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China willing to accept advice on human rights

/ 04:23 PM November 08, 2018
China Le Yucheng

Le Yucheng (C), China’s vice-minister of foreign affairs, speaks during the third round of the Universal Periodic Review led by the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Nov 6, 2018. Photo from China Daily

BEIJING — China will take into consideration sincere and constructive advice on the issue of human rights, but firmly opposes vicious and groundless criticism from a tiny minority of people with a political bias, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday.  Her remarks came after the United Nations reviewed China’s human rights record on Tuesday.

The review followed a visit to Geneva, Switzerland, of a Chinese delegation, led by Vice-Foreign Minister Le Yucheng, with the delegation answering more than 300 questions from 150 countries in an open, candid, inclusive and cooperative way, Hua said.

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The review is part of the UN’s periodic review process for every member state’s record on human rights.

“There is no perfection, but only improvement, as far as the issue of human rights is concerned. China is willing to exchange its experiences with other countries with a responsible attitude on the basis of equality and mutual respect in order to achieve common progress,” Hua said at a regular news conference in Beijing.

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This is the third UN review of China’s human rights record after earlier reviews in 2009 and 2013.

During the review, the Chinese delegation introduced the achievements China has made in the field of human rights since 2013, explained its view of human rights in the new era and indicated China’s plans for guaranteeing and promoting the development of human rights going forward.

The delegation also announced 30 new measures that China will take for the protection of human rights.

According to Hua, Le said that China has achieved in several decades what it took developed countries centuries to achieve, and more than 1.3 billion people are now living peaceful, free and happy lives without fear of war or of being displaced.

It is undoubtedly the fastest progress in the field of human rights in history, and it is also China’s great contribution to the development of human rights around the world, he was quoted as saying.

On Monday, more than 100 photos and 10 short videos were shown at an exhibition at the UN Palace of Nations in Geneva under the title “Development of Human Rights in the New Era in China”.

Le said the exhibition shows “China has made remarkable progress in promoting the right to subsistence and development”.

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Lu Guangjin, secretary-general of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, said, “China has combined the principles of universal human rights with its actual situation, while successfully embarking on a route toward the development of human rights that is compatible with its national conditions.”

Ambassador Farukh Amil, the permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, said that the exhibition tells an important story.

“There can be misapprehensions and misconceptions on exactly what has been going on in China. So, it is extremely important for China to show its true face and all that is taking place,” he said.

“It is in our own interest to validate any claim whether it’s for or against this government or for or against their own government,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

“We have to look whether its true or not and then we will make our move, diplomatically,” Panelo added.

In a press briefing on November 1, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said China has built weather stations on Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef), Subi Reef (Zamora Reef), and Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef) in the West Philippine Sea.

Asked if the government was concerned with these recent structures in the disputed sea, Panelo refused to make any comment.

“Until such time as we had validated the claim, I don’t think we cannot make any response to that. We will wait for the official finding of the DFA,” he said.

“As I have said, I would defer to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. It’s his turf, he knows better than I do in that aspect. We will have to wait for an official statement coming from his department,” he added.

He said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr. was already validating the report.

“As far as I know, coming from him, he is validating that news story coming from abroad regarding this particular claim of by the Chinese government on these weather stations,” he said.

Asked what kind of validation the government was doing, he said, “That’s for the DND (Department of National Defense)  to explore what kind of method they will undertake to validate such claim.”

If proven, he reiterated the government would file a diplomatic protest against China.

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