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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.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

UN Visit Cancelled

Postponement of Torture Mission 'Disappointing' says HRIC

According to a June 16 press release by Human Rights In China (HRIC) China has once again canceled an inspection tour by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Theo Van Boven.

HRIC claims that this eleventh hour cancellation of the planned June visit is further evidence of China's strategy of immediately responding to international pressure but once the initial pressure has subsided agreements are either forgotten or conveniently postponed.

HRIC claims that this visit was first asked for by the United Nations in 1995 and initially agreed to by China but the latter has continually found excuses to cancel or "re-schedule" planned meetings.

As HRIC states in their press release admonishing the Chinese

"The PRC government has engaged in a recurring strategy of responding to international pressure and scrutiny with well-timed overtures that it and other governments can point to as indicators of China's progress in human rights reforms and willingness to cooperate with international human rights mechanisms. Once the pressure recedes, these overtures are all too often withdrawn."

This should come as no surprise to people who regularly watch China. The government employs this strategy in a variety of areas not only international relations. How many times after a major mining accident for example have we witnessed the government respond quickly by announcing new reforms or crackdowns only for all to be forgotten once the bodies are buried so to speak. Even one of the official news organs China Daily has on more than one occasion very respectfully reminded the government that it's follow through on policy announcements was often found wanting.

The most worrying thing about this case however is that it has to be viewed as an indictment on the efficacy of the United Nations. That almost ten years have elapsed since their initial overtures to have a Special Rapporteur visit the country and still no result says a great deal not only about China's stalling strategies but also about UN impotence..

HRIC Inspection tour cancelled