Smith Calls Out China’s Human Rights Record, Blasts Appointment of PRC Gov't Official to UN Human Rights Body
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, released the following statement on news that that Jiang Duan, a representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations in Geneva, has been named to the Human Rights Council’s Consultative Group.
“It is both appalling and ironic, that a representative of the People’s Republic of China would be appointed to the UN Human Rights Council’s Consultative Group,” said Smith. “From that perch, Jiang Duan will play a key role in appointing at least 17 human rights investigators, examining issues such as media freedom, torture, extrajudicial killing, and state-sanctioned disappearances.”
Smith, who also serves as ranking member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and for many years was its chairman, has held more than 60 hearings on the Chinese government’s abuses of the human rights of its own citizens.
“The Chinese government’s record on human rights,” Smith continued, “includes the systematic abuse of religious and ethnic minorities, including Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur and Kazakh Muslims, Falun Gong, and underground Christians. Indeed, there is a growing body of evidence that the Chinese government harvests the organs of political prisoners, providing organs on order for those willing to pay a blood price.
“There is no justification whatsoever in empowering a Chinese government official, Jiang Duan, to investigate human rights abuses until there is a reckoning with regard to China’s own record.”
Smith also called for an investigation of the PRC’s growing role in United Nations bodies and other international organizations, as well as attempts to influence political outcomes in the United States and other countries: “Freedom of press? The coronavirus has brought to light the extent to which the Chinese government will go to cover up the facts and forestall any potential blowback with regard to its role in suppressing information about the severity and nature of the virus that originated in Wuhan. This includes not only jailing independent citizen journalists and doctors who speak out, but also, apparently, using its influence at the World Health Organization to stifle the transmission of accurate medical information.
“I call for an investigation into Chinese influence at the World Health Organization and other UN bodies,” Smith said. “And I urge my colleagues in Congress to pass legislation I introduced over a year ago, H.R. 1811, to counter Chinese efforts to corrupt democratic institutions as well as to suppress information. Passage of this legislation is overdue, but not too late to make a difference.”