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China ‘gamed’ UN human rights review, experts say

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A top Chinese diplomat said Beijing would “earnestly study” 428 recommendations for addressing human rights submitted by U.N. members, calling them “objective and balanced.”

But leading experts said China “gamed” the once-every-five-year “universal periodic review” to avoid scrutiny of its rights abuses.

Chen Xu, China’s ambassador to the U.N. offices in Geneva, said following the adoption of the report that he was happy with the many recommendations by 141 countries, and that Beijing would release its positions on each of the suggestions next month.

“The report just adopted is, in general, objective and balanced, and has reflected the statements and the recommendations during the meeting,” Chen said in remarks to the council. “We believe the majority of the comments and recommendations are constructive.”

Tuesday’s three-hour review session descended into farce, with the unusually high number of participating countries meaning each only had 45 seconds to provide an assessment of a country that has been accused of possible crimes against humanity by a U.N. body.

Under this process, each of the 193 U.N. member states has their rights record reviewed on a rolling five-year basis.

A report by Reuters said Chinese diplomats had in the lead-up to the session lobbied countries to turn up with soft-ball assessments.

Gaming the system

The many contributions during Tuesday’s session worked to draw attention away from some of the worst claims of rights abuse in China, including the treatment of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hong Kongers.

Activists supporting Tibet and the Uyghur minority in China protest against what they consider unfair Chinese government policies outside the U.N. office in Geneva, Jan. 23, 2024. The demonstration came as China’s government faced a regular review of its human rights record at a Human Rights Council meeting inside. (Jamey Keaten/AP)

While Western nations including the United States, Finland, Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom focussed on China’s treatment of Tibetans and Uyghurs in the country’s west during their 45 seconds, many countries offered praise for things like legal system reforms.

William Nee, the research and advocacy coordinator for the Washington-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said Beijing had used its diplomatic heft to water-down legitimate criticism of its human rights record by inundating the process with friendly voices.

“This time, they tried to game the process,” Nee told Radio Free Asia. “There was an intense lobbying campaign for countries to ask questions that essentially the Chinese government wrote in advance. There were a lot of softball questions and very easy questions.”

Nee added that some countries’ recommendations even appeared to poke fun at the global condemnation of the China’s treatment of Tibetans and Uyghur citizens, the latter of whom the U.S. government says are the victim of an ongoing campaign of genocide.

ENG_TIB_ChinaUPRHumanRightsTibet_01262024.3.JPG
Protester Tseten Zoechbauer holds up a “Decolonize Tibet” banner outside the U.N. office in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2024, at a rally supporting Tibet and the Uyghur minority in China. The demonstration outside the U.N. office in Geneva came as China’s government faced a regular review of its human rights record at a Human Rights Council meeting inside. (Jamey Keaten/AP)

Russia, he noted, said China should “improve gradually people’s sense and ability of using standard spoken and written Chinese language in Xinjiang,” referring to the far-western region where Uyghurs live.

Venezuela, meanwhile, said China must “firmly oppose the politicization” of human rights “under the pretext of issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Xizang,” the latter of which is the new official romanized name for Tibet adopted by the Chinese government.

“If we look at the advanced questions submitted, it seems as though some of those questions could have been drafted by the Chinese government, to be quite blunt,” said Kai Müller, executive director and head of U.N. advocacy at the International Campaign for Tibet.

Nothing new

Sophie Richardson, the former China director at Human Rights Watch, told RFA that China openly flouted U.N. requirements to allow input from independent civil society groups into the self-report it submits.

“There’s a long list of ways the Chinese government tried to game the process this time around, which has to start with the way it tried to game the process the last time around,” Richardson said, pointing to China’s boasting of its fidelity to recommendations made in 2018.

China that year accepted 284 of the 346 recommendations made by some 150 countries. But many of those, Richardson said, were the ones that were “vague or meaningless, or in fact encouraged the Chinese government to keep committing human rights violations.”

“Beijing has held that up as real progress,” she said, even though “five years later, we know it is committing atrocity crimes.”

ENG_TIB_ChinaUPRHumanRightsTibet_01262024.4.JPG
A picture taken on Jan. 23, 2024 shows the United Nations Human Rights Council during the review of China’s rights record at the U.N. Offices at Geneva. (Fabrice Coffrinic/AFP)

But China’s “gaming” of the review process did not entirely wipe out opportunities for countries to speak out about their legitimate concerns.

There was a heightened focus, for example, on the plight of Tibetans and Uyghurs, with the number of recommendations related to Tibet increasing to 24 from 10 in 2018. Likewise, the number of countries mentioning Tibet in their floor speeches doubled from nine to 20.

“The dramatic increase in the number of U.N. member states who spoke out for Tibet … speaks to the existential threat China’s assimilationist policies pose to the Tibetan people,” said Lhadon Tethong, the director of the Tibet Action Institute.

Campaign for Uyghurs executive director Rushan Abbas said the 30 countries who called out human rights abuses against Uyghurs showed that the world was no longer being fooled by China’s denials.

“This significant outcry, despite China’s persistent lies and outright denial, stands as a testament to the commitment to human rights and justice,” Abbas said. “It also sends a powerful message that the international community will not be swayed by false narratives in light of the mounting evidence exposing the crimes of the PRC.”

China has until Feb. 9, 2024 to provide its initial written response to each of the…

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A Timeline of EU-China Relations Post-2024 European Elections

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EU-China relations are crucial in global business, with geopolitical shifts and technological competition shaping the dynamic. The recent EU Parliament elections have brought a political realignment, leading to a more assertive stance towards China. Strategic discussions and new working groups aim to navigate the evolving relationship.


EU-China relations play a crucial role in the global business landscape. The current circumstances, marked by geopolitical shifts, economic interdependence, and technological competition, contribute to the volatility and frequent adjustments in this relationship. In this timeline, we aim to capture key milestones and developments that shape EU-China ties.

The European Parliament elections, held between June 6 and June 9, 2024, have ushered in a new era for EU-China relations. The election results revealed a significant shift in the political landscape, with centrist parties losing ground to far-right groups like the Identity and Democracy (ID) and the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). This political realignment is poised to influence the EU’s approach to China, introducing more varied and potentially conflicting perspectives on policy.

Traditionally, the EU has maintained a cautious stance toward China, epitomized by the 2019 publication of the EU-China Strategic Outlook, which framed the relationship as one of “partnership, competition, and systemic rivalry.” This tripartite approach was later reiterated in the European Council’s Conclusion on China. However, the narrative toward China has taken a decisive turn with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s speech delivered on March 30, 2023. This speech marked a shift towards a more assertive stance, further strengthened by the release of the European Economic Security Strategy in June of the same year.

In the aftermath of the 2024 elections, the increased fragmentation within the EU Parliament suggests a more complex and uncertain path to forming a cohesive strategy toward China. This uncertainty poses challenges for European companies conducting business with China, as well as Chinese and global businesses operating in Europe, who must now navigate a more unpredictable regulatory environment.

Amid these developments, the Chinese government is keenly observing the evolving dynamics within the EU. China aims to cultivate allies within the European bloc, and this intent was evident during President Xi Jinping’s recent European tour, which included official visits to France, Serbia, and Hungary. During his visit, President Xi reiterated the EU’s significance as China’s major trading partner.

As the new EU Parliament begins its work, strategic discussions have been underway to address key issues, including the EU’s technological and strategic autonomy. To manage different views and promote collaboration on shared interests with China, new cross-regional working groups have been established. These groups are focusing on sectors such as agriculture, aviation, artificial intelligence, energy, and finance, aiming to enhance resilience and foster dialogue.

In this article, we present a timeline of EU-China relations following the EU Parliament elections, reflecting the complexities and opportunities presented by this new chapter in bilateral relations.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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Economic Update: Consumption and Trade in China See Strong Recovery Despite Decrease in Industrial Output by May 2024

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Industrial output growth in China has slowed, with robust performance in some manufacturing sectors but an increase in consumption driven by services, retail sales, and imports. Despite a slowdown, equipment manufacturing has been crucial in stabilizing overall industrial growth. Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors have shown strong performance, while the automobile manufacturing sector has decelerated due to falling domestic demand.


The data indicates a slowdown in industrial output growth, despite some manufacturing sectors still showing robust performance. In contrast, consumption is on the rise, driven by growth in services, retail sales, and imports. The uptick in these areas suggests a strengthening of domestic demand, spurred by a stabilizing global economic situation and the boost from the Labor Day Holiday at the beginning of May.

China’s foreign trade also continued to show marked improvement, reflecting the country’s strong export capabilities and increasing imports.

Year-on-year growth in China’s industrial sector slowed in May from the previous month but remained relatively strong. Total industrial value-added output grew by 5.6 percent year-on-year in May, a month-on-month increase of 0.3 percent but a deceleration from 6.7 percent year-on-year growth recorded in April. Value-added output of the manufacturing industry grew 6 percent year-on-year, a deceleration from the 7.5 percent year-on-year in April.

According to NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua, equipment manufacturing played a crucial role in stabilizing overall industrial growth. The sector’s added value increased by 7.5 percent from the previous year, contributing 2.6 percentage points to the growth of all industries above the designated size and accounting for 45.7 percent of the total growth. Within this sector:

Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors exhibited particularly strong performance:

However, the automobile manufacturing sector decelerated significantly from a 16.3 percent year-on-year jump in April to 7.6 percent year-on-year growth in May, possibly due to falling domestic demand.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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Outlook for China’s Wine Market: Current Trends and Opportunities

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China’s wine market faces challenges like declining consumption and imports, but remains resilient. Adapting to consumer preferences, focusing on quality and sustainability, and using digital platforms for sales are key strategies. Despite setbacks, the market is promising for foreign producers.


Despite challenges such as declining consumption and import figures, China’s wine market remains resilient and promising. Strategic adaptation to evolving consumer preferences, emphasis on quality and sustainability, and leveraging digital platforms for sales are pivotal strategies for success in this dynamic and competitive landscape.

In recent years, China’s wine market has faced significant challenges marked by declines in key metrics such as consumption, imports, and domestic production. These difficulties were further compounded by the disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these setbacks, the market retains its allure, presenting opportunities for foreign wine producers and exporters who are willing to adapt and strategically engage.

As consumer preferences evolve and government policies increasingly emphasize quality and sustainability, understanding these complexities becomes crucial for stakeholders navigating China’s evolving wine landscape. By staying attuned to shifting trends and regulatory developments, stakeholders can position themselves effectively to capitalize on the market’s enduring potential.

The wine sector in China has experienced dramatic shifts over the last two decades, initially reflecting rapid growth and then gradually declining. In the early 2000s, China emerged as a lucrative market for global wineries seeking expansion due to soaring wine imports driven by rising consumer wealth and the perception of wine as a symbol of sophistication. However, per capita consumption peaked around 2012, and imports have since plateaued, with recent years showing significant market contraction. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges, particularly affecting wine sales due to its association with social gatherings, which were restricted during lockdowns.

Following this trend, in 2023, China saw a significant decline in wine consumption, with a 24.7 percent decrease compared to 2022. According to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), China’s wine consumption has been falling since 2018, averaging a loss of 2 million hectoliters annually.

Nevertheless, China remains the ninth-largest wine-consuming nation worldwide.

Looking forward to 2024, China’s wine market is poised for dynamic activity, delineated primarily by consumption settings: at-home and out-of-home. According to Statista, revenue from wine sales in supermarkets and convenience stores (at-home) is forecast to reach US$9.7 billion. In contrast, revenue generated from wine consumed in restaurants and bars (out-of-home) is expected to be substantially higher, totaling US$17.2 billion. This projects the total revenue from the wine market to reach US$26.8 billion by the end of 2024.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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