The 60th Session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission is being held in Geneva from March the 15th to April the 23rd 2004. Member of the German Human Rights Committee, Mr. Haibach, who is also member of the German Parliament, arrived in Geneva on Monday. Prior to his departure for Geneva, he was interviewed as follows:
Mr. Haibach: I felt that German President Rau’s comments on China’s human rights practices during his trip to China last year were quite direct and very good. I hope German Chancellor Schroeder and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can also use such explicit rhetoric and attitude to evaluate China’s human rights situation.
Reporter: Last week, the U.S. Mission declared that the U.S. was going to introduce a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Conference, condemning China’s human rights practices. However, China fiercely reacted by saying that these were China’s internal affairs, and asked the U.S. to mind its own human rights situation. What is the German Mission’s attitude towards this matter?
Mr. Haibach: Germany will support this resolution. Regarding this resolution, China and Cuba’s reactions were fierce and offensive. China is a signatory to various international human rights conventions, and it is supposed to observe those conventions. All the nations should monitor one another. The German Government has paid attention to its domestic human rights situation. For one thing, Germany not only monitors other countries’ human rights practices, it also has a set of monitoring systems. Recently, for instance, Frankfurt police officers’ overreaction in its law enforcement operations has also been criticised internally.
Reporter: What will be the German government’s main tasks in this session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission?
Mr. Haibach: Mainly civil rights, freedom of belief and minorities’ rights.
Reporter: The Chinese Government often stresses that different cultures may have different concepts of human rights.
Mr. Haibach: Regardless of cultural background, all the signatories to the United Nations Agreements on Human Rights should observe the stipulations of this Agreement.
Reporter: The Chinese Government has also often said that China has a special Chinese situation, and the right to subsist is the Chinese people’s human right.
Mr. Haibach: If so, it would be a very strange definition with such a strict limitation. Take Falun Gong practitioners and Tibetans for example. Many of them subsist in China, but they are not allowed to have their own beliefs. The right to subsist is far from the definition of human rights.
Reporter: In November 2003, Falun Gong practitioners filed a criminal lawsuit with Germany’s Federal Prosecutor against Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and other Chinese officials who have persecuted Falun Gong. What do you think of this issue?
Mr. Haibach: It’s hard to say whether this lawsuit can succeed or not, but it is effective if we view it from the angle of attracting public opinion and more people’s attention. Falun Gong practitioners should lodge this case with the International Court of Justice.
Reporter: After the breakup of the Soviet Union and other communist countries, people found that human rights abuse in the past was very serious when they were under Communist rule. In countries currently under Communist rule, such as China, North Korea, Cuba, etc., human rights abuse is still very serious. What do you think are the major reasons for this kind of situation?
Mr. Haibach: If we talk about the situation in all Communist countries, it would be a philosophical issue. I found that China often resorted to violence to deal with problems. The government forces its people to accept a system they are reluctant to accept, and the Cultural Revolution is a good example. It reminded me of the words of the Bible, “Hatred begets hatred.”
Reporter: Are you a Christian?
Mr. Haibach: Yes.
Reporter: There is also similar saying in Chinese, “If you plant melons you get melons; if you plant beans you get beans.”
Mr. Haibach: Yes, That’s what it means. There is a similar saying in almost every culture.
Reporter: Thank you for the interview.
Mr. Haibach: Thank you.
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