MANILA - China on Monday defended President Rodrigo Duterte after United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein suggested that the tough-talking Filipino leader submit himself to a psychiatric evaluation.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said in a regular press conference that Duterte’s achievements have “won great approval and extensive support” among Filipinos.
“Anyone without bias can see that President Duterte has made positive efforts since assuming office to combat drug-related crimes as well as terrorism, develop the national economy, and improve people's livelihood, which have effectively protected and promoted the Philippine people's fundamental rights to security and development,” Lu said in a briefing in Beijing.
The UN rights commissioner earlier slammed the Duterte administration for its actions against UN envoys, including reportedly filing terrorism charges against one, saying "it makes one believe that the president of the Philippines needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation."
Lu said the UN rights office “shall respect the sovereignty of the Philippines and the will of its people, view the outcomes of the Philippines' fight against drugs and terrorism in a comprehensive, unbiased and objective way, and support its efforts to move forward its human rights cause in light of its national conditions.”
“As an agency of the UN, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is expected to fulfill its duties within the framework set out by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter,” Lu added.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque welcomed Lu’s comment, saying “that basically should be the correct stand of all states.”
“China’s response was correct and this is not just because the Philippines is friends with China, but because that is really the objectives of the United Nations,” he said.
“So all officials of the United Nations must in fact discharge their functions towards realizing the avowed goals of the UN system and should not resort to abusing and disrespecting elected heads of states of UN member states.”
Since assuming office, Duterte has sought to improve ties with China, long marred by a bitter dispute over the South China Sea, in pursuit of improved economic ties with Asia’s largest economy.