China's human rights record under President Xi Jinping will come under formal international scrutiny on Tuesday for the first time since he took power, with the main U.N. rights forum set to hear accusations that the government is expanding a crackdown on dissent.
The United Nations Human Rights Council, which reviews all U.N. members every four years, will give concerned countries a chance to challenge the administration of Xi, who some experts had thought would be less hard line than his predecessors.
Instead, critics say Xi has presided over a clampdown that has moved beyond the targeting of dissidents calling for political change. For example, authorities have detained at least 16 activists who have demanded officials publicly disclose their wealth as well as scores of people accused of online "rumor-mongering."
"Xi Jinping has definitely taken the country backwards on human rights," prominent rights lawyer Mo Shaoping told Reuters.
"Look at the number of people who are being locked up and the measures that are being taken to lock them up."