\r\n\r\nYang Jianli is founder and president of Initiatives for China. He was imprisoned in China from 2002 to 2007 for attempting to observe labor unrest.\r\n\r\n\r\nWhile it is debatable whether the United States should intervene in criminal cases in China, such as that of the\u00a0recently executed street vendor Xia Junfeng, it is unacceptable for Washington to ignore China\u2019s human rights record when it can raise the issue without being accused of \u201cinterfering in internal affairs.\u201d Washington will have such an opportunity when the U.N. General Assembly chooses new members of its Human Rights Council this month.\r\n\r\n\r\nChina, after a year of leave, is seeking a three-year term on the council. It is critical for the United States to show Beijing\u2019s new leaders that their horrific treatment of citizens matters. U.S. government agencies, Congress, U.N. human rights monitors and\u00a0human rights organizations\u00a0show the atrocious extent of Chinese repression. Putting China on the U.N. Human Rights Council would be like picking the fox to guard the henhouse \u2014 while it was still wiping feathers off its mouth. Yet the Obama administration appears to approve of doing so.\r\nFor many reasons, China is unfit to sit on a council charged with protecting human rights: As the Congressional-Executive Commission noted in its\u00a02012 annual report, forced abortions and sterilizations are still common in China. The\u00a0State Department\u2019s 2012 report on human rights\u00a0said that the denial of\u00a0religious freedom in China remains pervasive\u00a0and was particularly severe against Tibetan Buddhists, Muslim Uighurs, Falun Gong practitioners and members of house churches.\r\nChina tortures its citizens. This is a violation of the\u00a0Convention Against Torture, to which\u00a0Beijing is a party. Beijing also\u00a0returns refugees to North Korea, where they will be imprisoned and tortured. This is a violation of the\u00a0Convention on the Status of Refugees, which\u00a0China has signed.\r\n\r\nDungeons across China hold tens of thousands of\u00a0Tibetans,\u00a0Uighurs,\u00a0Mongols,\u00a0Christians,\u00a0Muslims,\u00a0Falun Gong\u00a0and\u00a0Han Chinese\u00a0who bravely seek to defend the human rights of those persecuted for their faith or ethnicity or for seeking the rule of law. China is the only country in the world that\u00a0detains a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.\u00a0Tibetans are driven to self-immolation\u00a0by their continued oppression. The\u00a0Congressional-Executive Commission on China\u00a0annually details gross violations of human rights.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s brutal actions belie its claim that economic modernization would lead to\u00a0decreased human rights abuses. Such notions are disproved by headlines about the latest outrages, such as when\u00a0human rights lawyers were beaten\u00a0earlier this year while seeking to visit unlawfully jailed political prisoners. China\u2019s \u201creforms\u201d involve change in economic and governmental institutions or minor procedural improvements. They do not extend to meaningful human rights reform.\r\n\r\nPresident Xi Jinping\u2019s \u201ccommitment\u201d to the rule of law was exposed as a lie when one of China\u2019s most prominent human rights advocates,\u00a0Xu Zhiyong, was detained in July.\u00a0The Post editorialized: \u201cThe detention of Mr. Xu suggests that the powerful machinery of the Chinese state security remains on the prowl against those who challenge the [Communist] party\u2019s monopoly on power\u00a0.\u2009.\u2009.\u00a0a system in which the party-state stands above human rights, freedom and rule of law.\u201d\r\nSome believe that the United States cannot press China on human rights because it seeks Chinese cooperation on economic and national security issues. But Washington has\u00a0negotiated arms-control\u00a0and\u00a0trade agreements\u00a0with other countries, including the Soviet Union, while\u00a0pressing for human rights reform.\r\nOther nations have risked economic ties to\u00a0criticize Beijing, including\u00a0Norway, which awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo over\u00a0China\u2019s strong objection; Canada, which has\u00a0sharply criticized Chinese treatment of Tibetans; and the\u00a0European Union, which has condemned China\u2019s\u00a0human rights abuses.\r\nTo be elected to the council, candidates must get 97 votes from General Assembly members. If each U.N. democracy votes no, China will not succeed. U.S. resolve would help other democracies summon the courage to confront China. The United States has\u00a0opposed other candidates\u00a0for the council that have terrible human rights records, including Syria and Iran. Beijing\u2019s record of rights abuses is even worse.\r\nHow could U.S. representatives at the United Nations vote to place the torture capital of the world on the international body charged with protecting human rights? The United States may not have been able to intervene in the case of\u00a0Xia Junfeng. But opposing China\u2019s candidacy for the U.N. Human Rights Council is the least Washington can do.