China wins a seat on UN's human rights body

China was elected to the council five times in 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016 and 2020.

China on Tuesday was elected as a member of the Human Rights Council for the term 2021-23 in the election held at the 75th United Nations General Assembly.

“China expresses heartfelt gratitude to member states for their support and warmly congratulates other elected members,” according to a press release issued by the Chinese mission to the United Nations.

“China always attaches great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights. Following a path with Chinese characteristics, China has made great achievements in human rights development,” the press release said.

China has previously served as member of the Human Rights Council four times, and will take this opportunity to continue to firmly uphold multilateralism and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. China will participate in depth in the work of the Human Rights Council, actively promote international exchange and cooperation on human rights, and oppose the politicization of human rights issues and wrong practices of double standards to make greater contributions to the healthy development of international human rights, it added.

The 193-member UN General Assembly also elected Russia, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Malawi, Cuba, Bolivia, Uzbekistan, France and Britain to the 47-member council. Senegal, Nepal, Pakistan, Ukraine and Mexico were re-elected for a second three-year term. Council members cannot serve more than two consecutive terms.

China was elected to the council five times in 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016 and 2020.

Saudi Arabia failed in its bid to win a seat on the Geneva-based body. Candidates are elected by secret ballot in geographical groups to ensure even representation. The Asia-Pacific group, which included Saudi Arabia, was the only competitive race with five candidates vying for four seats.

The new members will begin their term on January 1, 2021.

US President Donald Trump’s administration quit the council in 2018, half way through its term, over what it called chronic bias against Israel and a lack of reform.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian dismissed criticism of China’s election from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “very absurd,” while criticizing Washington’s own record and accusing it of interfering in other countries’ internal affairs using human rights as a pretext.

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