Wang Dan, a former leader of the 1989 student-led pro-democracy movement on Tiananmen Square, is also in Geneva this week. "To tell you the truth, my feelings during my two days here are that China has huge influence at the U.N.," Wang told RFA.
"For example, at one side-event, it wasn't just the Chinese delegation who spoke against [criticisms of Beijing's rights record], but other countries came to speak in support of China’s position," he said.
Wang said tight controls over public speech also make it less likely that the ruling Chinese Communist Party will have to face criticism of human rights violations coming from within its own borders.
Rights activists say China is actively working to undermine the council's ability to do its job.