How China forced UNHRC to hand out names of activists

New DelhiEdited By: Palki SharmaUpdated: May 28, 2020, 07:20 AM IST

Representative Image  Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

Impartiality, justice, and universalism - these are said to be the core values of the United Nations, values that the Chinese regimes had bought long back

The coronavirus pandemic has busted the illusion that international organizations can stand up to China. The crisis has revealed the character of many global bodies and the Dragon's grip over them.

Now the entire world is aware of China's influence at the WHO - a body that has only acted as a tool for Chinese propaganda during the crisis.

WION has conducted an investigation into how China has used and abused another multi-lateral institution - UNHRC.

The United Nations Human Rights Council is a body that claims to fight for the rights and well-being of human beings.

It now transpires that it helped China keep an eye on dissidents.

UNHRC officials had uncovered a secret and exceptional practice at the UN human rights office. In 2013, Emma Riley was forcibly transferred to a post with minimal functions because she found out that the UN human rights office was handing names of Chinese activists to Beijing as these activists were planning to attend sessions of the human rights council.

The Chinese regime didn't want them to attend the session since it feared they may reveal too much since for them they were dissenters - not activists. So a mail was sent to the UN human rights office by a certain Mr Chen Can - an official of the Chinese mission at the UN. The mail had some names of activists attached.

WION got in touch with the whistleblower Emma Riley herself to find out and she said the policies were clear only that in this case they were not followed.

The human rights office replied to Beijing within hours. It specifically mentioned the names of two activists that had been accredited for the UNHRC session. An exceptional act - an act in clear violation of all United Nations rules and a practice that apparently was adopted exclusively for the Chinese regime.

So China was given the names of these dissidents. It clearly put the families of these activists at risk. According to Emma Riley, family members of these activists were arrested and tortured by Chinese agents. Some of them apparently even died in Chinese detention. These claims have been undisputed in Riley's court cases. 

It was the opposite of what the UNHRC should have done but how was this even allowed to happen? How is that nobody at the United Nations objected to the exceptional practice?

It's been over seven years, one can only imagine how this nexus may have grown in this period. The numerous names of activists that China may have managed to obtain from the human rights council, the numerous charges these activists would have been detained under, and the numerous crimes the Chinese regime may have committed against their families.

Impartiality, justice, and universalism - these are said to be the core values of the United Nations, values that the Chinese regimes had bought long back.