New report sounds alarm about mass surveillance . . .
In its newly released World Report 2020, Human Rights Watch (HRW) shines a spotlight on what it sees as two particularly worrying developments in China’s human rights practices. The first relates to its “unconstrained surveillance state,” which uses sophisticated technological tools to monitor and censor its people, not least of all Muslim minorities residing in Xinjiang province. The report warns that aspects of this surveillance state are exportable to other countries, especially to governments with weak privacy protections, such as Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, and Zimbabwe.
‘Campaign’ against global norms . . .
The second development is what HRW describes as Beijing’s systematic efforts to “undermine” the system of human rights protections that has been in place since the end of the Second World War. It says China has cultivated a network of “cheerleader states” that publicly come to Beijing’s defence, fearing that if they do not, they could lose economic assistance from China or access to the Chinese market. HRW also highlights Beijing’s use of its Security Council veto to block UN action to protect persecuted peoples in places such as Myanmar, Syria, and Yemen, and calls out “enablers” like US President Donald Trump, who has expressed admiration for authoritarian leaders and governments in Europe that have remained silent in response to these trends.
Beijing pushes back, hard . . .
As expected, the Chinese government responded forcefully to the report and its authors. HRW’s Executive Director, Kenneth Roth, had flown to Hong Kong on Sunday intending to present the report’s key findings, but he was denied entry. Although Roth was initially given no explanation, Beijing later made no secret of the fact that it was behind the decision. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated that China has the “sovereign right to decide who shall be granted entry and who shall be denied it,” and that “China’s human rights situation is the best it’s been in history.”
- Al Jazeera: ‘Existential threat’: Report warns on China threat to human rights
- Human Rights Watch: Chinese government poses threat to global human rights
- New York Times: China using growing clout to stifle critics abroad, rights group says