China is launching a global campaign to promote its own vision of human rights, after foreign countries accused it of violating international law by detaining ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslims in re-education camps in its Xinjiang region.
The country recently organised a human rights summit and invited representatives from North Korea, Pakistan and Syria, countries who have also been accused of major human rights violations.
“I believe China can, with the help of all developing countries, redefine human rights,” said Bouthaina Shaaban, the political adviser to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, as one of the speakers.
The latest move is seen by the West as the country’s attempt to defend itself by allying with other countries to back its policies at the United Nations, where 24 members condemned its humans rights record in October.
“The people of each country all have the right to decide for themselves their human rights development path,” Chinese vice foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu said at the forum.
Last week, China was criticised again over leaked documents that revealed unethical instructions for authorities on how to deal with Uyhgurs. The United States then passed a bill that requires a stronger response to the country’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority. Beijing has condemned the bill.