US Selective and Politicized Human Rights Practices Are Against the Will of People
Lin Songtian, Ambassador of China to South Africa
Recently, some politicians, represented by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in disregard of the facts, smeared China by saying that “China was in a ‘league of its own’ as a human-rights violator and China is one of the worst human rights countries that we have seen since the 1930s”, and leveled groundless accusations and attacks against China’s religious and Xinjiang policies. This is nothing but lying through his teeth and politicizing human rights issue.
China believes that safeguarding people’s rights to subsistence and development，particularly the five basic rights, namely the right to work, the right to eat, the right to live, the right to hospital and the right to school, are the most important human rights that every government must take the responsibility to ensure.
Whoever without political prejudice knows that in the past 40 years, China has created a miracle of human development, lifting nearly 800 million people out of poverty, creating an over 400 million middle-income population, and contributing 30% of world economic growth annually, more than the US, Europe and other developed countries combined.
China has set up a new model for the world’s human rights cause. Now there is no fear of war, displacement or hunger in China. We are proud to say that China, a country with 1.4 billion people, will be free of absolute poverty by the end of 2020。This is a great feat that the US will never achieve!
Apparently, the US has a hidden political agenda by accusing the Chinese government of setting up the so-called “re-education camps” and engaging in “religious persecution” in Xinjiang. The vocational training schools established by the Chinese government in Xinjiang provide free training for local young people, so as to enable them to hunt jobs or start business. This is a major innovative measure taken by the Chinese government for deradicalization and eradication of the breeding ground for terrorism.
Over the past two years, there have been no violent and terrorist cases happened in Xinjiang, the number of criminal and public security cases dropping significantly. As a result, Xinjiang’s GDP has grown by more than 7 percent and over 100 million domestic and overseas tourists visit Xinjiang every year. The facts have proved that China has protected the basic human rights of the overwhelming majority of the people by taking a new path of combating terrorism featuring putting prevention first and addressing both the symptoms and root causes, instead of repeating the old path followed by the Western countries to fight violence with violence.
There are 24,400 mosques in Xinjiang, more than twice of the United States (about 2000 mosques), Britain (1750 mosques), France (2500 mosques) and Germany (3000 mosques) combined. Facts speak louder than words. The Muslims in China are fully entitled to freedom of religious belief. According to surveys by Gallup and the Pew Center, 75 percent of the Muslims believe that there is serious discrimination against them in the United States.
Today, there are hundreds of millions of followers of Buddhism, Islamism, Christianity and other major religions in China. The theists and atheists live in harmony in China and work together for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Achieving common prosperity and ensuring the freedom and security of all people is the common aspiration of the Chinese government and people. It is an essential feature of socialism and the ultimate pursuit of China’s human rights cause. This is another goal that the US will never achieve!
The US Secretary of State vilifies China by claiming that there are no human rights and freedom of religious belief in China. This is apparently inconsistent with the facts and fully exposes his ignorance and political bias towards China. In this era of information, as the most senior diplomat, it is better for the US Secretary of State to verify the facts before opening his mouth to criticize other countries for the sake of his credibility.
The so-called human rights issues in China that the United States is concerned about are only the human rights of a small handful of criminals or suspected criminals who violate the law, disrupt public order and endanger the security of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, instead of the human rights of all or the vast majority of the Chinese people.
As long as the Americans put down their flashlights and look at themselves in the mirror, they will be ashamed of talking about human rights. The Americans deliberately forget about their own human-rights records, and forget about their military intervention and arbitrary trampling on human rights in such countries as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria under the pretext of the so-called “weapons of mass destruction” and “humanitarian crisis”, causing massive casualties and human rights disaster among innocent people, especially women and children. They forget that the US has withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council for no reason and become the laughingstock of the international community on human rights. The United States is in no position to lecture other countries on human rights.
According to the US census, the United States has 42 million poor people in 2017and is the most polarized countries in terms of social wealth in the West. It is reported that over the past three decades, the proportion of the middle-class population in the United States has declined from 51 percent to less than 49 percent of its total population, with no significant increase in blue-collar incomes. The wealth of African-American families is one-tenth of that of the White. The unemployment rate among African-Americans is twice of the White, and the poverty rate is 2.5 times of the White.
The United States uses UN human rights rules when they serve its interests and abandons them when they don’t, which is nothing but selective human rights practice. The United States has blatantly withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council and has so far refused to ratify such UN human rights conventions as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The US is only paying lip services to show its concern about the so-called human rights in Africa without any concrete actions. Shouting human rights slogans alone cannot meet the basic needs of the African people. Development is the fundamental way to improve the human rights in Africa. Since 2014, the United States, the only superpower in today’s world, has significantly reduced its investment, trade and aid to Africa. The new US strategy towards Africa is targeted at the growing influence of China and Russia in Africa, instead of Africa’s poverty and development.
According to statistics, now one quarter of Africa’s infrastructure projects are financed by China, while the United States only accounts for 1.7 percent. China has invested more than 110 billion US dollars in Africa, and provided investment and financial support for Africa to build more than 10,000 kilometers of roads, 6,000 kilometers of railways, over 80 power plants and more than 200 schools, which has greatly promoted Africa’s industrialization and urbanization, and helped Africa achieve self-sustainable development.
A major power should behave like a major power. The zero-sum Cold War mentality and the so-called “American superiority” theory are outdated. Interfering in other countries’ internal affairs under the cloak of human rights, politicizing human rights, and applying hypocritical double standards and selective human rights are acts of hegemonism in the field of human rights, which is apparently against the will of people and will be resolutely opposed by all countries and peoples for justice.
No country has a perfect record in human rights and there is always room for improvement. China is willing to uphold the common values of fairness, justice, democracy, freedom and the rule of law, strengthen dialogue and exchanges and learn from each other with all other countries on the basis of mutual respect and equality, so as to promote the common development and the all-round development of people, and build a fairer, more reasonable and inclusive global governance system of human rights and a community with a shared future for mankind.