By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Aug 24: A United Nations human rights envoy on Tuesday condemned China for deterring his work during his visit and warned that China is risking mass unrest with its clampdown on civil society.
Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights couldn’t meet with the academics he wanted to on his visit despite giving an advance notification to the Chinese government before his nine-day visit to China, a routine practice for a UN Special Rapporteur.
“None of those meetings were arranged, and the message I got from many of the people I contacted was that they had been advised that they should be on vacation at this time,” Reuters quoted Alston as saying in its report, Aug 23.
“The position that the United Nations has always followed and that I’ve followed in every other country that I’ve visited, and there are many, is that the Rapporteur is entitled to meet with whomsoever he wants to meet with, that he’s entitled to go wherever he wants to,” Alston said in the same report.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s reign so far has cracked down heavily on dissents, restrained the media and civil society which has resulted in detention of numerous rights activists.
The report, citing right groups, said the government is trying to silence critics and argued that the country’s ethnic minorities, particularly in places such as Tibet, Inner Mongolia and the western region of Xinjiang, face harsh discriminatory measures.
The U.N. Special Rapporteur described the whole experience as an ‘abysmal tour’.
“The problem with policies on ethnic minorities is that in a country like China they are highly assimilationist,” the report further quoted the UN Rapporteur as saying.