Brandishing an electrical shocker, the delegate of A Woman's Voice International said, "This is what passes for justice in the People's Republic of China." He then turned it on and a silence fell upon the room as the device audibly brought forth electric shocks.China Aid Association disputed the bias in that report, and produced their own report (link in Word format):
At the beginning of the afternoon session on Tuesday, China took the floor, saying, "A Woman's Voice breached security by bringing in an electrical device in violation of Resolution 9631, concerning participation of NGOs at UN meetings". The delegate himself was "an alleged criminal," in China.
The Chinese delegate then made a number of requests to the Secretariat. Among them: security should investigate the incident fully, including the background of the speaker and the organization. The investigation should also include how the man passed through security. The results of the investigation should be made public to the Commission. Furthermore, any NGOs under the umbrella of A Woman's Voice should lose participation rights. For its part, China will report the incident to the Committee of NGOs in New York City, and the organization should regulate its actions in the future.
The Secretariat said that security escorted the speaker from A Woman's Voice out of the building, taking his UN card and banning him from the remainder of the Commission. Accreditation of delegates is the responsibility of the organization concerned and a full investigation would be launched into the matter.
China said that the host country of Switzerland should consider criminal sanctions and background checks should be made into the members of the organization. China said that if A Woman's Voice International could provide a written assurance that it would obey the rules for the remainder of the Commission, "perhaps we can be flexible".
Cuba was also concerned with accreditation of individuals by governments, saying that several delegates accredited by the government of the Czech Republic insulted the Cuban delegation at a parallel event. The Secretariat replied that an investigation into that matter would also be launched.
During his speech on April 5, 2005, with previous agreement from both the Commission secretary office and the UN security guards, Rev. Bob Fu displays and demonstrates an electric-shock baton smuggled out of China recently. It was made in China used by the Chinese police and interrogators to torture victims of religious victims. However, the Chinese delegate immediately registers a complaint to UNCHR that the electric baton made them "feel threatened". Then Both Rev. Bob Fu’s UN badge and the electric baton were taken away by the UN security officials without giving any explanation. Rev. Fu was ordered to leave the UN complex immediately. At the same time, according to those who were present there, for about an hour, China uses the plenary floor attacking A Woman’s Voice International and threatening to shut up all the NGOs. China demands apology from AWVI and Bob Fu.Notice that Cuba was very quick to jump on the bandwagon. Their goal: To be able to control what non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are allowed to speak, and what speakers they're allowed to present, at the UNCHR, and probably elsewhere throughout the entire United Nations system as well.
So here's China trying to make it seem as if it were the equivalent of Jeffrey Dahmer challenging the US. Perhaps the People's Republic would care to explain exactly why the reverend is considered a criminal. If anything, his crime is the political crime of calling a spade a spade. Perhaps the delegate felt threatened because if it ever came to light what devices China uses to silence religious folk, he may lose his job. It is the supreme symptom of insecurity to attempt to silence a critic before the critic has had a chance to speak.
The incident is not going to die in Geneva, however. US Representative Chris Smith (R) of New Jersey's Fourth District has now called for a hearing:
The Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations subcommittee will probe the question of whether the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) continues to promote and serve the purpose it was created to advance: respect for internationally recognized human rights and freedoms.If you care about the freedom of religion, please support Congressman Smith's efforts to get the word out about the appalling treatment of Reverend Fu.
Featured at the hearing will be Bob Fu, a former Chinese prisoner of conscience who was recently removed from the 61st session of the UN Human Rights Commission earlier this month, after he made a presentation showing how China tortures religious prisoners with specially designed electro-shock devices. The Chinese delegation complained that the equipment 'made them feel threatened', and insisted that Mr. Fu be removed from the conference, his credentials seized, and his Chinese torture device confiscated. Mr. Fu’s credentials were issued by a non-governmental organization (NGO), A Woman’s Voice International (AWVI).
Many in Congress and around the world have questioned and criticized the membership of the UNCHR for including a number of countries whose records on human rights are almost universally recognized as deplorable. Many of these regimes (such as the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan) seek membership on the UNCHR in order to deflect criticism from their own poor human rights records, and mutually support each other to prevent the Commission from appointing special rapporteurs to examine particular human rights abuses or situations.
In the meantime, the United Nations is turning into the exact opposite of what it was meant to be. I've said it before and I'll say it now: The United Nations is a farce. It has been going down the path of the League of Nations for some time now, and now we know that it wasn't US non-participation in the League of Nations that condemned that body to obsolescence.
The world has changed since 1945, and the United Nations no longer serves the interests of a free world. Whereas some arms of the United Nations arguably are worthy organizations, the farce, the circus that has become the political arm of the United Nations exacts a toll that is not warranted by what little good the WHO and UNICEF do.
Let's leave the United Nations, and let it relocate to Paris.
[Cross-posted at Between Worlds and Naruwan Formosa]