there is a political explanation.”Source John Kennedy, Associate Professor of Political Science. University of Kansas (emphasis added)
Now it might be, although don’t hold your breath, that deep inside the report Professor Kennedy and his co-author Shi Yaojiang, of Shaanxi Normal University have included a disclaimer to the effect that their ‘findings’ are not stating that countless numbers of female fetuses weren’t forcibly aborted, or female babies abandoned as a result of the brutalizing pressures of China’s coercive population control policies and/or the influence of cultural preferences for a male child.
So far we have not noticed such an assertion, and shall happily welcome such an inclusion, meantime what we are left with is an impression that looks to be trying to exonerate China’s regime by deflecting criticism and attention away from its vicious population control policies (as a determining factor of the gender-imbalance) to some administrative oversight or expediency at we are invited to believe, local level.
Unlike mainstream media we exercise a critical eye of any information associated with the Chinese authorities and so evaluate this report with particular scrutiny. China has a long record of using academics to peddle its propaganda, it concludes that in doing so its purposes are concealed and given a more credible and authoritative gravitas. This latest effort while consumed and reported as fact by CNN, AP, Reuters, BBC et al when examined carefully raises serious questions, not least of all its accuracy, motivation and purpose.
So the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) launched March 14 it’s 60th Session and New York is again hosting hundreds of women’s NGOs and several thousand female activists all gathered to champion gender equality and end violence against women. Not all forms of violent behavior though, some it would appear are entirely acceptable to the United Nations, particularly China’s forced sterilizations, an issue which remains regularly ignored and evaded by those who gather annually at the UNCSW.
Yesterday Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women sat around the table with an old old friend of the UNCSW, Ms. Meng Xiaosi, member of China’s communist party, Minister and Vice-Chairperson of National Committee on Women and Children under the State Council China. She’s also vice president of the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF), a national organization that assists in the enforcement of China’s notorious population control policies upon women in China, and occupied Tibet and East Turkestan.
As we reported previously, in March 2010 as a delegate attending a UN meeting she received the applause of the UNCSW and Women’s NGOs. Just a few weeks later Ms Xiaosi was congratulated by her psychopathic colleagues in the Chinese regime, when in a period of two weeks nearly 10, 000 women were sterilized in one city alone! Of which Amnesty International noted at that time: “Local officials aim to sterilize 9, 559 people by 26 April, some against their will, in a drive to meet family planning targets in Puning City, Guangdong Province, southern China…The local authorities claim that by the end of 11 April, the 20-day campaign had already met 50 per cent of its target. A local doctor, quoted in the Chinese media, said that his team was working from 8am until 4am the next day performing surgeries for sterilization. Local reports suggest at least some people are not freely consenting to being sterilized”
The ideological storm-troopers of Ms Meng Xiaosi’s All China Women’s Federation infest every village, town and city, and are responsible at a local level for the enforcement of the population program. Through a spiral of intimidation and coercion they trample over women’s human and reproductive rights to meet Government population targets, imposing fines, organizing education campaigns, withdrawing employment and housing rights, and if such bullying fails, forcibly sterilizing women.
As a leading communist Chinese Minister, with responsibility for women, and particularly her role in the All China Women’s Federation, Meng Xiaosi has played a prominent role in planning and authorizing China’s population control tyranny, which has attracted international attention and condemnation from human rights organizations such as Amnesty International:
“Forced sterilisation (sic) amounts to torture, and it is appalling that the authorities are subjecting people to such an invasive procedure against their will. Reports that relatives are imprisoned as a means of pressurizing couples into submitting to surgery are incredibly concerning. The Puning City authorities must condemn this practice immediately and ensure that others are not forcibly sterilised. (sic)” (Kate Allen Director of Amnesty International UK)
Despite that atrocity against women’s human rights being widely reported the UNCSW offered not a single word of protest, while Ms Meng Xiaosi continues to enjoy the most cordial and supportive of relations with UN Women. On the issue of China’s forced sterilizations the UN Commission on the Status of Women and its associated NGOs have proved disappointingly apathetic to the plight of their sisters who are being subject to the horrors of such atrocities. This major violation of women’s human and reproductive rights is consistently ignored and avoided by the CSW and many women’s NGOs. Who this year will again be issuing declarations of intent to end all violence against women and girls. Apart that is from the psychotic violence inflicted upon women China’s forced sterilizations program. Atrocities neither recognized or condemned by the champions of women’s rights. Welcome to the hypocritical and integrity free world of @UN_CSW @UN_Women and related Non-Governmental Organizations.