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ccp-maskWASHINGTON—The Chinese Communist Party is “getting away with murder” as it expands its tentacles in international bodies like the United Nations to shun criticism, according to Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.).

“They are getting away with, literally, murder in plain sight, and too many countries are acquiescing or running, sadly, away from the issues that China is notoriously known for,” he told The Epoch Times, citing the regime’s repression of religious freedom and pervasive use of torture.

“Everywhere you look, it is bad and getting worse, and they are doing a full court press at the United Nations to cover it up.”

Mr. Smith, who chairs the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, on April 10 presided over a hearing examining Beijing’s decades-long effort to subvert the United Nations system.

The United States remains the largest funder to the United Nations, contributing as much as $18 billion in 2022—the latest year with full data available.

Despite its outsized payments, the United States’ generosity hasn’t translated to commensurate influence at the United Nations when compared to China.

Chinese officials headed four of 15 U.N. specialized agencies, with deputies in nine others as of 2020. Leadership roles at the U.N. system prove a handy tool for Beijing when its interests are on the line.


In 2017, then Under-Secretary-General for the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo ordered security personnel at the U.N. headquarters in New York to expel a prominent Uyghur activist from the building.

“As a Chinese diplomat, we can’t be a bit careless when it comes to issues relating to China’s national sovereignty and national interests,” he told Chinese state CCTV in a later interview.

A Chinese official leading the U.N.’s civil aviation body reportedly covered up a cyber attack linked to Chinese state hackers in late 2016. Chinese delegates have harassed Chinese activists, photographing and filming them on U.N. premises, and have sought to block human rights groups critical of Beijing from gaining U.N. consultative status.


In 2019, a Chinese representative twice interrupted testimony of Hong Kong pro-democracy singer Denise Ho, who appealed to the U.N. to help protect her city’s freedoms from Beijing’s encroachment.

Mr. Smith was particularly frustrated to see the regime sitting on the U.N.’s Human Rights Council that selects human rights monitors, even while Beijing consistently blocks international requests—including from him—to independently investigate human rights violations on the ground.

After his anti-forced organ harvesting bill—targeting the regime’s killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs—passed the House near-unanimously, a Chinese embassy official sent an angry email denying that the abuses had taken place.

International experts for years have rebuffed such claims. A London-based independent tribunal conducted a year-long investigation and concluded that such crimes have been happening in China for years “on a significant scale.”

The lawmaker followed up by asking to visit Xinjiang, the northwestern Chinese region now associated with mass detention camps of Uyghurs, but got only “crickets” from the Chinese embassy, he said at the hearing.

The United Nations has mentioned forced organ harvesting but once in public.


In 2021, a dozen human rights experts, including special rapporteurs to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and members of a working group on arbitrary detention, said they were “extremely alarmed by reports of alleged ‘organ harvesting’ targeting minorities, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims, and Christians, in detention in China.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to the U.N. regarding the criticisms from Mr. Smith and hearing witnesses.

Beijing’s browbeating has apparently worked, with U.N. officials now seen doing its bidding.

High-ranking U.N. officials have handed dissident names to Chinese delegates upon request, according to leaked documents and a whistleblower.

Taiwan, a democratically-ruled island that Beijing claims as its own, is denied a voice on the U.N. platform. Amid Chinese pressure, former U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet delayed a long-awaited report on Xinjiang until minutes before her term expired. In a much-criticized China trip months before she left the post, she trumpeted the regime’s claims of eradicating poverty.


Andrew Bremberg, a former U.S. representative to the U.N. in Geneva, recalled with vexation top U.N.’s public health officials “parroting propaganda information” and touting with great fanfare what little information they got from Beijing early in the pandemic.

Meeting with Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during that period, the World Health Organization’s head related the challenge in getting data from China, the former ambassador said.

But moments after their exchange over Beijing’s transparency problem, he said, Mr. Tedros praised the regime for “setting a new standard” in outbreak response.”

“That is the moral failing of the WHO leadership at the time,” he said at the hearing. “And unfortunately, in many cases, the leadership of many of these U.N. bodies, when addressing the issues of China—they are intimidated, they feel afraid.”


Chinese officials also for years tried to slip party rhetoric such as the “Xi Jinping thought” and win-win cooperation in the field of human rights into U.N. resolutions—and succeeded because of “apathy and ignorance of democratic countries,” according to Kelley Currie, who had served in various agencies on human rights, humanitarian aid, and women’s issues at the U.N.

When she came to the U.N. Economic and Social Council in 2017, she began flagging such language, hosting meetings with other delegations to make clear that the United States will not allow such wording through.

“All of these efforts to say that China is contributing to this system through Xi Jinping thought—if you stop and think about it, it is insane,” she told The Epoch Times. “But very few people stop and question it.”

At least not the U.N. leadership, she said.

“They very uncritically accept this as normal, when they wouldn’t accept it as normal from anyone else or any other place.”

They repeat such language, “either intentionally or unwittingly because they think that it helps them get somewhere with Beijing,” not realizing that the regime is using them.

She sees it as a problematic asymmetry: afraid of losing access to authoritarian countries, these international agencies “say nice things about the worst people in public and say mean things about democratically elected leaders.”

And Beijing is “savvy” enough to work such “pro-authoritarian bias within the U.N.” to its advantage.

“They very much see the U.N. as a megaphone to magnify their own” narratives, she said.

Rep. Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) said she found the language insertion alarming.

“We need to do the job of educating our colleague countries about that language and why it is dangerous,” the vice ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee told The Epoch Times. Allowing Chinese influence to advance further in the U.N. system, she said, is no different from handing the standard-setting powers to Beijing.


Pushing back requires the United States to act “just as aggressively as” the Chinese regime, and now is a crucial window of opportunity, argued Mr. Bremberg.

“In the EU, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shaken them from their kind of stupefied slumber,” he told The Epoch Times’ sister media NTD. “I think they now recognize, ‘Okay, not just the human rights abuses but the potential for Chinese aggression geopolitically is very real.’”

Mr. Smith echoed him.

The Chinese regime leader’s “design for the world is dictatorship, and he won’t stop just with Taiwan, certainly,” he said. “This is a dictatorship that’s on steroids.”

He called for a “fresh dose of intellectual honesty especially at the U.N.”


It took years and many meetings for Ms. Currie to bring a change. But by the time she left in 2021, some countries had begun to side with the United States, she said, and the Chinese regime “eventually stopped trying.”

“If we are clear, and we explain ourselves, a lot of good things can happen,” she said at the hearing.


Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S. politics, U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights.