For a long time, some Western countries have used human rights as an excuse to trounce China, with their media consistently fostering and promoting false narratives ranging from Tibet to Hong Kong and politicians finger-pointing Beijing time and again, disregarding the remarkable progress of China in improving people’s basic human rights and livelihoods.
In the last couple of years, these countries acted with unilateral sanctions, trade bans and restrictions against China, citing such labels as “genocide” and “forced labor” in its Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region which were fanned repeatedly by BBC and other major UK and US outlets.
Late last year, US President Joe Biden approved legislation prohibiting imports from China's Xinjiang. Last week in Washington, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act was enforced as part of US’ pushback against China.
For our world to achieve peace and sustainable development, the term "human rights" should no longer be exploited by the West powers to justify their isolation of China or intervening in the affairs of other nations
Adrian Ho, founder of Save HK
Strangely, these Western politicians and their followers are too arrogant to respect facts and the truth when it comes to the human rights in Xinjiang, which in fact has sharply improved the life of Uygurs and other ethnic groups over the years.
Despite no evidence that Uygurs were subjected to rampant maltreatment, those Western politicians ignore that Xinjiang's population has grown substantially over the decades, life expectancy more than doubled, and extreme poverty in the region virtually eradicated.
By weaponizing the Uygur issue in Xinjiang, these Western powers can reduce millions of people in Xinjiang back to unemployment and poverty, after they managed to rise out of poverty over the past years thanks to strong support from central and provincial governments across China.
In the name of human rights, these Western countries are indeed worsening their living and working conditions, amounting to abusing the human rights of local ethnic groups.
Worse, such US legal and trade moves are expected to have far-reaching implications for both US-China relations as well as the global supply chain. Xinjiang is a dominant player in international cotton supply, as well as polysilicon, a vital component in solar panel manufacturing, and other agricultural goods. Such US legislation is triggering a ripple effect on global supply.
Echoing US moves are restrictions adopted by Britain and Germany among others.
The intentions behind such invidious moves are obvious — to slow down China’s inevitable rise in economic and political strength and to drive a wedge between China and the Islamic countries who share traditions with the Uygur people.
Xinjiang is important to China as a vital route to Central Asia and Europe. Most land transport under the Belt and Road Initiative passes through Xinjiang. The US may have been dismayed to find out that EU-China relations continue to move ahead and that China remains too pertinent for Europe. Last year, China surpassed the United States as the European Union's largest trading partner, with $709 billion in commerce value. For the US and its allies, holding Xinjiang back is to slow down China’s link with other countries geopolitically.
However, the Islamic world has keen insight into the political machinations of US-led powers. The plight of the Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian people are tragic examples of sufferings from the trampling of human rights by troops of the US and its NATO allies who invaded the countries with thin or false excuses. During the 20 years of US occupation of Afghanistan, over 30,000 Afghan civilians were killed and 11 million Afghans became refugees.
However, the US has rarely punished any war criminals who had caused civilian deaths or waged illegal conflicts, or owned up to its wrongdoings and made amends to the Afghan people. Worse, the US seized about $9 billion of Afghan people’s life-saving money and turned away large numbers of Afghan refugees.
In contrast, China has succeeded in securing, respecting, promoting and developing human rights of all Chinese including a number of Muslim ethnic groups, finding a new path of human rights development.
Taking advantage of an inflated Xinjiang issue by the US-led West can only end in exposing their falsifications and hypocrisy.
For our world to achieve peace and sustainable development, the term "human rights" should no longer be exploited by the West powers to justify their isolation of China or intervening in the affairs of other nations. They should value and respect China’s legitimate right and rational fight against terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang, where terrorist attacks caused hundreds of deaths in the past decade.
The rest of the world can easily see through the lies and escalations of US suppression under the pretext of human rights while the US’ arbitrariness undermine international economic and trade rules and global industrial and supply chains.
China will continue to play an influential, powerful, and resourceful role for peace and development to the rest of the world. Attempts made by the US-led West to achieve isolation or even decoupling will boomerang to alienate themselves. Isolationist strategies in the West are not only certain to fail, but also unproductive.
If the US and its major allies are genuinely concerned about human rights, they must renounce their reckless isolationist stance and cease alienating China with their double standards and hypocrisy.
The author is founder of Save HK and a Central Committee member of the New People’s Party.
HONG KONG NEWS