White Paper a Shield from Criticism: Human Rights NGO
Dharamshala 19 April 2005: The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy on Saturday called China’s White Paper China’s Progress in Human Rights in 2004 an attempt to ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œavert international backlash on China’s poor human rights record and elevate its image and positioning in the international arena’. TCHRD believes that as long as the ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œPRC government does not guarantee its citizens the right to self-determination, respect the rule of law and human rights treaties, and usher and strengthen democratic reforms in China and in Tibet, it cannot claim real progress in human rights’.
TCHRD was responding to the White Paper released on 13 April 2005 by China’s State Council Information Office. In a press release issued here, the Dharamshala based human right NGO said that China’s claim in the White Paper stood in stark contrast to the findings of the centre.
The centre said that the timing of the White Paper is yet another feature of its diplomatic scheme and political gimmick to fend off international criticism of its poor human rights records. Despite that fact that no member state had sponsored a resolution on China’s human rights records at this year’s 61st session of the United Nations’ High Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) in Geneva, its poor human rights record was one of the major focuses at the conference, argued the centre.
China’s claim of a considerable improvement in the living standard of its people was confronted with findings of world organisations. The centre agreed that China injects funds and investments with a particular focus to develop its western region including Tibet. However, the much-hyped economic boom, the centre said, has failed to benefit the Tibetans and other ethnic minorities of Tibet as proved by reports of the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which have listed Tibet among 11 other provinces in the western region as the poorest and the most underdeveloped.
China’s inclusion of ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œthe state respect and safeguarding human rights’ in its constitution last year was hailed as a major step towards progress of human rights situation in China. While appreciating this, the centre pointed out that just merely stipulating on paper will not improve the human rights situation in Tibet and that it is essential to have a proper enforcement mechanism.