China’s United Nations ambassador Zhang Jun read a statement at the U.N. on Monday, denouncing the U.S. for “systematic racial discrimination and violence,” which was endorsed by 25 other nations.
“Instances like the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake continue to take place and vulnerable people continue to suffer or lose their lives to racism and police brutality,” Zhang said, in a prepared statement, representing China and 25 other nations, including Russia, Iran and North Korea.
Floyd, a black man, died in Minneapolis police custody after an arrest on May 25 of this year. Blake, another black man, was shot and injured by police in Wisconsin after an altercation in August. According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Blake fought with officers and admitted he had a knife in his car and was shot in the back as after turning away from officers and reaching into his vehicle.
Zhang’s critical statement against the U.S. was joined by North Korea, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Belarus, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Sudan, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.
“It is the US that should eliminate racial discrimination and allow its people to breathe,” Zhang said in a separate statement on Tuesday. “There exists systematic racial discrimination and violence in the US judicial and law enforcement systems. Millions of Americans have cried out ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘Black lives matter.’ The Third Committee should pay attention to racial discrimination and police violence in the US. The Committee should discuss the issue and adopt a resolution on it.”
Along with referencing the Black Lives Matter movement to criticize the U.S., Zhang also criticized the United Kingdom and Germany.
“The U.S., Germany and the U.K., ignoring the call from all sides, insist on provoking antagonism,” Zhang said. “They abuse the U.N. platform, politicize human rights issues, and provoke political confrontation. They spread false information and political virus, smear China, and interfere in China’s internal affairs. China firmly opposes and rejects that.”
China’s denouncement of the U.S., U.K., and Germany comes as the three countries issued a joint letter, along with 36 other countries, raising concerns about human rights abuses in China, including in Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xianjiang. Other countries signing onto the letter included Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland also signed onto the letter.
The U.S., U.K. and German-led statement said, “On Xinjiang, we are gravely concerned about the existence of a large network of ‘political re-education’ camps where credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained.”
The statement, addressing China’s legislative takeover of the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong, said, “We also share concerns expressed separately by a group of UN experts that a number of provisions in the Hong Kong National Security Law do not conform to China’s international legal obligations,”
“We have deep concerns about elements of the National Security Law that allow for certain cases to be transferred for prosecution to the Chinese mainland,” the U.S., U.K. and German-led statement continued. “We urge the relevant authorities to guarantee the rights which are protected under the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, including freedoms of speech, the press and assembly.”
In his remarks, Zhang said, “I must also point out that Germany, the U.K. and a few other countries, in disregard of the facts, have violated justice and undermined cooperation. Facing the poor human rights records of your own and of the U.S., you choose to engage in selective blindness and double standards, willingly follow the U.S. and become its accomplices. How hypocritical! Let me say this to you: put away your arrogance and prejudice, and pull back from the brink, now.”
In a separate statement shared by the Chinese U.N. mission, China praised a joint statement organized by Pakistan and signed by 55 countries in support of China on Hong Kong. China also praised Cuba for organizing a joint statement signed by 45 countries in support of China’s actions in Xinjiang.