Human Rights Watch: China censoring world

Via ABC:

Beijing’s “crushing” oppression at home and its moves to spread its censorship to the rest of the world are threatening decades of progress made on global human rights, according to a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report.

HRW executive director Kenneth Roth was due to launch the World Report 2020 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong today, but was denied entry at Hong Kong International Airport on Monday for “immigration reasons”.

Mr Roth, who has entered the semi-autonomous city freely in the past, said on Twitter the episode was “just the latest evidence that the Chinese Government is doing everything it can to undermine the enforcement of international human rights standards”.

The 652-page annual report was instead released during a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York today.

This year’s report opens with Mr Roth’s damning essay on China’s “global threat” to human rights, which he says, if it remains unchallenged, could “portend a dystopian future in which no-one is beyond the reach of Chinese censors, and an international human rights system so weakened that it no longer serves as a check on government repression”.

The report also surveys human rights practices in nearly 100 countries, including in war-torn Syria and Yemen, where warring parties are accused of “blatantly disregarding the international rules designed to spare civilians the hazards of war”, such as a ban on chemical weapons and bombing hospitals.

It said while other governments had also committed serious human rights violations — including Australia with its treatment of asylum seekers and refugees — no other government “flexes its political muscles with such vigour and determination to undermine the international human rights standards and institutions that could hold it to account”

The HRW reportcited a slew of violations ranging from the mass detention of Uyghur Muslims in the far-western autonomous region of Xinjiang, to increased censorship, to the use of technologies for mass surveillance and social control.

It said while a number of governments and international institutions publicly condemned Beijing, few took concrete actions such as imposing sanctions.

“To protect everyone’s future, governments need to act together to resist Beijing’s assault on the international human rights system.”

Mr Roth’s refused entry to Hong Kong came after Beijing last year slapped sanctions on several US non-government organisations, including Human Rights Watch, for allegedly encouraging anti-government protesters in the city to commit violent acts.

Asked about Mr Roth’s case on Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters it was China’s “sovereign right” to decide who should be granted entry and who should be denied.

“I also want to point out that abundant facts and evidence have shown that relevant NGOs have been supporting anti-China plotters who messed up Hong Kong through various means, inciting violence and inflaming separatist activities for ‘Hong Kong independence’,” Mr Geng said

An editorial published in Chinese tabloid newspaper Global Times accused Mr Roth of deliberately seeking media attention, adding “he should have known that he and his organisation are unwelcome in China”.

“China-related reports and statements released by the group are full of prejudice, distorted facts and hostility toward China.”

However, human rights violations in China, including its oppression of Uyghurs, are well documented around the world, including by UN monitors.

The UN estimates at least 1 million Uyghurs — a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority — have been detained in mass internment camps, a claim Beijing has repeatedly rejected as fake news.

Beijing describes the camps as “vocational training” centres aimed at educating and transforming people influenced by extremism, and that many have now “graduated”.

HRW also pointed to the country’s controversial social credit system, designed to monitor and engineer better individual and business behaviour by rewarding the trustworthy and punishing the disobedient.

“At home, the Chinese Communist Party, worried that permitting political freedom would jeopardise its grasp on power, has constructed an Orwellian high-tech surveillance state and a sophisticated internet censorship system to monitor and suppress public criticism,” Mr Roth wrote in his essay.

“Abroad, it uses its growing economic clout to silence critics and to carry out the most intense attack on the global system for enforcing human rights since that system began to emerge in the mid-20th century.”

International organisations and companies that publicly oppose Beijing’s oppression also face being denied access to China’s lucrative market.

After the Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey irked the Chinese Government by tweeting his support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters last October, all 11 of the National Basketball Association’s official Chinese business partners suspended ties with the league.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver defended Mr Morey’s “freedom of speech”, but Chinese state television CCTV said “any remarks that challenged national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech”.

Mr Roth said several countries that once could have been counted on to defend human rights were also missing in action, including the US and the European Union whose attention had been diverted by Brexit and division over migration.

While US House of Representatives last month passed a bill that would require the Trump administration to toughen its response to China’s crackdown on its Muslim minority, the report said the strong rhetoric from US officials condemning the human rights violations was undercut by President Donald Trump’s praise of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The United States itself “also continued to move backwards on rights”, the report said, citing the forced separation of children from their parents at the US-Mexican border as just one of many examples.

Mr Roth said while individual governments faced a choice between China’s economic opportunities and speaking out against Beijing’s oppression, the “balance of power” could shift if the governments banded together to protest against the treatment of Uyghurs.

“For example, if the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation were to protest against the Chinese Government’s repression of Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, Beijing would need to retaliate against 57 countries,” he said.

The report also urged governments and international financial institutions to offer “compelling, rights-respecting alternatives to China’s ‘no strings’ loans and development aid”, which has been slammed by critics as a form of “debt-trap” diplomacy.

“Unless we want to return to an era in which people are pawns to be manipulated or discarded according to the whims of their overlords, we must resist Beijing’s assault on our rights,” Mr Roth said.

“Decades of progress on rights, and our future, are at stake.”

The ABC has approached China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

Here it is: Human Rights Watch is racist.

David Llewellyn-Smith

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

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Comments

  1. China accused of crimes against humanity
    https://chinatribunal.com

    I don’t see how any moral person can justify doing business in China at this point honestly. I think we sanctioned the South Africans for less honestly. Not justifying apartheid of course.

    I also find it very ironic how they think they are civilized and the rest of the world are barbarians.

  2. China itself is a much lesser problem than jelly-backed western discourse and the undermining of the nation state by the ‘woke’ and post-modern social terrorists of our age.

    Our problem is that we don’t believe in anything other than spin, opinion and nebulous personal rights; a nation state cannot survive with such acquiescence.

    As China is seeking to use technical means to control its diaspora for political ends, this has the potential to get nasty. It is essential to look at the long game – something we are very bad at doing. Scotty from Marketing has the Australia Account and will do all in his power to retain the status quo, yet this is a time where the clear expression of principle and values can hedge against future conflict. It’s time to know what these values are and hold the line as something that unites all Australians. Allowing this to play out with the usual anaemic politics is no longer an option.

    With a flat-earth PM who takes his convictions from Bronze Age beliefs, hysterical eschatology and tongue-talking delusions Australia is a sitting duck on an ever-warming pond.

    It came to this because our party system selects psychopaths and religious loons for our parliament and puts them into high office.

    • China itself is a much lesser problem than jelly-backed western discourse and the undermining of the nation state by the ‘woke’ and post-modern social terrorists of our age.

      It’s strange that you write this and then list a whole bunch of stuff that has literally nothing to do with it.

      The world is not run by “woke and post-modern social terrorists” (whatever that is supposed to mean). The world is run by increasingly conservative and authoritarian neoliberals who would love to make their empires more like China. We are just holding on to a “free society” despite them, not because of them.

      • Incorrect. The ALP and labour movements abandonment of workers and the nation state has seen their move to the right whilst embracing the inner city woke class. This began with Keating and Blair. The authoritarian right has been enabled by this whilst the ALP and labour voting base has disintegrated as they have tried to keep two mutually exclusive values together. You cannot be a labour movement whilst destroying the living standards of workers and embracing mass immigration to support neoliberalism/financialisation and free market/globalist elites. The Australian labour movement has wedged itself and only through the delusion that some other political force is at work can the blame be placed on right-wing authoritarianism. The ALPs embrace of neoliberalism ‘is’ right wing authoritarianism. The ALP is the problem. The same fate awaits the ALP as happened in the British elections.

        • Right. So you are taking the ALP’s transformation into a centre-right party and trying to associate it with scary snarl words like “woke” and “post-modern” so you can conflate them with other groups you want to describe with the same scary snarl words – like the Greens – despite them occuping literally the complete opposite parts of the political spectrum and supporting pretty much none of the root issues you are complaining about.

          You may as well just write “the boogeyman”, it would be about as meaningful.

          Meanwhile, people keep voting in Tory Governments who do everything you seem to be complaining about Labor doing, only to a far greater extreme. The last two Labo[u]r election defeats in Oz and the UK saw them go in with policies the furthest away ideologically as they’ve been from third-way neoliberalism in probably the last twenty years and they still lost.

          • No, I’d rather put it in my own words and leave it to you to accuse me of thought crimes and hidden agendas at your leisure, if that’s what floats your boat. Organisations like ‘Momentum’ (unlike the bogeyman) actually exist:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momentum_(organisation)

            So do election results such as just destroyed the UK Labour party in the UK. As do the ALP policies concerning mass migration and neoliberalism in Oz, that are going in the same direction with the same endpoint. One has no need to use scary words as the reality is scary enough. Only the wilfully blind and terminally rusted on can’t see the irreconcilable duality and inevitable implosion of the ALP base.

            But if you can look in the mirror and tell yourself that the ALP is a labour party that represents workers, go right ahead. Delusion is good for the soul apparently. I wouldn’t know as I prefer to see things as they are without being glazed in hopeful ideology.

            The Greens? You mean the so-called environment party that likes to use mass immigration to increase Australia’s ecological footprint? The one that ignores fundamental environmental principles of sustainability when it suits them and sees everything through the inner city lens of race, identity and intersectionality?

            Of course, please let me know what I really meant to say – clearly, I can’t be trusted to know my own mind or words. Such is the way of those new woke puritans alert to any implied injustice, micro-aggression and offence. I must have a motivation that I am unaware of apart from an attachment to reality.

          • But if you can look in the mirror and tell yourself that the ALP is a labour party that represents workers, go right ahead. Delusion is good for the soul apparently.

            This is literally the opposite of my position.

            So clearly you aren’t bothering with even a cursory read of anything I write, just lining up a bunch of straw men and words the internet told you were bad.

            Case in point:

            The Greens? You mean the so-called environment party that likes to use mass immigration to increase Australia’s ecological footprint? The one that ignores fundamental environmental principles of sustainability when it suits them and sees everything through the inner city lens of race, identity and intersectionality?

            Meanwhile, you claim that “the workers” are looking for representation after Labor’s betrayal, but for some reason they are also consistently voting in the same people who have been screwing them harder and harder for decades.

            Such is the way of those new woke puritans alert to any implied injustice, micro-aggression and offence.

            Keep going, mate. I’ve nearly filled out my bingo card.

      • You’re both wrong. The world is run by the monied, and they don’t care about your risible “conservative” or “woke” views, unless they can use them to accrue more money.

        A fake divide, bought into by the gullible.

        • Conservatism is an ideology that seeks rule by aristocracy. This is obviously a system that greatly benefits the monied.

          “Woke” is (as used above) just a meaningless snarl word.

  3. ChestinatorMEMBER

    “any remarks that challenged national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech”. – this bit is my favourite. This narrative sounds oddly familiar…

  4. What about the Holocaust 2.0 cotton sweat shops and organ harvesting trade!! is this really happening in 2020? amazing. wow. How does the West trade with these monsters

  5. Would we have sold a 99 year lease on the Darwin port to Hitler in 1938? what about Australian mines and farms? WHat is unfolding today is nothing short of remarkable

    • “Watch this clip in AMAZEMENT as you realize he is describing EXACTLY what’s happening in America today, where by Obama and his gang of Marxist usurpers […]”

      I LOLed.

  6. I don’t doubt China is extraordinarily repressive with its surveillance of citizens and internet censorship. Nonetheless HRW has a fairly chequered past that very much reflects the interests of the US intelligence community, which isn’t surprising considering they had a NATO secretary on their board of directors and ex US state department and CIA analysts on their advisory board. Which probably explains why Kenneth Roth has called for the bombing of Syria which the Executive director of MIT’s Center for International Studies John Tirman swiftly denounced the tweet as “possibly the most ignorant and irresponsible statement ever by a major human-rights advocate.”. Additionally Kenneth Roth has also
    The ABC article also repeats a blatant lie from HRW where it implies that Syria used chemical weapons. Only in the recent Douma incident were the OPCW able to get their own investigators into the incident site shortly after as it was quickly secured by the Syrian government. The OPCW eventually released a report stating that traces of chlorine were present. However, whistleblowers started coming out showing that those traces were no greater than expected in background environmental levels and that the expert toxicologists stated that there was no way the people the white helmets paraded around as victims had actually been exposed to chemical weapons. The original faked attack had thousands of press articles on it and was used by the US and some of its EU lackeys to launch a missle attack on Syria (which is a war crime). The expose of the OPCW corruption has pretty much only been reported by one reporter in the MSM in english and that is Peter Hitchens. Tariq Haddad tried to report it in NewsWeek but got rejected by the editors. The mistake you make in criticising China’s censorship is that it is blatant and widespread it is nowhere as effective as corporate censorship in the western MSM. When it comes to foreign policy the vast majority in the western world do not encounter views outside the narrow overton window of the medias owners and those views are massaged by the intelligence services as well.

  7. John Howards Bowling Coach

    The issue for Australia is selfishness. It is obvious enough with some actual thought that the nation can quickly be a lot more wealthy by immediately stopping foreign investment, taxing the transfer of profits offshore, and using the super fund war-chest to buy up foreign assets that serve to counter an ageing workforce and reduce the impact of a decline in personal income taxes from that ageing workforce. BUT the issue is that we have (since Howard’s era largely from my observation) become so selfish that only personal and not national wealth matters. So Australian voters cheer for the selfishness of property speculation etc at the expense of being a productive nation, of owning our national assets. So what I see is the need for a more nationalist government with a Lee Kwan Yew type leader to rally the populace behind what is good for the country ahead of short term(ism).

    As to the issue of China and their manipulation of the globe, they are very cunning, not at all creative and just learn from others. China is a totalitarian state and the envy of so many governments of the world. Scomo would give 3 Hail Mary’s to be able to monitor and have instant reporting on every single voter of the nation. There needs to be a revolution here at home to ensure that never happens as it is happening by stealth. As to what happens to the Chinese, that’s their own problem, their own need to have another revolution is not something we have time to worry about while we have a short term mentality and a happy clapper at the helm.

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