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UN torture committee urged to hear overdue China report, its pro-Beijing member a worry

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(TibetanReview.net, May03’22) – A “Country Report” on China’s compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture has been overdue since 2019. Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Jim McGovern, the co-chairmen of the US Congressional Executive Commission on China, a body established by Congress to monitor China’s human-rights record, had late last month called on the UN’s Committee Against Torture to take up the review in light of the ongoing atrocities, especially against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, reported the nationalreview.com May 2.

One possible stumbling block is Huawen Liu, an academic with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party, who Beijing succeeded in getting elected to the committee last year.

Writing to the Torture Committee’s chairman Claude Heller, Merkley and McGovern have said: “We likewise note that the PRC has not responded to the August 2018 follow-up inquiry made by the Committee Against Torture . . . which raised concerns over continued reports of abuse and harassment of lawyers, the lack of an independent torture investigation mechanism, and the lack of articulated plans for implementing ‘some or all of the remaining recommendations’ included in the 2015 Concluding Observations.”

They were also stated to have cited a number of recent cases that feature credible claims of torture across China, including in Tibet, Xinjiang, Guangdong, and Fujian.

“The human rights situation in China has demonstrably worsened since the Committee’s last review in 2015, particularly in the XUAR (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region), which prompted the United States government and policymakers of multiple countries to determine that Chinese authorities have committed genocide or crimes against humanity against Turkic Muslim and other minorities in the region,” the lawmakers were stated to have written.

Liu’s election to the Torture Committee last October might prove to be an obstacle to any independent UN effort to scrutinize China’s record on torture, the report said.

Before his election to the Geneva-based UN body, Liu was affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences — a research center with ties to the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee. Liu has also taken the party’s line on the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and defended China’s human-rights record from US government reports on Beijing’s atrocities, the report noted.

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