Vastavam web: China touted its political and development model as it hosted an inaugural global human rights forum today, even as activists slammed the country’s own abuses.President Xi Jinping has overseen a sweeping crackdown on civil society since taking power in 2012, targeting everyone from human rights lawyers to celebrity gossip bloggers.And China became the first country since Nazi Germany to allow a Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in state custody when democracy activist Liu Xiaobo succumbed to liver cancer under heavy police guard in July.
But some 300 participants gathered in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to hear about the country’s “human rights development path with Chinese characteristics” at the South- South Human Rights Forum.He highlighted China’s achievements in poverty reduction as an example of the country’s efforts to improve rights.
Beijing says it has reduced its poverty rate to four percent and seeks to eradicate poverty by 2020.But forum attendee Zhu Liyu, deputy director of the Centre for Human Rights at Renmin University, pointed out that such calculations were based on the country’s official poverty line, much lower than that of other nations.”In the past few decades, this ‘China model’ has left behind countless people in China, victimised by breakneck growth at the expense of basic protection from discrimination, exploitation, and abuse of power,” it said in a statement.
“The ‘secret’ of the ‘China success’ hinges on squashed protests, silenced complaints, and swollen jails and extrajudicial holding cells,” it added.The inaugural forum comes two months after Xi outlined his vision of turning China into a major superpower by mid- century at a Communist Party congress that confirmed his status as the most powerful Chinese leader in decades.The forum included diplomats, scholars and government officials from developing countries, as well as representatives from the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Health Organization.
“This is China’s answer to the question of where human society is heading,” Wang said of the forum.Representatives of countries such as Tajikistan and Afghanistan with questionable human rights track records of their own took to the podium to extoll the Chinese model.