Asia - Pacific

China says human rights should not be politicized

Chinese foreign minister says ready for cooperation with UN human rights office, calls for end to ‘double standards’

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 24.05.2022
China says human rights should not be politicized


China's foreign minister on Monday in a meeting with UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called for refraining from "politicizing human rights."

Wang Yi met with the visiting UN high commissioner for human rights in Guangzhou, a sprawling port city northwest of Hong Kong.

Bachelet is on a week-long visit from May 23-28 to China where she will meet several high-level officials at the national and local levels.

Wang called Bachelet’s visit of “landmark importance for both sides,” the country's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“This trip would help enhance understanding and cooperation, and clarify misinformation,” Wang noted.

The Chinese foreign minister said multilateral human rights institutions “should serve as a major venue for cooperation and dialogue rather than a new battlefield for division and confrontation.”

“China stands ready to carry out constructive cooperation with the OHCHR on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment,” he told the UN human rights chief.

The high commissioner is in Guangzhou and will also visit Kashgar, and Urumqi, cities where a large population of the persecuted Uyghur community lives.

‘Reject double standards’

In order to “advance the international cause of human rights,” Wang told the visiting UN delegates: “We must first respect each other and refrain from politicizing human rights.”

As the visit gets underway, global rights watchdog Amnesty International also called on the UN rights chief to “address crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations” when her team visits Xinjiang this week.

The cities of Kashgar and Urumqi are located in the Xinjiang autonomous region, which is home to ethnic Uyghurs.

Several countries have accused China of ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Beijing has denied any wrongdoing, calling the allegations “lies and (a) political virus.”

However, Wang said the international community should “reject double standards” and “uphold fairness and justice.”

“Seek truth from facts and take into account national conditions and development stage of a country,” he told Bachelet, adding that efforts should be made to “stay open and inclusive” besides opposing “bloc confrontation.”

“Major countries, in particular, should take the lead in practicing multilateralism, upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respecting the international law, and defending international fairness and justice,” he added.

Wang said China has “given top priority to ensuring the right to subsistence, put enhancing the right to development high on its agenda, and made the protection of citizens’ legitimate rights and interests its basic task.”

“China has also made safeguarding the ethnic minorities’ rights an important part of its work, and protecting people’s safety its long-term goal,” he said.

According to China’s Foreign Ministry, Bachelet “congratulated” China on its “important achievements in economic and social development and human rights protection.”

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