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Statement by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yishanat ECOSOC on Human Rights and Human Responsibilities (Item 14g)
(22 July 2004)

2004/07/22


Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation would like to make the following comment on draft decision L.21 submitted by the European Union.

The pre-draft Declaration on Human Social Responsibilities is an important document submitted by the Human Rights Sub-commission to the Commission on Human Rights. It aims at expounding the relations between human rights and human responsibilities, rights and obligations, so as to enhance fuller realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

To facilitate deliberation on this pre-draft Declaration, decision 117 was adopted at the CHR this year. This decision, based on full consideration of positions of all concerned parties, requests the OHCHR to solicit opinions of all sides on the pre-draft Declaration and then submit a report to next year's CHR session for further deliberation.

Decision 117 has invited all parties to express their views on the pre-draft. The EU, like everyone else, is entitled to express its views, criticize and even amend the pre-draft. Draft decision L.21 submitted by the EU represents however an unreasonable attempt to arbitrarily deprive all other parties of their right to express their views on the pre-draft. The EU, self-styled advocator, promoter and staunch defender of the freedom of speech, is now seeking to peremptorily stop further deliberation on this issue at the CHR simply because it holds a different position regarding the pre-draft or because the draft is not to its liking.

Such an unreasonable and undemocratic behavior of the EU reminds me of an ancient Chinese fable entitled "Mr. Ye who loves dragon". In China, dragon is very popular because it is a symbol of authority, strength and hope. Thousands of years ago, a Mr. Ye was well known for his ardent love for dragons. His mansion was decorated with carved dragons everywhere, dragons were painted on his utensils and embroidered on all his clothes. The dragon king in heaven was deeply touched when he heard about this. He knew he was popular because people were awed by his authority, but he had never met a person like Mr. Ye who truly loved dragons. So he decided to pay a visit to Mr. Ye. When Mr. Ye awoke and saw the real dragon, he was scared witless and fled in his pajamas. Does Mr. Ye truly love dragons? Absolutely not. From then on, "Mr. Ye" has been used to designate people who claim to love something while behave otherwise.

Let's take a look now at what the EU is doing in this instance. Is it in anyway different from what Mr. Ye did thousands of years ago? Absolutely not. Unfortunately, the legendary Mr. Ye seems to have found his modern version in the EU in the 21st century characterized by highly developed science, culture, democracy and freedom.

The authors of draft decision L.21 are the Mr. Ye of the 21st century. They boast of their love of freedom of speech, but in truth they only love their own freedom of speech, and oppose the freedom of speech of others. They love the freedom of speech when it serves their own interest, but oppose it the moment they hear dissension. One cannot otherwise understand why they are intent on shelving decision 117 and will not allow others to comment on the pre-draft Declaration on Human Social Responsibilities, and why they try to block further deliberation of this issue at the CHR. If they truly love the freedom of speech and decline the honor of being Mr. Ye, they could perfectly well abandon draft decision L.21 and allow comments on the pre-draft Declaration by exchanging their views and deliberating freely. But I know very well that they do not have the courage at all to face reality and challenge themselves.

In view of the above, the Chinese delegation cannot but express its profound regret at the behavior of the EU and will vote against draft decision L.21.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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