For the next two weeks, the United Nations is holding its 4th session of Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR was created in 2006 as a process to review the human rights records of all the UN member nations. 16 countries are reviewed at each UPR session. China is among the countries to be reviewed in the upcoming session.

Months before this UPR, four dozens of NGO’s submitted special reports on China to the UN. Amnesty International is among one of those NGO’s. Last week, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (formerly Congressional Human Rights Caucus) held a hearing on the human rights status of China to prepare for the UPR. This is the first congressional hearing on China for the Obama presidency. During the opening statement, Commission Co-chair, Congressman Jim McGovern spoke extensively about Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan and he also mentioned Charter 08.

China has gotten away scot-free from its plethora of human rights violations last year prior to and during the Beijing Olympics. The UPR will be a key opportunity since the Olympics for the world to take a stand on human rights for China. A critical review can send a significant message to China and other major violators that human rights abuses are taken seriously and the “business as usual” attitude would not be tolerated.

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