When the United Nations was formed after World War II it represented a new, bright, shining ideal. We would live together in brotherhood. We would banish war. We would vanquish tyranny.
If the U.N. ever lived up to that ideal, that was long ago. It is now a bloated, corrupt world bureaucracy that increasingly seems an arm of perhaps the most dangerous force on the planet – the Chinese Communist Party.
Emma Reilly is a human rights attorney. She has been working at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2012. In 2013 she was asked to hand over to the Chinese government the names of dissidents and human rights defenders who planned on attending a Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva. The individuals in question were attending the meeting to lodge complaints regarding human rights abuses by the Chinese Communists. The request for their names came from Beijing.
Reilly, understandably enough, was stunned and alarmed by the request. It was obvious to her, as it would be to anyone with any common sense, that the Chinese wanted the names so they could take action against the individuals in question. Providing the requested information to Beijing would put peoples’ lives in danger.
“I felt it was very dangerous. I couldn’t think of a purpose for which China would want this information other than to intimidate dissidents and their families,” Reilly said in a recent interview.
“I also felt confident that it was clearly against both OHCHR’s mandate and the rules of the Human Rights Council. The U.N.’s human rights office should not actively facilitate human rights abuses by China, and that shouldn’t be a controversial stance.”
Reilly protested to her superiors. Then she protested again. Her protests were ignored. The names were handed over. The United Nations does not deny this. It has, in fact, not only admitted that it did so but claimed it took “precautionary measures” to ensure the security of the Chinese activists. What those measures might be remains a mystery.
This was not an isolated incident. According to Reilly despite her continuing efforts to end the practice, the names of Chinese dissidents testifying before the United Nations continue to be routinely handed over to Chinese Communist authorities to this day. Reilly remains on the U.N. payroll, but in apparent retaliation for her whistleblowing has been moved to a new position where she has no actual duties and is sidelined from any real work.
The U.N. for its part claims it stopped the practice of sharing names with the Chinese circa 2015. It has offered no proof to substantiate this claim.
Among those whose identities were given to Beijing by the U.N. were Uyghur Muslims, pro-Tibet activists, and others planning to expose Beijing’s human rights abuses. In some cases, the individuals whose names were given to the regime were prevented by Chinese authorities from testifying. Some of these individuals were intercepted by the Chinese and arrested. In other cases, family members were kidnapped, tortured and, in some cases, killed.
The individuals whose identities were given to the Chinese were not all Chinese citizens. Some of them were citizens of other countries including the United States and Germany. Reilly says she told both countries about this and that nothing was done by either country to protest the process.
The government of China is a thuggish, totalitarian criminal enterprise. It practices forced organ harvesting on an industrial scale. It is actively involved in genocide against the Uyghur people. It is pursuing a decades long project to completely erase the Tibetan culture from the face of the Earth. It has occupied Hong Kong, crushed its democracy movement and is rapidly implementing total totalitarian control over that once free and vibrant city.
The Chinese Communist Party controls its own people via a giant internal surveillance system the likes of which the world has never seen. It monitors the activities of dissidents worldwide and pursues them relentlessly.
The reach of the Chinese Communist Party extends even to the United States. The Justice Department recently indicted nine people, including Chinese nationals and an American private investigator, on charges they were part of a Chinese government operation called “Fox Hunt”. The purpose of this operation was to locate and stalk Chinese dissidents in the United States and then forcibly repatriate them to China. Chinese Fox Hunt teams are composed of agents from Beijing’s Ministry of Public Security.
The U.N. ought to stand resolutely against all of this. That it does not and, in fact, actively assists this monstruous activity is shocking and revolting.
There needs to be an immediate and aggressive investigation of the practice uncovered. The United States needs to lead the way. Those responsible need not only to lose their jobs but to face prosecution as accomplices to human rights abuses, torture and murder. The United Nations forgot its purpose long ago. That does not mean we should stand silent in the face of this criminal activity.
The U.N. has betrayed its charter and its ideals. We must not betray ours.