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Chinese experts agree with Greece’s block of EU Statement on China’s Human Rights Record

Chinese experts on Sunday called for fairness and greater understanding of the country’s human rights record after a report said a European Union (EU) statement on the country’s human rights record was blocked.

Greece blocked an EU statement at the United Nations that criticized China’s human rights record, Reuters reported Sunday.

The EU was due to make its statement last week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, but failed to win the necessary agreement from all 28 EU states, the report said.

A Greek foreign ministry official said Athens blocked the statement, calling it “unconstructive criticism of China” and said separate EU talks with China outside the UN were a better avenue for discussions.

It should be noted and understood that China and some European countries have a different focus and criteria to evaluate human rights, Chang Jian, director of the Center for the Study of Human Rights in Nankai University, told the Global Times on Sunday, after returning from a Geneva conference on human rights on Wednesday.

“China paid more attention to people’s survival and development rights, while European or Western countries focus more on citizens’ political rights and freedom,” Chang elaborated.

For China, the most important and urgent human rights issue is to improve people’s living standards, which require a stable social order that comes with some restrictions, Chang said.

For developing countries that face a greater threat of social conflict, human rights can never be protected if the social order is broken, experts said.

European countries also have different challenges and policies on human rights, Chang added.

Stable countries are more relaxed on individual freedoms, while those that face terrorist attacks and an immigration crisis, such as the UK and France, shift to greater restrictions, he said.

Experts said unfair blame and accusations made without proper investigation do not contribute to the global exchange on human rights.

To better appreciate China’s human rights progress and experiences, the China Society of Human Rights Studies and the Chinese Mission to UN at Geneva held The International Seminar on Human Rights and Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind in Geneva on Wednesday.

A group of Chinese non-governmental organizations on Friday also met on the sidelines of the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council, on the theme, “Promotion of Human Rights: Role of Poverty Eradication,” the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The seminars and meetings were held months after Chinese President Xi Jiping delivered a speech at the UN headquarters at Geneva on the concept of a shared future for mankind.