US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi attend a news conference after their meeting in Beijing June 29, 2008. During their one-hour talk, the two sides agreed to resume dialogue on human rights based on equality and mutual respect. Photo: Xinhua
The US State Department issued its annual human rights report on other countries on Thursday that labeled China an "authoritarian country" and said the human rights situation in China has "deteriorated." China's State Council responded by issuing its 2011 human rights record report on the US the following day. It's a tit-for-tat quarrel once again.
The issue of human rights is a conventional weapon the US uses to pressure other countries, among which China is a major target. Now that the Chinese public has freer access to information, it's easier for the US to use human rights diplomacy, which has proved more effective.
The US should be clear that China has been making rapid progress in securing human rights of the general public. It not only comments on human rights of China, but also wishes to tarnish China's image in the world.
The US's method is to focus on individual cases while ignoring the general situation. This is why it always highlights a couple of dissidents and labels them "representatives" of China's human rights. The struggle of these people against China's system is packaged to more effectively resonate with those in the West.
The US has been skillful in packaging dissidents including Liu Xiaobo, Ai Weiwei and Chen Guangcheng. In fact, the experiences of these people represent rare cases in China, and their stories have mysterious connections with the West. The Chinese are puzzled whether these people are miserable "dissidents" or a lucky draw for US politicians.
The issue of human rights has become a bargaining chip for the US in dealing with China.
Improving human rights in China brings no benefits to the US. On the contrary, discrediting China by finding fault with its record on human rights is important to the US. Washington now has no ace in the hole other than playing the "human rights" card in an age when it is losing its economic advantage and its military might cannot be used at will.
It's enviable that the West enjoys stronger wealth, but debatable how feasible it is to apply its model to China.
It is difficult to make Chinese people all understand the necessity of adopting a new way to protect human rights. Ordinary people need some time to realize the struggle for human rights is in fact not about human rights.
China seems to be at a disadvantage in the struggle, but Washington's human rights offensive is not invincible. China should adhere to the principle of seeking truth from facts when solving domestic problems, and thus will resist strategic pressure from the US.
The Chinese public are not fools, and will eventually differentiate real human rights from the "human rights" that the US demands.
Global Times Report
China lambasts US human rights record
The US's human rights record is "notorious" and Washington has no legitimacy to play the role of the "world's judge for human rights," China said in a report issued Friday in Beijing.