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Statement by H.E. Ambassador SHA Zukang, Head of the Chinese Delegation, on Item 9 at the 59th Session of the Commission on Human Rights

2003/04/01
Madam Chairperson,

The item on country situations was included into the agenda of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in 1967.  Since then, thirty-six years have elapsed.  The ECOSOC Resolution 1235 adopted then authorized the CHR to review "questions of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms including racial discrimination and apartheid in any part of the world, with particular reference to colonial and other dependent countries and territories". Over the past 36 years, the deliberations of the CHR have played a positive role in supporting people of all countries in their struggles against colonial rule, foreign aggression and occupation and for abolishing apartheid.  Meanwhile, as a result of the impact of the cold war, the deliberations on this item have become the flash point of sharp political confrontation between the two superpowers and the two big blocs.

Thirty-six years on, the world has undergone significant changes with only one superpower and one major bloc left.  Regrettably, the cold war characterized by political confrontation still persists in all UN bodies and particularly in the CHR. Fierce confrontation under this item is an indisputable fact.  What merits our attention is that early in the 18th and 19th centuries, almost the same group of western countries told us that the war of colonialism and aggression launched by them, which severely violated human rights on a large scale, was to introduce civilization to the barbarian regions.  Today, they are still trying to convince us that naming and shaming developing countries--the erstwhile colonies--for criticism and tabling country-specific resolutions are for the sole purpose of helping them to improve their human rights according to the will and standard of the developed countries.  Today, the accused and targeted countries are almost with no exception former colonies - today's developing countries. If someone wonders what qualifies distortion of facts, power politics and double standards, the debates on the country-specific resolutions are the best lectures.  Today, some western countries--the erstwhile colonial masters- are the best and most qualified lecturers. Indeed, this comment is apparently somewhat acrimonious.  However, this is an iron-clad fact.  The on-going 59th session of the CHR has turned a blind eye to the humanitarian disasters, blood-shed and death occurring in a certain country of tens of thousands of women, children and the elderly. It has, however, claimed in all hypocrisy its concern about human rights of some other countries. It has even left no stone unturned to make things difficult for the developing countries struggling with the process of globalization. Are we being a little bit cynical?

China used to be a semi-colonial country.  Today, it has become the independent, largest and fastest growing developing country whose people have become real masters of their own.  Today, a peaceful, stable, progressing and developing China and its independent foreign policy of adhering to principles, upholding justice and defying power politics have made a few western countries or a few figures feel uncomfortable.  As a result, they have bent on slandering China.  It is with this mentality that China has become one of the targets of attacks and allegations. At the same time, these western countries pretend to be ignorant of the serious human rights violations they committed. This is strange but thought provoking. Here, with every confidence and pride, I wish to declare, on behalf of the Chinese Delegation, to the entire world that thanks mainly to the Chinese people's own efforts and the assistance and cooperation of all countries and peoples friendly to China, the human rights situation in China today is at its best in history and will become even better.  The representatives and politicians of certain western countries have indicated in their statements their concern over the human rights situation in China and dismissed China's ethnic policy as unacceptable.  I would hereby like to tell them and even request the delegations concerned to pass on the following message if they have already returned home: It is the Chinese Government who cares most for the human rights of the 1.3 billion Chinese people and they are satisfied with the Chinese Government.  So long as they are satisfied, the Chinese Government will not change its policy.  Whether you are concerned or find it acceptable or not is in fact not entirely important and even meaningless.  Nobody on this planet can hold back the Chinese people from marching forward along the path of their choice. All that the Chinese Government has done is, first and foremost, to satisfy the Chinese people, but not the others, because we do not know what their motive is.

Madam Chairperson,

"Promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all" is one of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.  The Charter has stipulated that the way of realizing its purpose is "to achieve international cooperation". The "Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action" has also clearly indicated that "enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights is essential for the full achievement of the purposes of the United Nations".  Over the past years, the developing countries have called for the replacement of political confrontation with dialogue and cooperation.  This entirely conforms with the Charter of the United Nations and the "Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action". Do not mistaken China, we are opposed to political confrontation, not because we are scared of it but because it does not bring about a culture of peace.  Do not mistaken China, we are opposed to country-specific resolutions, not because we are afraid of them but because they do not contribute to promoting and protecting human rights.  Whoever provokes confrontation, we will have to fight to the end. As a famous Chinese saying goes, "There is no such thing as perfect human being as there is no absolutely pure gold".  Human rights in any country including China can hardly be impeccable.  All countries may well learn from each other through dialogue and cooperation.  Facing with today's situation in the CHR, we do see an absolute need to seriously reflect upon and effectively reform its work, particularly the way it tackles with the country human rights situations.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
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