Remarks by Syrian envoy spark controversy at U.N. Human Rights Council

Big news at the U.N. today is the passage of a resolution to impose new Iranian sanctions -- a document that, if nothing else, epitomizes the delicate (read: watered down) diplomatic language that is well on its way to becoming the signature style of the international body.

But lest anyone accuse U.N. delegates of taking cover behind circumlocutions, Rania al-Rifai, the Syrian envoy to the U.N Human Rights Council, proved that there's still room for undiluted and unfriendly language at the United Nations when she said on Tuesday:

"Hatred [in Israel] is widespread, taught to even small children ... Let me quote a song that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school. And I quote, ‘With my teeth I will rip your flesh, with my mouth I will suck your blood.' End of quote."

Inside the room, business proceeded as usual, but controversy instantly erupted from outside the U.N. Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, an NGO that monitors the Council, rebuked Council President Alex Van Meeuwen for allowing Rifai's comments to stand unchallenged and called upon Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to censure Van Meeuwen for his oversight.



Uprising at a Chinese Internet addiction camp

Some of China's young Internet "addicts" have evidently been pushed too far

A group of young Chinese web addicts staged a mutiny at an Internet "boot camp", tying up their instructor and fleeing the facility over its tough military-like techniques, state media said Tuesday.

The 14 mutineers, aged 15 to 22, were all caught by police when they failed to pay a taxi fare following their escape from the rehabilitation centre in east China's Jiangsu province last week, the Global Times said.

They had tied up their supervisor in his bed to allow them to escape the "monotonous work and intensive training" at the camp, it said.

Conditions in these camps are reportedly pretty horrific. The use of electroshock therapy was banned by the government last year, but reports of abuses continue, including that of a 15-year-old boy who was beaten to death at a facility last summer. Christopher Stewart had a good piece on the Chinese Internet addiction panic in Wired a few months ago.

Hat tip: China Digital Times

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