The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), a Geneva-based human rights NGO, has published a report detailing China’s influence in the UN economic and social affairs system, highlighting potential risks for civil society participation and the promotion and protection of human rights. According to the ISHR’s press release:
July 14, 2021 A newly-released report, China and the UN Economic and Social Council, consolidates, for the first time, research by ISHR, other civil society organisations and traditional media. It provides an overview of the way in which China has extended its representation throughout the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and its subsidiary bodies and processes, enabling the Chinese government to significantly influence the UN’s development priorities and cooperation with civil society. […]
Chinese government representatives, serving in their official or nominally-personal capacities, and government delegations themselves have been appointed or are active across ECOSOC bodies and agencies at the highest levels, the briefing shows. The near-universal coverage ensures that standard-setting and grant-making within these UN bodies are highly aligned with Chinese flagship issues, such as the right to development, ‘counter-terrorism’ and above all, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Read the full report here.
The report notes that China has more senior leadership representation than any other state on the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and uses its influence to promote the Belt and Road agenda through ECOSOC agencies. According to the report, China also seeks to acts as a gatekeeper to UN access for NGOs while at the same time facilitating access for a growing number of organizations aligned with Chinese government and party views. Government-organized NGOs, or ‘GONGOs,’ represent an estimated half – at least – of all China-based organizations who have a standing ‘stamp of approval’ to participate in UN meetings.
For more GIOR coverage of China’s influence operations, go here.