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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Governments statements at UN commission on Human Rights in Geneva


U.N. Human Rights CommisssionWell there has been criticism of China coming through at the Geneva UN Human Rights Commission hearings underway at the moment but the tone of countries appear tempered as a function of what potential trade deals are around.

The United States as widely reported recently tabled Resolution 503 calling for condemnation of China's recent Human rights record and now Phayul, the Tibetan news site brings us some excerpts of statements made by various countries at this year's Commission hearings.

The European Union called for continued dialogue on Human Rights between China and itself whilst voicing their concern as to the repression of the cultural and religious rights of the Uygurs and Tibetans.

The Australians only just fell short of outright praise with only a veiled side swipe at China using the "War On Terror" as an excuse for persecution of ethnic minorities. Whilst they identified the plight of the Uygur and Tibetans it was pretty weak stuff. Some big trade deals have gone down lately and there must be some more coming up! Australia is having a dream run with it's trade deals of late.

New Zealand too was less than firm failing, in the excerpts at least, to mention the Tibetans and Uygurs by name. Now I know for a fact that they want the "honour" to be the first western country to enter into a Free Trade agreement with China.

Canada ,which is home to many Uygurs and Tibetans, spoke of Uygur and Tibetan rights whilst Norway only mentioned the Tibetans.

It is a delicate balance this diplomacy thing, of that I am sure. Diplomats must frame their words in such a fashion to get a point across without causing outright offence or backing a country into a corner that it has no way out of.

As well, China has made gains in Human Rights, of that there is no doubt, so some acknowledgement and encouragement must be given in that quarter.

Let us hope that this is the motivation for the rather tepid criticism and not the fear of losing that lucrative trade deal or investment opportunity.

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