An official website of the United States government

Item 4 General Debate Right of Reply to the People’s Republic of China
As delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative Kelly Billingsley
September 27, 2023

Item 4 General Debate Right of Reply to the People’s Republic of China

As Delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative Kelly Billingsley


Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

This Right of Reply is in response to the statement by the delegate from the People’s Republic of China.

The PRC suggests the United States turn inward to address our own injustices. The irony is that this is precisely what we have done. We have consistently reminded this Council that no nation, including our own, is above scrutiny. Our Constitution begins with the aspiration “to form a more perfect union,” recognizing our imperfections but emphasizing our pursuit of improvement. It is our willingness to confront and improve upon our shortcomings that sets us apart from countries that seek to shield themselves from scrutiny. This commitment to transparency is why the United States has extended an open invitation to all thematic Special Procedures Mandate Holders. The PRC knows well that this is the case.

We have welcomed multiple visits by Special Procedures in recent years, including the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues in late 2021, the Special Rapporteur for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while countering Terrorism, and the International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the context of Law Enforcement this year. We will also soon receive a visit by the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism.

So you will forgive me if I am a little confused when my colleague from the PRC says the United States has turned a blind eye to internal issues.

We call on the People’s Republic of China to extend standing invitations to all thematic Special Procedure Mandate Holders and to begin welcoming visits by Special Procedures, however uncomfortable it may be.

If, as China claims, people in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong enjoy stability, prosperity, and the full range of human rights, then China should have nothing to hide.

But it is evident that a stark divide exists between countries that candidly confront their past misdeeds and those that unconvincingly reject any accusation of wrongdoing and ongoing challenges.

The PRC’s repeated use of Points of Order to stifle NGO voices in the Council is a stark testament to its fear of transparency; such tactics cannot and will not obscure the mounting evidence of ongoing genocide.

True progress on human rights, both globally and domestically, demands unwavering openness, transparent self-reflection, and a deliberate move away from mere denial.

As articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human dignity has no national boundaries. As Martin Luther King Junior said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”