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China’s Attack of Human Rights
China’s Attack on Human Rights
There are five superpowers in the world, Russia, China, America, France, and the United Kingdom, and by superpowers, I do not mean invisibility or flying, but the countries that have the most power and economic influence over the world. Even though these countries hold the most power in the world, and have the most influence on the global economy, not all of these countries are inherently good. Because countries like China have a large influence on the world, they have the power to oppress the people in their country as well as influence other countries to follow their lead. Because China’s New National Security Bill restricts the people of Hong Kong’s human rights like free speech, the right to protest, and the right of self-determination, as well as promote police brutality, the United Nations has a right to intervene before other countries take China as an example and abuse human rights. China has been using its power over its citizens to restrict human rights and promote police brutality. They have also been suppressing democracy by pushing back their election. Because China is one of the superpowers of the world and has veto power in the United Nations Security Council, other countries with authoritarian governments will look up to and copy China. Because of that, it is important to rectify this problem as soon as possible.
China has been using this bill to violate human rights. This bill is used by the government and police to interpret what it means and use it to their advantage and abuse the rights of the people of Hong Kong, "With this law being superior to all local law and the Basic Law (Hong Kong's constitution) itself, there is no avenue to challenge the vague definitions of the four crimes[secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and collusion with foreign entities] the law as violating basic rights...Now people take their rights subject to the interest of the state."(5 Takeaways From China’s Hong Kong National Security Law). Because of the national security law, rights are being questioned by the government and the government has the power to take away rights. This new law even out powers Hong Kong’s constitution, which was made to protect human rights, not violate them. This new bill also paves the way for more bills to follow, restricting more rights for citizens. According to Jerome A. Cohen, a New York University professor of the Chinese legal system, “The law is likely to usher in a new era for Hong Kong, experts say, in which civil liberties are tightly constrained and loyalty to the party is paramount. “All in all, this is a takeover of Hong Kong,”(Harsh Penalties, Vaguely Defined Crimes: Hong Kong’s Security Law Explained). The new national security bill forces loyalty to the communist party, if someone steps out of line, they get life in prison. This means that people's civil liberties are being restricted by the Chinese government. Furthermore, the Chinese government is now giving harsh penalties and punishments for stepping out of line: “The first arrest was to a man accused of holding a Hong Kong independence flag, he has gotten life in prison. It was later found out that he was holding a flag saying no to Hong Kong independence”(Harsh Penalties, Vaguely Defined Crimes: Hong Kong’s Security Law Explained). Simple liberties like freedom of speech have been restricted heavily; even someone holding a suspicious flag gets life in prison. There is no trial, just a sentence. Even after finding out this man is innocent, he still is in prison, people in Hong Kong do not have the justice they deserve.
Police brutality is a pressing issue throughout the world. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Nigeria is infamous for abusing power and promoting violence, while America is facing police brutality and systematic racism throughout its police system. China is also being affected by police brutality. China’s New National Security Bill promotes police brutality. After pushing back an election by a year due to Covid-19, the people of Hong Kong protested, allowing the police to openly use tactics stated in the bill, “Police arrested hundreds Sunday, using tactics now deployed against anyone suspected of sympathizing with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement: conducting widespread stops and searches, surrounding and arresting protesters and tackling even minors with force. By Sunday evening, at least 289 people were arrested, including one under the new national security law”(Hong Kong protesters defy...). This national security bill permits police to abuse their power and to use force over those who are protesting and advocating for political freedom. This national bill also allows police to harm minors. Police have been abusing their power just to her citizens practicing freedom of speech, “Police targeted protesters with pepper balls and pepper spray. They cordoned off long stretches of the street to stop and search suspected protesters. Chaos broke out when undercover police officers, walking among the protesters, tackled several to the ground and dragged them away”(Hong Kong protesters defy...). Police are inflicting violence against peaceful protests. Harmless little girls are even subjected to this violence: “Footage circulated on social media of several male officers tackling a 12-year-old girl who tried to escape a police cordon. Police said she ‘suddenly ran away in a suspicious manner’ and officers subdued her with ‘minimum necessary force.’(Hong Kong protesters defy...). Police are going out of their way to be violent, they are using the excuse that she was “suspicious” to justify their violence. A little girl is not a threat, they are abusing their power. Police have also been using extreme violence even after arresting citizens, “The Civil Rights Observer, a local organization which monitors the police, said on Tuesday that interviewees alleged they were subjected to mistreatment which – at times – violated international human rights law and domestic regulations.”(Hong Kong police tortured detainees, says rights group, as UN experts voice concern over leading activists’ arrests). Police brutality extends not only to minors and protesters but now to activists that are already detained. Police are not exercising their right to arrest protesters, they are abusing their power over helpless people. Developing countries with authoritarian governments could potentially see the actions of Chia and how their abuses are being ignored and seeing it as a green light to also violate human rights and encourage police brutality.
Promoting police brutality, giving unjust punishments, suppressing the voices of Hong Kong citizens, torturing attained protesters, all that China has done to its citizens is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. For this problem not to get out of hand, and also to teach other countries that this behavior is not ok, the United Nations has the right to intervene. The United Nations is a governing body with many jobs;
The UN promotes good governance, monitors elections, supports civil society to strengthen democratic institutions and accountability, ensures self-determination in decolonized countries, and assists in the drafting of new constitutions in post-conflict nations. (Democracy).
The United Nations focuses on democracy and many different aspects it takes to have a democracy, like elections. China is currently suppressing democracy by refusing to have a democratic election and instead of pushing it back for an unknown time. The United States had an election through this pandemic, and China should do the same. The United Nations has an important role to play with countries, like drafting constitutions and supporting civil society to strengthen democracy. There are many committee’s that focus on human rights;
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has lead responsibility in the UN system for the promotion and protection of human rights. The office supports the human rights components of peacekeeping missions in several countries and has many countries and regional offices and centers. The High Commissioner for Human Rights regularly comments on human rights situations in the world and has the authority to investigate situations and issue reports on them. (Protect Human Rights).
The United Nations focuses on human rights and steps in when human rights are violated. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has the right to investigate and intervene in a human rights crisis. The situation in China justifies for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to intervene and launch an investigation into the grave violations of human rights China is committing. The United Nations also have peacekeeping operations that escalate conflict situations;
Many United Nations peacekeeping operations and political and peacebuilding missions also include the human rights-related mandates aimed at contributing to the protection and promotion of human rights through both immediate and long-term action; empowering the population to assert and claim their human rights; and enabling State and other national institutions to implement their human rights obligations and uphold the rule of law. (Protecting Human Rights).
The United Nations works to protect human rights in person with peacekeeping operations. It is important to protect citizens, but it is also important to make a change with the government. A potential peacekeeping operation to de-escalate tensions between police and protesters should be in order.
Like many other governing bodies, the United Nations is not perfect. Because of the changing environment of the world, the United Nations is still relevant and needed. In the article, “The Limitations and Capabilities of the United Nations in Modern Conflict,” by Nina Kalantar, some of these flaws are highlighted. One of the problems the United Nations has is the potential of their power. In the Security Council, there are only 15 countries, 5 of whom are the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia. These five countries are permanent members and have the power to veto any bill they feel necessary. Because these five countries are opposed in views, many bills do not pass. This means that many important decisions and resolutions do not pass, “A plethora of contemporary challenges have exposed the UN to criticism in its ability to evolve with changes in geopolitics, most notably the organization’s responsive rather than reactive approach to confronting international crises and the rise in nations disinterested in international consensus-building”(“The Limitations and Capabilities…). The United Nations is composed of 193 countries, many with opposing views. With this many different countries, it is hard to come up with a solution, much less try to implicate the solution. Kalantar mentions this in her article, as well as argues that the UN cannot evolve as it should, and it may turn into its predecessor, The League of Nations. The United Nations also has to think about its ability to create and implement solutions, “The protection of civilians, the threat of violent extremism… and the dilemmas of state-building” have presented obstacles that have forced both the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UNSC to reevaluate their ability to comprehensively address today’s global challenges”(“The Limitations and Capabilities…). Fixing complex problems around the world is a tough challenge and Kalantar raises the question of the effectiveness of the United Nations to the crisis going on around the world. Although there are many problems with the United Nations, the United Nations is still an effective tool to use around the world for human rights crises. The United Nations is a necessary force to combat the violation of human rights China is committing as well as set an example that that behavior is not acceptable.
China is violating people's right to free speech, the right to protest, and the right to self-determination. China is promoting police brutality, using force on citizens and even minors. Because of these crimes against human rights, the United Nations has a right to intervene. Taking China to the international court of justice will provide the people of China the justice they deserve, all well as giving consequences that China deserves. Because of the Hong Kong Handover deal, Hong Kong should have independence and autonomy from China, with China being one country with two party system. China has been actively defying this law, which was supposed to last till 2047. The year 2020 has been rough, with the covid 19 pandemics, and protesting in America over the death of George Floyd. The people of Hong Kong have had to deal with this since 2019, only to be silenced by the Chinese government, and put in jail for a lifetime. If someone is caught protesting, or even talking about protesting and asking for democratic reform, then they will get life in prison. A man was put in prison less than 24 hours after this bill was passed. China is actively defying the human rights of its citizens, and the UN has the right to help the people of Hong Kong.
Creery, J. (2020, May 16). Hong Kong police tortured detainees, says rights group, as UN experts voice concern over LEADING activists' arrests. Retrieved February 19, 2021, from hongkongfp.com/2020/05/14/hong-kong-police-tortured-detainees-says-rights-group-as-un-experts-voice-concern-over-leading-activists-arrests/
Democracy. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2021, from un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/democracy/index.html
Feng, E. (2020, July 01). 5 takeaways From CHINA'S Hong Kong national security law. Retrieved February 19, 2021, from npr.org/2020/07/01/885900989/5-takeaways-from-chinas-hong-kong-national-security-law
Kalantar, N. (2019, July 18). The limitations and capabilities of the united nations in modern conflict. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from e-ir.info/2019/07/10/the-limitations-and-capabilities-of-the-united-nations-in-modern-conflict/
Hernández, J. (2020, July 01). Harsh penalties, vaguely DEFINED CRIMES: Hong kong's security Law explained. Retrieved February 19, 2021, from nytimes.com/2020/06/30/world/asia/hong-kong-security-law-explain.html
Protect human rights. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2021, from un.org/en/sections/what-we-do/protect-human-rights/
Ryan Ho Kilpatrick, S. (2020, September 06). Hong Kong protesters defy national security Law, return to streets to oppose ELECTION DELAY. Retrieved February 19, 2021, from washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/hong-kong-protest-national-security-law/2020/09/06/c084933a-f042-11ea-bc45-e5d48ab44b9f_story.html