US human rights attack has ulterior motives

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-12 0:33:01

The US and 11 other countries issued a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, criticizing China for allegedly cracking down on dissidents and lawyers.

It is a rare offensive launched by Western countries. In the 1990s, Western countries led by the US tried 11 times to pass a resolution against China's human rights record at the then UN Commission on Human Rights, but all failed. If the US wanted to raise a new resolution against China today, it will be more difficult. Many developing countries will not follow.

The West's efforts in human rights issue make positive sense. But the way they push the issue is often rude and is based on their own national interests. The public interest of human rights has become their geopolitical tools.

When talking about China's human rights situation, the West always focuses on a few dissidents who confront China's Constitution, but ignores the other basic human rights issues that concern most Chinese people. China's efforts in alleviating poverty and reducing inequality in education and healthcare rarely attract the West's attention. The efforts in strengthening rule of law and solving the problems of the petitioners are also sidelined by the West.

The West's definition of human rights focuses on the freedom of confronting the political system. In some Western people's eyes, as long as there is one case in which an anti-system lawyer is held by the law, all efforts in improving Chinese people's human rights are meaningless.

Such prejudices may have two causes. First, protests against the authorities are more tolerated in Western countries, so they can easily target China. Second, the anti-government issue is destructive, and can be used to attack China.

The US has long been stumbling on its own human rights record, sometimes even falling backward. The Guantanamo prison and gun violence draw consistent criticism. However, as the US controls the power of discourse, it often points the global spotlight toward other regions.

The joint statement by the group of 12 countries appears to be one of the largest collective offensives against China. But it only reveals the minor role of Western countries in dealing with human rights issues. Their biggest mistake lies in the attempt to measure the situations in different countries with the same rules.

Human rights are precious. Chinese people certainly treasure their own rights more than outsiders do.

More and more Chinese people are irritated when foreign countries lecture about our human rights, because we know what the West means is not really human rights, but assigning those people who may mess up the country privileges, and making them untouchable.

Posted in: Editorial

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