Jewish World Review April 17, 2002 / 6 Iyar, 5762
Last year it was the UN Forum on Racism, Xenophobia, Intolerance and Dustmites, and this year it's the six-week session of the UN Human Rights Commission. You may recall that the U.S. was voted off the UNHRC last year (as good-guy countries Sudan and Syria enjoy active membership status). Until we rejoin the Commission during its next session, we are relegated to "observer" status.
At the Geneva-based forum, none of the Commission's 53 members offered a resolution condemning China's human rights record before the April 10 deadline. This, despite the fact that China's well-documented 2001 "anti-crime campaign" amounted to one of the harshest, most sweeping crackdown's on religion and free speech the country has ever seen, resulting in thousands of arbitrary arrests and summary executions.
Human Rights Watch, although totally whacked in its views on U.S. anti-terror measures, summed up the situation perfectly, denouncing the silence on China as a "lamentable lack of political will" and a "diplomatic fiasco." Recall that last year the UNHRC equated today's Israel with yesterday's South Africa.
So for the first time since 1990, China has altogether avoided facing hostile resolutions, and thus isn't even compelled to defend its human rights record before the UNHRC. (Although making a mockery out of the UNHRC in previous years, Beijing routinely used procedural maneuvers to block the resolutions from being formally introduced before the Commission.)
While the U.S. is a tad busy these days on the diplomatic and military
fronts, the State Department should have submitted a statement condemning
China's human rights record. Even more disturbing, however, is the EU's
see-no-evil approach to China, given its willingness to jump all over the
U.S. for the "barbaric" and "ghastly" treatment of the detainees at
04/09/02: Preview of 2004: See how Dick runs!