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Human rights a tool for US to maintain its hegemony

By Chang Jian | China Daily | Updated: 2020-10-14 07:27

The United States had alleged, without any evidence though, that China has been violating human rights in the Xinjiang Uygur and Tibet autonomous regions, by running "forced labor camps", carrying out "forced sterilization", causing "environmental destruction" and suppressing "religious freedom".

But does the US administration really care about human rights and is it really interested in protecting human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet?

To begin with, the US' accusations are simply lies. For example, it accuses China of implementing a "forced sterilization" program for ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, but the truth is that the Uygur population in the region has increased from 5.55 million to more than 12 million in the past 40 years. Also, from 2010 to 2018, the population of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang grew more than 22 percent, far higher than the average increase of 13.99 percent for the region's entire population.

As for the US' accusation that China is suppressing religious freedom, in Xinjiang, there is one mosque for every 530 Muslims, more than ten times that in the US and also more than in many Muslim countries.

Washington also accuses Beijing of running "forced labor camps" for ethnic minorities, but the rights and interests of ethnic minority workers in Xinjiang are equally protected by law and labor contracts.

And the US claim of environmental problems in Xinjiang and Tibet falls flat, because Xinjiang has implemented a three-year action plan to win the battle for blue sky and made remarkable progress in addressing environmental problems including air pollution.

The US administration has conveniently forgotten to talk about the violence unleashed by terrorists, separatists and religious extremists, which threatened the lives and properties of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, and prompted the central government to implement the strict anti-terrorism policies to protect people's human rights and safeguard national security.

By providing education and vocational skill training for people in Xinjiang, the central and regional governments have ensured the success of the counter-terrorism and de-radicalization campaign. In fact, Xinjiang has not seen any terrorist attack in the past four years. And protecting people's lives and properties is the best form of human rights.

In order to promote all ethnic groups' right to development in Xinjiang, the central government has adopted various policies and measures to increase people's incomes. From 2014 to 2019, the average annual salary of those working for non-private enterprises in cities and towns increased from 53,500 yuan ($7,932) to 79,400 yuan, and of those working for private companies from 36,200 yuan to 45,900 yuan. Also while promoting employment, the government fully respects the workers' choice for employment, and protects their rights and interests.

Not surprisingly, the US administration has turned a blind eye to serious human rights abuses in the US. Thanks to the administration's poor response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the US leads the world in terms of COVID-19 infections (more than 7.63 million) and deaths (over 212,000).

And the recent months have seen frequent violence by law enforcement officers against ethnic minorities, especially black people, in the US, triggering massive and widespread protests. The US administration ignores threats to Americans' right to life and health, but constantly lashes out at other countries for their alleged poor human rights record.

The fundamental reason why the US keeps fabricating lies and resorting to double standard on human rights is that it has mastered the art of using the rights issue as a means to maintain its global hegemony.

Protecting human rights is at the core of the Chinese government's administrative philosophy. No wonder China has written "the State respects and safeguards human rights" into the Constitution and implemented a series of laws and regulations to protect human rights.

The Chinese government has also formulated a three-stage human rights action plan and a poverty alleviation program to eradicate absolute poverty in the country by the end of this year, as well as adopted a series of measures to promote the economic and social development of ethnic minority regions, including Xinjiang and Tibet, in order to better protect human rights.

So the US, instead of using human rights as a tool to browbeat other countries into submission, should address its human rights problems at home, because by poking its dirty nose in other countries' affairs it has been seriously violating the human rights cause.

The author is director of the Research Center on Human Rights, Nankai University, Tianjin.

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