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US report calling China 'force of instability' backfires

By Chen Weihua | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-04-23 04:34

Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan speaks about the release of the 2017 country reports on human rights practices during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Friday, April 20, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

The Trump administration may have had not expected that its human rights report about the rest of the world would backfire so badly after it was released last Friday.

That was especially true when US Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan called the governments of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea a "forces of instability" as a result of their human rights issues.

Pointing out China's problems in human rights is one thing and should be welcomed. China, as a developing nation, has much to improve in that regard. But calling China a force of instability is just blown out of proportion and does not at all fit the reality.

During the 2018 IMF/World Bank annual spring meeting that ended Sunday, the message is that China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in past decades and has contributed to a third of global economic growth in the past decade, more than any other country.

That is some of the powerful evidence that China is a source of not only stability, but prosperity for its own nation, the region and the world, not to mention China's greater role in United Nations peacekeeping missions and global governance, including playing a leading role in reaching the Paris climate accord. The list is long.

Sullivan should read readers' response when Agence France Presse tweeted last Friday that "US brands China and Russia 'forces of instability.'"

"I keep forgetting; was it China, Russia, Iran or NK who invaded Iraq in 2003, bombed Libya in 2011, and have been arming jihadists in Syria since 2012?" replied Mario Santana.

"Really? Name a country invaded by these forces," wrote Cuanticorojo.

"US caused more war, terror and instability on foreign land than anyone else. Don't kid yourself. And funny how it ignores Israel and Saudi," said Coitnana, clearly referring to the US double standards.

"Not looking in the mirror, hey America," wrote cappygolucky.

"Definitely add Trump's mental state to that list," added Mr. Mason.
The US human rights reports on nearly 200 countries and territories have long been regarded as biased because they never include human rights violations in the US.

Compared to China, the US is more deserving of the title "force of instability".

From the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, regime change in Libya, rampant drone strikes in a number of countries that have caused many civilian deaths, covert special forces, spy operations and secret prisons abroad to the withdrawal from the Paris climate deal and cutting funding to the UN, the list could go on and on.

A lawyer by training, Sullivan clearly was deliberately ignoring the human rights violations in the US.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch, in its recent World Report 2018, said the US moved backward on human rights at home and abroad across a range of issues in 2017, the first year of the Trump administration.

The report critized Trump's actions on refugees and immigrants by calling them criminals and security threats; equivocated on white nationalism and consistently championed anti-Muslim ideas and policies.

According to the report, the Trump administration has embraced policies that will roll back access to reproductive health care for women and undermined police accountability for abuse.

"Many vulnerable groups endured renewed attacks on their rights during the year. Other longstanding US laws and practices — particularly related to criminal and juvenile justice, immigration, and national security — continued to violate internationally recognized human rights," the report said.

It's not the first time for Human Rights Watch to note the 2.3 million people in US state and federal prisons and jails on any given day, the world's largest reported incarcerated population.

As people just marked the 50th anniversary of the passing of Martin Luther King Jr, on April 4, the report sadly noted that black men are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of white men, and an unarmed black person is five times as likely to be killed by police as an unarmed white person.

At the Guantanamo detention center, the US continues to hold 31 men there indefinitely without charge. And throughout 2017, the US continued to carry out large-scale warrantless intelligence surveillance programs without transparency or oversight, according to the report.

Sullivan should definitely read this report, especially the 18 pages on the US, because that is why people disagreed so strongly with his indentifying of "force of instability".

Contact the writer at chenweihua@chinadailyusa.com

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