China now boasts the approval of 53 nations at Tuesday’s United Nations Human Rights Council for its new “national security law” imposed on protesters in Hong Kong.
According to Axios, Cuba led the coalition of nations, including China itself, supporting the Chinese Communist regime’s crackdown on the city, reading a statement in favor of the law.
The United Kingdom, representing itself and 26 other countries, read a statement opposing the law.
Axios notes that China was backed by an assortment of “not free” and “partially free” countries, “including many of the world’s most brutal dictatorships — North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria.”
Much of the support, the report goes on, stems from two major factors: China’s role as creditor to many nations worldwide, and the absence of the United States from the equation.
China’s massive investments are bearing fruit, notes Axios’ Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian. Many signatories supporting China, especially African nations, are in debt to China. “Beijing has effectively leveraged the UN Human Rights Council to endorse the very activities it was created to oppose,” Ebrahimian explains.
While some countries on the list “are always going to back China,” says Keith Harper, America’s former representative on the council, many others joined because “they will get better deals if they are in the good graces of China” and “there’s no detriment there because the U.S. isn’t at the table.”
“Since we have pulled away from nearly all international organizations, China has stepped up big time,” Harper added. “They really want to take over for the United States, and this is why.”
Chinese propaganda outlet Xinhua reported that the Cuban statement said the law is “beneficial for the steady and long-term success of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and Hong Kong’s lasting prosperity and stability,” and that it “guarantees that Hong Kong residents can better exercise rights and freedoms in a safe environment.”
The law criminalizes anti-government movements, and is targeted at pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong who have pushed back against Beijing’s incursions on freedoms in the territory — which is supposed to be ruled on the principle of “one country, two systems.”
The controversial new law punishes crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.
The law also establishes a Beijing-controlled national security committee in Hong Kong and allows defendants to be extradited to mainland China for trial.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “Free Hong Kong was one of the world’s most stable, prosperous and dynamic cities. Now it’s just another communist-run city where its people will be subject to the party elites wins.”
The Human Rights Council itself came under refreshed scrutiny after vastly supporting the crackdown on Hong Kong—most notably for giving human rights violators like Venezuela a seat at the table.
To many, the facade of the council defending the draconian oppression in Hong Kong only affirms that the United States was right to withdraw from the council in 2018. At the time, according to Fox News, then-U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley called it “a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias.”
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