China must stop making a mockery of the rights treaties it signs

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the Eastern Economic Forum on September 12, 2018. Xinhua

By Margaret K. Lewis
October 30 at 2:43 PM

Margaret K. Lewis is a law professor at Seton Hall University.

On Nov. 6, the United Nations Human Rights Council will review China’s record just as human rights in the country are under intensified attack. The review also comes one month after the 20th anniversary of China signing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a foundational treaty that sets forth a range of protections for freedom of speech, assembly and religion. China not only has failed to ratify the ICCPR but instead is increasingly undermining the rights therein. The international community should respond by calling on China to remove its signature.

Prior to its first review before the Human Rights Council in 2009, China reported that the “relevant departments are carrying out necessary legislative, judiciary and administrative reforms to create the conditions for the early ratification of ICCPR.” In 2013, China again reported that the “relevant organs of the national government are continuing steadily to pursue administrative and legislative reforms in preparation for ratifying the Convention.” Before its third review this fall, China once again said that the “relevant departments of the government are steadily continuing to advance administrative and judicial reforms in preparation for [ICCPR] ratification.”