During a routine press conference on 23rd of March, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying lashed out at the Western countries for imposing sanctions using the excuse of-called “human rights” in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. She termed the allegations as ‘unreasonable’ and based on ‘lies.
The announcement of sanctions by EU, the UK, Canada and the US on individuals and entities related to Xinjiang using the excuse of so-called human rights has evoked a strong reaction from China. Foreign ministers of the UK, Canada and the US also issued a joint statement in a bid to pressurize the country to stop the human right violations in Xinjiang.
China, however, has strongly condemned the sanctions and has also summoned the EU and the UK ambassadors to the country, along with lodging solemn representations to the US and Canada.
Uygur population has increased from 5.5 million to 12.8 million, while life expectancy has increased from 30 to 72 over the past four decades, said Hua. Xinjiang residents of all ethnic groups enjoy stability, security, development, which was a human rights success, she noted.
Hua said that the western countries make it a point to ignore this evidence and choose to believe fabricated stories that are based on fake “internal documents”, unknown “sources” and distortion of official data.
She claimed that that these countries are not concerned about human rights, instead they are only working together to contain China as they cannot see it prospering.
Hua pointed out that the countries who consider themselves the preachers on human rights have a terrible record on the issue. They cannot blame China for their own vicious deeds, she emphasized.
Human right violations by Western Powers
The spokesperson also declared that China is about to issue a report on US human rights violations as Washington’s failed anti-epidemic efforts in the past year exacerbated social division, aggravated political chaos and racial discrimination.
10 million people died en route from Africa to America during the the African slave trade. Even today, in the US and the UK, African people are facing systematic discrimination in health, employment, education and justice, said Hua.
Native Namibians were slaughtered under Germany’s colonial rule in the early 20th century and 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, she continued.
The US, UK and their allies committed serious war crimes in Afghanistan and killed civilians, blatantly violating the Geneva Convention.
Around 5.5 million people were killed by the French during their colonization of Algeria.
Assimilation of indigenous Americans was a part of Canada’s official agenda in the 1870s and it carried out a genocide of its culture.
More than 150,000 indigenous children were forcibly sent away to be assimilated at schools and more than 50,000 were tortured to death.
Responding to a question concerning a “report” claiming forced separation of Uygur children from their parents, Hua said that these accusations are better suited to US than China. It was the US that imposed its assimilation policy on native Americans since the early 1800, sending them to boarding schools, getting rid of their native names and giving them European names and banning native languages, she said.
For Xinjiang, the boarding schools are government projects aimed at saving children from having to go a long way to and from school every day and they are allowed to contact their parents and go home during the holidays.
She recalled how US and the UK, using “detergent” and staged videos as evidence, launched wars against Iraq and Syria and caused numerous deaths of civilians and broken families. Around 350,000 died in the war in Syria alone, don’t they deserve sanctions, Hua questioned.
She pointed out that despite France, the UK and EU launching the Libya war, which is the reason for the refugee crisis and unrest in the region, they were not held accountable.
During the pandemic, the developed countries are letting thousands of their citizens die, are hoarding vaccines and restricting supply to the developing world. Without life, where are the human rights, she asked.
“We want to ask the West which claims to protect human rights: What are they protecting? Shouldn’t they feel ashamed?” Hua noted.
Hua said that these countries are not qualified preachers on human rights”, and China is not Libya, Syria or the China of 120 years ago. She urged related countries to not underestimate the Chinese people’s determination to safeguard their national interests and dignity.
US and China lock horns
On 19th of March, The United States and China publicly clashed during their first face-to-face high-level talks held in Anchorage Alaska since Joe Biden took office, with one senior Chinese official accusing his American counterparts of “condescension” and asking them to address their ‘deep seated’ issues such as racism.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States “knew going in that there are a number of areas where we are fundamentally at odds, including China’s actions in Xinjiang, with regard to Hong Kong, Tibet, increasingly Taiwan, as well as actions that it’s taking in cyberspace.”
“And it’s no surprise that when we raise those issues clearly and directly, we got a defensive response,” he added.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, on the other hand, said that “China has no room for compromise on issues concerning its sovereignty, security and core interests. Our determination and will to safeguard our own core interests are unswerving,”.
Two days after the top US and Chinese diplomats wrapped up the contentious talks in Alaska, they again locked horns at the UN meeting on racism.
The clash came at the UN General Assembly’s commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and was sparked by one line in the speech by US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who talked about being a descendent of slaves, growing up in the segregated South, and surviving racism including being called an N-word.
Thomas-Greenfield said slavery has existed in every corner of the globe, and sadly still exists today, and so does racism, which continues to be a daily challenge wherever we are.
She also mentioned that the Chinese government has committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.
China’s deputy UN ambassador, Dai Bing, who was not on the original speakers’ list, took the floor near the end of the commemoration to reject what he called the politically motivated US allegation, terming it an act of rumour-mongering through and through, and a bare-faced lie.
He accused the US of interfering in China’s internal affairs and said that lies are just lies and truth shall prevail eventually.
The US and China share one of the most complex bilateral relationships and these recent developments suggest that the rivalry is not just here to stay but it may further deteriorate in the years to come.