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Select Floor Statements by Governments during China’s 2018 UPR

November 6, 2018

Transcribed by HRIC of oral statements delivered in English or interpreted.

Archived video of the review is available here.

This transcription includes statements by:

Australia (0:22:17)

Australia thanks China for its report and welcomes progress in improving some economic and social rights.

Australia recommends China:

  • Cease the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang
  • Cease restrictions on Uyghurs’ and Tibetans’ freedom of movement, and allow media, UN, and foreign officials access to Xinjiang and Tibet
  • Strengthen measures preventing torture and ill treatment
  • Work toward the abolition of the death penalty and publish execution data
  • Fully protect freedom of religion or belief by ensuring Chinese law supports the rights of individuals to freely practice their religion
  • Release detained human rights defenders
  • Expedite reforms necessary for freedom of expression to be fully protected in law and practice, and
  • Uphold the rights, freedoms, and rule of law embodied in the One Country, Two Systems framework for Hong Kong

Austria (0:23:10)

We are concerned with regard to the human rights situation in ethnic minority areas of China including the autonomous regions of Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia.

On removal of organs, we would like to know how the Chinese authorities ensure that this is only [performed?] with the free and specific consent of the donor without exception.

As recommendations, we offer:

  • To review China’s national and regional security legislation to bring it in conformity with international human rights law and ensure that provisions are clearly and strictly defined.
  • Take the necessary measures to allow all citizens to enjoy the free exercise of religion or belief and to ensure that ethnic minorities can freely practice their religion and exercise their culture.
  • Grant the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Procedures access to all regions of China.

I thank you.

Brazil (0:30:39)

Brazil warmly welcomes the delegation of China and would like to make the following two recommendations:

  • Ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Visually Impaired Persons
  • Take steps to establish a moratorium on death penalty while guaranteeing that those who may be subject to this penalty are entitled to adequate legal representation and to a fair trial

We encourage China to continue its efforts towards the ratification of the ICCPR. We commend China for the progress in eradicating extreme poverty. We welcome the adoption of the law on domestic violence and encourage China to keep up and enhance its efforts to combat gender violence.

Thank you.

Canada (0:37:17)

Thank you Mr. President. We are deeply concerned by credible reports of the mass detention, repression, and surveillance of Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang. Canada recommends that China:

  • (1) release Uyghurs and other Muslims who have been detained arbitrarily and without due process for their ethnicity or religion
  • (2) end prosecution and persecution on the basis of religion or belief, including for Muslims, Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong
  • (3) ratify the ICCPR and implement these obligations across China
  • (4) ensure the right of Hong Kong people to take part in government without distinction of any kind.

Overall, we are concerned about the broader deterioration of human rights in China since the last UPR. Thank you.

Czech Republic (0:45:44)

We welcome the delegation of China, acknowledge its efforts to reduce poverty, and its multilateral engagement. We make the following recommendations:

  1. Before the next UPR cycle, set a clear timeline for the ICCPR ratification
  2. To guarantee fair trial, independent judiciary, and access to legal counsel; release all human rights defenders including lawyers; and refrain from persecuting those who exercise their rights or defend others
  3. To ensure freedom of religion or belief, and to end detention, harassment, and so called re-education of ethnic minorities, including in Xinjiang
  4. Repeal all [“errant”? “Aimant”?] laws and practices, such as censorship, which prevent the right of expression and free access to information.

Thank you.

Denmark (0:48:12)

Denmark welcomes the delegation of China. Enjoyment of human rights as provided for in China’s constitution and in line with applicable international obligations should be freely ensured for religious and ethnic minorities also in Xinjiang and Tibet.

  • Denmark recommends the government to facilitate full access to Xinjiang and Tibet for all relevant UN special procedures.
  • Within the context of the Law of Administration of Activities of Overseas NGOs, the limited number of professional supervisory units is shrinking the space for civil society in China. Denmark recommends the government to expand the list of PSUs to accommodate registration of NGOs that seek to work in China.
  • Denmark recommends the government to ratify OPCAT.

Thank you.

Estonia (0:54:55)

Estonia welcomes the delegation of China to its third UPR and would like to make the following recommendations:

  • (1) Take meaningful steps towards ratification of the ICCPR and its Second Optional Protocol
  • (2) Ratify the OPCAT
  • (3) Sign and ratify the Rome Statue of ICC and APIC
  • (4) Enable unrestricted use of the internet to all members of the society by ensuring cybersecurity and safe flow of information without violating the freedom of expression
  • (5) Enable all members of civil society to freely engage with international human rights mechanisms without fear of intimidation and reprisals
  • (6) Prohibit corporal punishment of children in all settings including in the home

I thank you.

Finland (1:10:29)

Finland thanks China for the National Report and makes the following recommendations:

  • (1) Finland recommends that China protects and promotes all human rights especially rights of all ethnic minorities, including Xinjiang Uyghurs. All the government’s policies and activities such as ethnic profiling not in compliance with China’s international human rights obligations should be discontinued and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief be allowed to visit the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
  • (2) Noting the increasingly severe impediments for lawyers to carry out their professional activities in China, Finland recommends China to guarantee the protection of lawyers against any form of harassment, violence, or attempts to impede or interfere with the defense of the clients in accordance with the international law.

I thank you.

France (01:11:23)

France recommends to China that it:

  • Implement all recommendations from the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination of August 18, on Xinjiang. In particular, put an end to mass internments in camps, and to invite the OHCHR and special procedures.
  • We also recommend guaranteeing freedom of religion and belief including in Tibet and in Xinjiang, guarantee freedom of expression, assembly, and association, including in Hong Kong, and to remove obstacles to freedom of information on the internet, in particular for human rights defenders
  • Abolish the death penalty as soon as possible, publish statistics on the number of executions, and guarantee the right to defense
  • Outlaw all forms of discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons, and
  • To sign the Convention on Protection of All Persons from Forced Disappearances.

Thank you.

Germany (01:13:51)

Germany welcomes China’s stated commitment to international cooperation in the Human Rights Council, and recognizes China’s progress in the fight against poverty.

Germany recommends:

  1. End all unlawful detention including unconstitutional mass detention of Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang and residential surveillance at a designated location
  2. Respect the rights of freedom of religion & belief, opinion & expression, peaceful assembly, and culture, also for Tibetans, Uyghurs, and other minorities
  3. Guarantee fair trials. Allow all defendants unhindered access to chosen lawyers, prompt notification of families, and transparent legal procedures
  4. Allow independent observers including special procedures unhindered access to all regions

I thank you Mr. President.

Iceland (01:20:52)

Iceland welcomes the delegation of China. We appreciate and applaud the efforts of China to ensure that more citizens can enjoy a decent standard of living, for the fulfilment of the human rights. We note that development and respect for human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

We take this opportunity to express our concerns over reports related to the Uyghur population of Xinjiang. We call on China to cooperate fully with the relevant UN bodies in this regard. Iceland makes the following recommendations:

  • (1) Ratify the ICCPR
  • (2) End arbitrary detention of those who defend and promote human rights
  • (3) Adopt concrete measures to promote women’s full and equal participation in political and public life
  • (4) Establish a moratorium on executions.

I wish China all success on its review. I thank you.

Ireland (01:24:42)

Ireland acknowledges the significant progress that China has made to improve the economic and social situation of its citizens.

Ireland is concerned at reports of the treatment of ethnic Uyghurs, in particular their detention in political re-education camps.

We urge China to respect freedom of religion or belief and recommend that China grant access to the OHCHR to all regions of the country including the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

We remain concerned about the treatment of human rights defenders and lawyers in China, and recommend that China take immediate action to allow them to exercise their right of freedom of expression and opinion without threats, harassment, or repercussions.

Ireland continues to urge China, including Hong Kong and Macau, to establish a comprehensive anti-discrimination law to protect all marginalized groups including LGBTI persons. Thank you.

Japan (01:26:25)

[Japan] appreciates the long term improvement on economic and social rights and development throughout China.

Japan is concerned about [the] recent tendency towards clampdown on human rights defenders, intellectuals, and others. We expect China to take additional actions to protect freedom of expression, including the press and communication, personal liberty and freedom of religion, including for Islamic, Buddhist, and Christian faiths. Japan is concerned about [the] human rights situation of minorities including Uyghurs and Tibetans. We encourage China to take further steps to guarantee human rights and freedoms of its minorities. Japan recommends early ratification of ICCPR and ICPPED and [INTERRUPTED BY HRC PRESIDENT] all human rights including of minorities, cultural rights, personal liberty, and freedom of religion. Thank you.

Kazakhstan (01:28:21)

Kazakhstan welcomes the delegation of China and appreciates the significant progress achieved in such areas as poverty reduction, health, and education. We also acknowledge China’s efforts in steadily expanding development assistance to other countries through ‘south-south cooperation’.

1.6 million ethnic Kazakhs currently live in China. They constitute a bridge of friendship between the two countries and play a major role in strengthening our strategic partnership. In recent years, the Chinese authorities have been carrying out a counter-terrorist campaign with a view of ensuring political stability and public order. Kazakhstan understands the sensitivity of this issue and is making use of the diplomatic toolbox through working contacts between the two foreign ministries to address the issues.

Liechtenstein (01:35:55)

Liechtenstein welcomes the delegation of China and thanks [them] for the report.

We recommend that China ensure that human rights defenders can exercise their work without being subject to harassment, intimidation, or any kind of reprisals, and that China establish a NHRI in accordance with the Paris Principles. We recommend that China takes adequate measures to protect women from all forms of gender-based discrimination and violence and that China ratify the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. We recommend that China establish a moratorium on the execution of the death penalty with a view to its complete abolishment, to commute all existing death sentences, and ratify the ICCPR. Finally, we recommend that China ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC and the Kampala Amendments to the Statute. I thank you.

Mexico (01:41:44)

We note progress achieved in China since the previous cycle in terms of reduction of poverty and ensuring better access to healthcare, and the adoption of the law against domestic violence.

We would like to recommend the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Secondly, the adoption of measures to ensure that all children, especially asylum seekers and refugees, have access to education, and thirdly, the adoption of public policy measures and laws to ensure the exercise of the right of everybody not to be discriminated against, irrespective of for instance based on sexual, religious, or ethnic origin. Thank you.

Netherlands (01:47:03)

Mr. President, the Netherlands welcomes the Chinese delegation. We commend China for the advancement of economic and social rights; however, we are concerned about the protection of civil and political rights, including the respect for freedom of religion or belief.

The Netherlands recommends:

  • First, to cooperate with and provide access to relevant UN bodies in order to help ensure that its policies in Xinjiang, particularly regarding the so-called ‘vocational educational training centers’, are in line with international human rights standards
  • Second, to adopt within one year legislation prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in all public and private sectors, and to provide positive duties on the part of government to promote equality on these grounds.

The Netherlands also recommends [CUT OFF BY HRC PRESIDENT].

New Zealand (01:47:54)

New Zealand commends China’s acceptance of its 2013 recommendation to move towards ratification of the ICCPR. New Zealand requests an update on ratification and recommends that China continues to work towards ratification by the earliest possible date.

New Zealand recommends China respect, protect, and fulfil the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, in accordance with General Comment 22 of the HRC. To this end, New Zealand recommends China recommence the two-way dialogue on Tibet.

New Zealand recommends that China implement the recommendations of the latest CERD report on China, including responding to concerns about detention of individuals who have not been lawfully charged, tried, and convicted for a criminal offense.

Finally, New Zealand commends China on reducing the number of crimes punishable by death. We recommend that China continues reform towards abolition of the death penalty. Thank you.

Norway (01:50:33)

Norway welcomes China’s active participation in the UPR and notes the positive steps taken since its last review, including poverty reduction and progress in implementation of Agenda 2030. Norway remains concerned about certain human rights issues in China. Measures to counter terrorism and prevent radicalization and violent extremism must be human rights compliant.

Norway recommends:

  • (1) Full transparency on the situation for religious minorities in Xinjiang, including by allowing UN-mandated observers unrestricted access to places of internment in the region
  • (2) To create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for all human rights defenders
  • (3) To take steps towards abolishing the death penalty
  • (4) To respect, protect, and ensure the freedom of expression of all citizens

I thank you, Mr. President.

Pakistan (02:11:55)

Pakistan welcomes the delegation of China and commends its national report.

We recommend China to:

  • Continue its efforts to maintain and promote peace and stability and the welfare of its people living in the ethnic minority areas including through action against terrorist organizations and individuals
  • Continue to expand the scale of human rights technical cooperation to other developing countries within the framework of ‘south-south cooperation’
  • Continue to promote the BRI to help other developing countries in their development endeavors
  • Continue to promote discussions in the HRC on the role of development in promoting and protecting of human rights

We are delighted to see that China has achieved the most rapid development in the last 30 years, and has created a great miracle both in economic development and in scoring significant progress in promoting and protecting human rights. China’s people-centered development approach has effectively protected the development interests and human rights of the Chinese people. We wish the government of China a successful review.

Spain (02:28:09)

Spain wishes a warm welcome to the delegation of the Popular Republic of China and we thank them for their participation in this UPR. We recommend:

  • (1) Ratifying public policy to protect human rights defenders in line with international standards
  • (2) Establish a moratorium on the death penalty, as a step prior to absolute abolition
  • (3) Streamline implementation of Initiative 5125 of the framework Law on Disability.

Thank you.

Sweden (02:31:05)

Mr. President, Sweden welcomes the delegation of China, and would like to make the following recommendations:

  • To take urgent steps to respect the rights of persons belonging to ethnic minorities, including the rights to peaceful assembly, to manifest religion and culture, in particular in Xinjiang and Tibet
  • To remove restrictions on freedom of expression and press, including the internet, that are not in accordance with international law
  • To ensure full enjoyment of human rights for women, girls, and individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities, by implementing the anti-domestic violence law and clearly defining its coverage
  • Respecting the rights of all detainees and under relevant human rights instruments and the Vienna Convention, including due process.

Sweden wishes the government of China all success in the current review. I thank you, Mr. President.

Switzerland (02:31:58)

Switzerland recommends that China should respect all human rights of the Tibetan people and other minorities, including the importance of a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, which is vital for the enjoyment of a number of these rights.

We are concerned about repression. We therefore recommend that China put an end to house arrest in specific areas, specifically with regards to human rights defenders and lawyers.

We recommend that all re-education centers be closed in Uyghur areas and that visits by the High Commissioner and Special Procedures to Xinjiang be facilitated.

With regards to the legislation on domestic violence, we recommend in particular that obligations vis-a-vis women victims that result from this should be implemented as quickly as possible. Thank you.

Turkey (02:38:46)

Turkey welcomes the recent progress made by China in the field of human rights as indicated in this national report, notably the efforts to eradicate poverty in society including among ethnic communities, [and] improved conditions to access healthcare services, which has increased average life expectancy and reduced infant mortality.

That said, China should continue its efforts to improve overall conditions in all parts of the country, especially among ethnic groups who are concerned to protect their distinct identity, religion, and language. While Chinese government’s alert against extremism could be plausible, there are concerns raised regarding some administrative practices which involve restrictions on basic rights and liberties like confinement of individuals without any legal ground and their separation from families and society. In this respect, we encourage the government to work closely with international community and to ensure recognition of universal human rights for all the population.

United Kingdom (02:42:42)

The UK welcomes progress on economic rights and reductions in death penalty offenses, however political and civil rights have deteriorated, including increased restrictions on the freedoms of assembly, association, expression, and religion or belief.

We’re very concerned about the treatment of ethnic minorities including Uyghurs and Tibetans. We urge China to respect the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Sino-British joint declaration in Hong Kong.

We recommend that China:

  • First, ratify the ILO’s Forced Labor Convention and its 2014 Protocol
  • Second, implement CERD recommendations on Xinjiang and allow the UN unrestricted access to monitor implementation, and
  • Three, ratify the ICCPR.

Thank you, Mr. President.

United States (02:44:27)

We are alarmed by the government of China’s worsening crackdown on Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. We recommend that China:

  • (1) Abolish all forms of arbitrary detention including internment camps in Xinjiang, and immediately release the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of individuals detained in these camps
  • (2) Cease harassment and extraterritorial abduction of human rights defenders and their family members, cease house arrest and travel restrictions on people based on their rights defense work, and release those imprisoned for such work, including Tashi Wangchuk, Ilham Tohti, Huang Qi, Wang Quanzhang.
  • (3) Amend the definition of subversion to remove all exercise of an individual’s human rights and fundamental freedoms from its scope
  • (4) Cease interference in the selection and education of religious leaders such as Tibetan Buddhist Llamas.