China's govt agencies condemn US over Xinjiang bill

By Xie Wenting and Fan Lingzhi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/4 11:54:50 Last Updated: 2019/12/4 11:55:54

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Chinese government institutions have voiced strong opposition on Wednesday against the US move of pushing forward the "Uyghur human rights policy act," condemning the US of interfering in China's domestic issues.

The Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the US Uyghur human rights act that smears China's counter-terrorism and anti-secession work in Xinjiang. "China will respond according to the situation," said Hua Chunying, spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry.

China's National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference strongly opposed the act, and called on the US to stop damaging bilateral cooperation and mutual trust.

"We urge the US to stop interfering in China's domestic affairs or it will reap the bitter fruits that it sowed itself," said Chinese National Ethnic Affairs Commission. Some US politicians turn blind eye to the three forces' violent activities in Xinjiang and don't care at all about the safety of Xinjiang residents. The act reveals their menacing intention to contain and split China, the commission said.

China's top counterterrorism official Liu Yuejin, the counter-terrorism commissioner of the Ministry of Public Security, also slammed the act as distorting the truth and using double standards and "human rights" excuses to grossly interfere in China's internal affairs.

China's Xinjiang regional government, regional People's Congress, regional committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference announced on Wednesday that they firmly oppose the US House move of passing the Uyghur bill, calling it an interference in China's domestic affairs and severe infringement of international laws.
Xinjiang is in the best situation in history where people of all ethnic groups stick together closely like pomegranate seeds. Xinjiang people have the final say on affairs concerning Xinjiang, they noted.

China will take strong countermeasures against the US, including releasing an "unreliable entity list" that includes relevant US entities, and imposing sanctions on relevant US officials, experts said, after the US House passed an act filled with groundless accusations against China's Xinjiang Tuesday night, local time.

The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 smeared China's counter-terrorism efforts in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and used fabricated information to slander the vocational education and training centers and religious freedom in the region, analysts said. 

A look at the act shows it sticks to the old US rhetoric that uses double standards to distort China's policies on Xinjiang, and it never mentioned the impressive social and economic development that Xinjiang has achieved. 

Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times that this act doesn't have any review process. The sources of the act are loose and unreliable. 

Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times that in addition to conveying the truth to the international community, China can adopt the unreliable entity list to list "those companies that dance to the act." 

"China will hit back with stronger countermeasures," Wei Jianguo, a former Chinese vice minister of commerce and executive deputy director of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told the Global Times. He hinted that the countermeasures could be even stronger than what China had taken after the US passed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. 

Wei said China can sanction certain US entities and personnel in the unreliable entity list and restrict their entry to and activities in China. "Chinese people are never afraid of a threat or the US. We will fight back with tough measures," he said.

Erkin Oncan, a Turkish journalist who has followed Xinjiang issues for many years, slammed the act for its sinister intentions. "What China is trying to achieve, the US is trying hard to destroy," Oncan said. 

Origins of the act

The act was initially submitted to the US Senate by notorious anti-China Senator Marco Rubio on January 17. Ironically, the act, which tarnished the counter-terrorism efforts in Xinjiang, was passed at the Senate on September 11, the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

According to the document that Global Times reporters saw on the US House website, the act is divided into nine chapters, and its core parts include findings, sense of congress and chapters requiring sanctions targeting China. It claimed the act aims to "direct United States resources to address human rights violations and abuses, including gross violations of human rights, by the People's Republic of China's mass surveillance and internment of over 1,000,000 Uighurs and other predominantly Turkic Muslim ethnic minorities in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region."

Compared with the previous version that got passed in the Senate, this amended act took out the "specific cases" and added an updated statement of US policy toward China. The act states that US policy toward China should be explicitly linked with the situation in Xinjiang. It also proposes sanctions on certain senior Chinese officials and restrictions on exports. 

Before the act was discussed in Congress, the US government had already issued a series of administrative orders against China on Xinjiang-related issues. On October 7, the US Department of Commerce announced that it would include 20 Chinese government agencies and eight companies in the list of entities which they claimed are related to the suppression of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The Chinese government agencies in the list of entities include the Public Security Department of Xinjiang and the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. On October 8, the US State Department announced that it would impose visa restrictions on Chinese government officials.

Addressing the differences between the administrative order and act, Yuan Zheng, senior fellow of the Institute of American Studies at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the administrative order issued by the government can be cancelled anytime based on the real situation. But for the act, it's extremely difficult to abolish it once it is signed by the president and becomes law. It needs adequate reasons and a whole process to abolish it, which is even harder than legislating. 

Once the act is passed, it means a new phase for the US in interfering in Xinjiang affairs begins, Yuan said. He pointed out that this interference will become "law-based" for the administrative departments and Congress. And it will also tarnish China's international image, giving the US enormous influence.

Diao told the Global Times the US hastily pushed the act shortly after Trump singed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act because congressmen believe it would be easier to get the new act passed. 

Generally speaking, the US House was quite busy in the first half of the year. If they don't push it now, they may need to wait until April 2020. "So they want to fight a quick battle. Some congressmen also think the act is easy to get passed under the current situation of pressuring China," Diao said.

"The act shows how US government grossly interfered into China's internal affairs. It's a serious violation of international law and fundamental principles of international relations. It is also a provocation against the Chinese people," Wei said. He added that China is no longer the lamb to be slaughtered and won't tolerate finger pointing by the US at its internal affairs. 

Fabrication and double standards

The amended act deleted specific cases in the findings. The Global Times checked these specific cases in the previous version with relevant agencies and found that they were fabricated. Some of them have been clarified in China's white paper, titled The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang.

Diao noted that American politicians are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attacks against China. 

"The cases they listed in the previous version were not credible and could spark criticism regarding its authenticity. Therefore, they didn't bother to include these unreliable "cases" that could be attacked," Diao said.

"Pressuring China has become a bipartisan consensus. They don't need many excuses to pass the act," he said.  

The act criticized medical facilities at the vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang. Global Times reporters who have visited the centers many times since 2018 saw that they are equipped with complete medical devices, with doctors who can provide free medical services to the trainees around the clock. Seriously ill trainees can be transferred to the local hospital. 

It's noticeable that many of the "facts" listed in the act do not have an exact time, location or sources.

"This is self-circulation. I believe that the anti-China lawmakers did not spend any time to study what happened in Xinjiang. They made the so-called investigative findings based on some of the media's unreliable reports and the so-called 'testimonies' of the hearings. The legislators referred to Free Asia Radio and Voice of America to make some unwarranted reports. Then they used these media outlets again to say 'further confirmation' [with their reports]. This is a game that the United States has played for many years," Lü said.

Lü said that the US Congress does not care if the cases are true or not. "They are prejudiced. As long as this mistake does not affect the perception of Xinjiang in the West led by the United States, they won't care," he said. 

Aside from factual errors, the act is also full of double standards. It accused China of using advanced technology for surveillance across the region. But the adoption of modern technology and big data to improve social governance is common in the international community. 

"I think the US is the last country that has the right to criticize China in tech security. US itself uses high technology to monitor people, and the US commits very serious crimes by doing it illegally," Oncan told the Global Times. 

"China's surveillance system is based on security, but the US version is based on the citizens' privacy. They [the US] watch secretly, categorize them and even sell them to companies which are working on matters like the elections."

He noted that it's absurd for the US to criticize China because China uses its surveillance system to prevent crime and make life easier. 

"China is not doing it secretly, unlike the US. The US uses the biggest data collection app in the world: Facebook!" he said.  

Another example of the double standards is that the US totally ignores the achievements Xinjiang has made. 

Oncan said as a country with a base in Guantanamo Bay, the US represents doubles standards. "The US repeatedly uses the same arguments, which have already been explained by the Chinese government. And they purposely use a 'human rights' discourse which has the wrong context. China secures the beliefs, language and culture by blocking radical Islam and terrorism." 

According to public data, from 2014 to 2018, Xinjiang lifted over 2.31 million people out of poverty and the incidence of rural poverty fell to 6.1 percent. More than 70 percent of the general public budget expenditures in the region are used to improve people's livelihood, ensuring that all ethnic groups share the development achievements. 

"The accusations against China reflect a 'political tradition' of the US," Lü said. According to him, the US has never stopped such practices ever since the normalization of ties between China and the US. Almost every 10 years, the US comes up with a new issue against China.

"The Xinjiang issue is not new. It was brought up 10 years ago. But at that time, because the terrorist activities were so intense, they could not support it directly. But now when China has made great achievements in Xinjiang and no terrorist activities have happened in nearly three years, they bring up Xinjiang again," Lü said.


While the act threatens to sanction certain Chinese senior officials and restrict exports of certain items, Diao told the Global Times that they cannot be realistically implemented, and any rational government will not implement it.

"But the act will be like a sword hanging over China's head. In the future, any US president can use it. In this sense, the act will have a very negative influence," Diao said. 

Diao suggested China should also impose sanctions on US politicians who pushed the act, and the NGOs behind it. "The US tactic is to place national law above international law. We should also think about coming up with our own agenda," he said. 

Yuan said China should give a timely response. He suggests a "precise strike" and that the strike should hit where it hurts the other side most without hurting ourselves. 

Lü suggested that if the act damages China, we can consider sanctioning the states represented by those legislators. 



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