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Beijing diplomat tries to silence dissident Yang Jianli at the UN


Geneva (AsiaNews / Agencies) – A Beijing diplomat has tried in every way to interrupt the speech of a Chinese dissident before the UN Human Rights Council.

Yang Jianli, a dissident at the time of Tiananmen, now in exile in the US, was invited yesterday to the UN headquarters as part of the delegation from the NGO UN Watch accredited to the United Nations.

Just seconds after beginning his speech, in which Yang questioned the morality of the presence of the Chinese Communist Party in that human rights venue, the Beijing representative, Chen Cheng began to shout and to interrupt the intervention, which in his opinion “seriously affects the reputation of the Council, and should be blocked”.

Yang tried to continue, citing events in China’s recent history and its violations of human rights: the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the repression of the democratic movement and the Falun Gong spiritual movement. “Millions of people are dead,” said Yang.

Chen interrupted again, appealing to the chair to “rule against his speaking.”

Invited to continue speaking instead, Yang warned that China “will return to the road of personal dictatorship” to control speech and crackdown on activists, churches in Xinjiang and Tibet.

Yang Jianli, 55, after participating in the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989, fled to the United States. Since then, China has refused his passport. In 2002 he managed to enter the country and was arrested, spending five years in prison. He was released in 2007 after enormous international pressure. In exile he earned a degree in political economy from Harvard University and a degree in mathematics from the University of Berkeley. In 2010 he was the one who collected the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Liu Xiaobo, sentenced to prison.

Yesterday’s meeting at the UN headquarters in Geneva focused on the Vienna Declaration and the Action Program, which calls for NGOs “to be free to carry out their human rights activities without interference”.

Chen Cheng, interrupting Yang Jianli several times, claimed that the dissident’s had nothing to do with the topic under discussion.

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