World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Democracies Rally to Defense of Daughter of Jailed Leader

Clash at UN: China Tries to Stop Testimony by Daughter of Jailed Democracy Leader Wang Bingzhang; Democracies Rally to Her Defense

GENEVA, March 18, 2014 - China today interrupted testimony at the United Nations Human Rights Council by the daughter one of its most well-known political prisoners, prompting a high-profile international clash in the plenary, as the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Hungary, Switzerland and the Czech Republic squared off against China, Cuba, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela on whether she could be allowed to continue her remarks.

Speaking today on behalf of the non-governmental human rights group UN Watch, Ti-Anna Wang, the 24-year-old Canadian daughter of jailed Chinese democracy leader Dr. Wang Bingzhang, took the floor at the 47-nation council one day before it is set to adopt a major report on China's human rights record.

Only one minute after Ms. Wang began her testimony, the Chinese delegate, supported by successive interventions by four other authoritarian regimes, objected that Ms. Wang was only permitted to address abstract "situations of human rights," but not specific cases such as her father's imprisonment.

The U.S. delegate, the first to defend UN Watch, said that "accredited NGOs must be permitted to speak in the council," adding that "it is essential that civil society voices be heard here in an atmosphere of open expression."

In a rare chorus of voices defending NGOs' right to speak, Britain, France, Ireland, Hungary, Switzerland and the Czech Republic each took the floor to likewise defend UN Watch's right to speak.

In the end, Human Rights Council president Baudelaire Ndong Ella ruled that UN Watch had the right to address specific examples, and he gave the floor back to Ms. Wang, allowing her to complete her statement.

"While it is scandalous that China and other dictatorships were just elected as members to the UN Human Rights Council, today this forum also managed to be a platform for the voices of the victims, not only the perpetrators," said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

Ti-Anna Wang was born and raised in Montreal, Canada, and is a graduate of McGill University. She has dedicated the past 12 years of her life to trying to free her father, the founder of China's overseas democracy movement, who has been serving a life sentence in China since 2002.

Ms. Wang's personal story inspired the heroine in the recent novel Nine Days, written by Washington Post editor Fred Hiatt.

Her first name commemorates the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, led by students seeking democracy and human rights. The 25th anniversary of the massacre will be marked

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Le Pen Beaten: English Congratulates Macron On French Election Win

Prime Minister Bill English has this morning congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his victory in the French presidential election. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The French Election Result

Macron is shaping as the third major test case, after Bill Clinton, after Tony Blair – on whether the aim of ‘progressive social policy’ and realities of ‘neo-liberal economic settings’ can be made to credibly co-exist within the same sentence, let alone within the decrees from the Elysee Palace. More>>

Werewolf: The Maverick On Moloka’i

Monday, April 17 was Moloka’i’s turn for some face-to-face time with Tulsi Gabbard, who is part Samoan and part haole (pakeha), a practising Hindu, and a Middle East combat veteran. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Snap Election In Britain

The election call is entirely opportunistic and self-serving and will – regardless of the outcome – put Britain in a worse negotiating position for managing its Brexit. More>>

Turkey: Observers Say Erdogan’s Constitutional Referendum Flawed

Lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage and limitations on fundamental freedoms created unlevel playing field in Turkey’s constitutional referendum, international observers say. More>>

ALSO:

Westminster: NZ PM Condemns London Attack

“London is a place many thousands of New Zealanders have visited and called home, and where many more have friends and family based, so this attack feels very close to home,” Mr English says. More>>

ALSO: