Is the UN Helping China Hide Its Crimes?

Is the UN Helping China Hide Its Crimes?
The United Nations logo at the U.N. headquarters in New York City in October 2016. (Lewis Tse Pui Lung/Adobe Stock)
John Mac Ghlionn
In 1945, shortly after the Second World War, the United Nations (U.N.) was established. According to its website, the intergovernmental organization was created to develop “friendly relations among nations, and promote “social progress, better living standards and human rights.”
In reality, though, the U.N. appears to be inherently corrupt. In 2005, as The Economist reported at the time, Benon Sevan, the former head of the U.N.’s oil-for-food program in Iraq was accused of taking “kickbacks” to help an oil company win numerous contracts. Another senior U.N. official was accused of soliciting bribes. Further investigations proved that Sevan had accepted bribes from the former Iraqi regime. Shortly after the revelations, Sevan resigned from his position. In October 2005, a criminal investigation was launched. Sevan quickly fled the United States, where he resided at the time, and returned to his native Cyprus, where he still resides to this day.

Now, the U.N. appears to be aiding the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to cover up its crimes (at least temporarily) in Xinjiang, a region in northern China where acts of genocide are occurring.

Are the U.N. and the CCP colluding to cover up human rights abuses? This might sound like a ludicrous question to ask—but it’s not.

On Feb. 2, the South China Morning Post published a rather damning piece, in which the U.N. and China stand accused of constructing a “mutually convenient stalemate.” The accusation came after the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the organization’s top human rights body, confirmed that it “will not publish a report on alleged abuses in the Chinese region of Xinjiang before this month’s Winter Olympics.”


The headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) named Palais Wilson, honoring the former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, in Geneva on Jan. 8, 2018. (Fabrice Coffrin/AFP via Getty Images)
The headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) named Palais Wilson, honoring the former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, in Geneva on Jan. 8, 2018. (Fabrice Coffrin/AFP via Getty Images)

After all, as the Post piece notes, the Xinjiang report has been in the works for close to three years. Additionally, it is “believed to have been ready for publication for much of that time.” Commenting on the inexplicable delay, OHCHR spokeswoman Liz Throssell said: “I am afraid we don’t have an updated timeline yet for the publication of the report. However, I understand that it will not be ready for publication before the start of the Winter Olympics this Friday (Feb 4).”

Is Beijing pressuring the U.N. into silence, preventing the organization from “spoiling” the Winter Olympics with some harsh truths? It appears so.

Last year, Nikki Haley, a former U.S. ambassador, accused China of “quietly working to corrupt the United Nations from top to bottom.” She called on the Biden administration to “call out China’s attempts to co-opt the United Nations and its agencies” and rallied other countries “to oppose China’s influence.”

Haley had a point.

The U.N. has a number of specialized agencies. Fifteen to be exact. Four of these are run by Chinese nationals: the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDP), and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The U.N. relies heavily on funding to cover administrative costs and its 30-plus affiliated programs and specialized agencies, as well as peacekeeping operations. A lot of this funding comes from China. In fact, in recent decades, the CCP’s financial support for the U.N. has grown exponentially.
According to researchers at the China Power Project, before the turn of the century, China was reluctant to play an active role in the organization. Today, however, it’s now one of the largest contributors to the U.N.’s regular budget and peacekeeping budget. Interestingly, it now “provides more personnel to peacekeeping operations than any other permanent member of the Security Council.” All of these “contributions,” note the authors, allow the CCP “to exert diplomatic and political influence globally.” In other words, the CCP’s contributions allow it to control the U.N. narrative.

It’s clear to see that China carries a great deal of clout. Should we be surprised? The answer is no. Not at all. The U.N. appears to be a highly compromised organization, masquerading as an impartial one.

If in doubt, let me point you in the direction of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which is, to quote the aforementioned Haley, “a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias.” Again, Haley is spot on. This cesspool consists of Qatar, a country with a horrid history of human rights abuses; and Kazakhstan, a country where at least 225 people, many of whom happened to be peaceful protesters, were recently gunned down in broad daylight. It also consists of Russia, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and, of course, China. All of these countries score poorly on the human rights and rule of law index.

Which brings us back to the initial question: is the U.N. helping China?

Although we cannot answer this question with a definitive yes, it’s safe to say that the U.N. is far from impartial. It’s also safe to say that communist China, a country where genocide is most definitely occurring, has far too much influence over an organization that was established to prosecute, rather than protect, bad actors.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. He covers psychology and social relations, and has a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation. His work has been published by the New York Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, and The Spectator US, among others.
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