In its annual report reviewing human rights standards in nearly 100 countries, the NGO warned that the Chinese government is carrying out an intensive attack on the global system for enforcing human rights.
“Certain media are trying to smear China’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts in Xinjiang by despicably hyping up Xinjiang-related issues, but their attempts will not succeed,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said last year. “Stability, ethnic solidarity and harmony in Xinjiang is the best response to such disinformation.”
High-tech surveillance and censorship tactics pioneered in Xinjiang have previously been rolled out to other parts of the country, and there have been concerns that other religious minorities — including Hui Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists — are facing similar restrictions to those placed on Islam in Xinjiang.
“Beijing has long suppressed domestic critics,” Roth said in a news release after he was prevented from entering Hong Kong. “Now the Chinese government is trying to extend that censorship to the rest of the world. To protect everyone’s future, governments need to act together to resist Beijing’s assault on the international human rights system.”
During a presentation of the report at the United Nations on Tuesday, Chinese diplomat Xing Jisheng denied the allegations contained in it and accused HRW of fabrication.
“The report is full of prejudices and fabrications and ignores the factual information provided by my government. We totally reject the content of this report,” Xing said. “We have been making every effort to advance human rights in China.”
‘Lukewarm and selective support’
As well as criticizing China for undermining international human rights protections, HRW also took aim at democratic governments and world leaders for their “lukewarm and selective support” for existing standards.
The organization criticized US President Donald Trump, who was deemed to be “more interested in embracing friendly autocrats than defending the human rights standards that they flout.”
It also singled out the European Union for a failure to adopt a “strong common voice” on human rights, both in China and around the world, and noted that it was instead distracted by Brexit, nationalism and migration.
Such international condemnation has been hard to come by, however, particularly among Muslim countries, which might be expected to speak out against China’s hardline tactics.
“An inhospitable terrain for human rights is aiding the Chinese government’s attack,” the organization said in a statement. “A growing number of governments that previously could be relied on at least some of the time to promote human rights in their foreign policy now have leaders, such as United States President Donald Trump, who are unwilling to do so.”
CNN’s Steven Jiang, Yong Xiong and Nectar Gan contributed to this report.