China's using its growing economic clout to silence critics abroad: Human Rights Watch

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 15, 2020, 03.32 PM(IST)

Representative Image  Photograph:( Reuters )

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Roth was speaking at the UN Correspondents Association in New York after being denied entry to Hong Kong, where he had been scheduled to release the rights group’s annual report. 

The head of Human Rights Watch has accused the Chinese government of not only creating a high-tech surveillance state at home but using its growing economic clout to silence critics abroad.

Kenneth Roth said on Tuesday that Chinese government depends on repression to stay in power, and to prevent global criticism of its tightening domestic crackdown, Beijing is increasingly undermining the international system for protecting human rights, putting everyone in greater jeopardy. 

He warned that if human rights weren’t defended, the world could face “a dystopian future in which no one is beyond the reach of Chinese censors”, with a global rights system so weakened that it can no longer serve as a check on government repression.

Roth was speaking at the UN Correspondents Association in New York after being denied entry to Hong Kong, where he had been scheduled to release the rights group’s annual report. 

''Through tools such as its trillion-dollar infrastructure and investment programme, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing is methodically building a network of cheerleaders across some seventy states that depend on its aid or business,'' he said.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said on Monday that: “It is China’s sovereignty to allow one’s entry or not.”

He indicated that Human Rights Watch is among organisations that support and instigate “anti-China activists ... to engage in radical violent crimes, and incite separatist activities hyping Hong Kong independence.”