China most active UN member to stall NGOs applications

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An analysis of committee meeting summaries and reports from 2016 through 2019 revealed China was the most frequent member state to pose questions to delay and block civil society applicants….reports Asian Lite News

China is the most active country in stalling NGOs applications at the United Nations even if the organisations engage in the most innocuous and uncontroversial activities, an expert said, adding that Beijing is working hard to shrink the space for these groups internationally.

In an opinion piece in Foreign Policy, Rana Siu Inboden, a senior fellow with the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin, points out Beijing’s ascendance is manifested in its subversion of U.N. bodies as part of a more muscular global posture under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Inboden said that an analysis of committee meeting summaries and reports from 2016 through 2019 revealed China was the most frequent member state to pose questions to delay and block civil society applicants.

It did so 340 times, outpacing South Africa (337 times), India (283 times), Cuba (220 times), and Russia (172 times).

In total, 964 NGOs with applications before the committee were deferred at least once and in 25 per cent of those instances, a question from China caused the deferral, she writes.

“Reports and interviews with diplomats, U.N. officials, and NGO representatives provide compelling evidence that Beijing seeks to throttle NGOs–capping their role in the U.N. or attempting to bar them from participating at all. Because of these blocking efforts, a U.N. official estimated that only about 25 percent of human rights NGOs eventually receive consultative status,” she writes.

Inboden underlines that current U.N. Committee on Nongovernmental Organizations rules allow states to pose any question, even mundane and repetitive ones, to defer an NGO’s application until the committee’s next biannual meeting.

“China is the most active country in stalling NGO applications at the United Nations, even if the organizations engage in the most innocuous and uncontroversial activities. China is not content to control civil society within its own borders,” Indoben notes.

“Given the role of NGOs in advancing human rights globally and drawing attention to China’s human rights crimes, Beijing is working hard to shrink the space for these groups internationally. Although China’s military prowess and economic heft are changing the world in visible ways, Beijing’s ascendence is also manifested in its subversion of U.N. bodies as part of a more muscular global posture under Chinese President Xi Jinping,” she adds.

According to the Chinese diplomat, Isa, an activist for China’s persecuted Uyghur minority, led an organisation that “demanded so-called Xinjiang independence.”

China relented only after the Society for Threatened Peoples sent a written response recommitting to U.N. “purposes and principles, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China … [as well as expressing] its unequivocal opposition to terrorism”, Inboden notes. (ANI)

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