Forum enriches human rights

By Xie Wenting Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/11 13:39:13

Voices of developing countries ignored by West: officials

Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, gives a speech at the South-South Human Rights Forum in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Xie Wenting/GT

High-level officials and experts from China and a dozen developing countries on Wednesday condemned some Western countries for interfering in other countries' internal affairs under the banner of human rights at a human rights forum in Beijing. 

Foreign officials also called on China to take the lead to redefine the concept of human rights which truly cares about people and amplifies the much-ignored voices of developing nations.

As the US continues to make groundless accusations against China on Xinjiang-related issues using the excuse of protecting human rights, northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region became the focus at the 2019 South-South Human Rights Forum.

The forum held in China's capital on Tuesday and Wednesday attracted more than 300 people, including senior officials, scholars and diplomats from over 80 Asian, African and Latin American countries as well as international organizations. 

 Addressing the forum on Wednesday, Huang Kunming, head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), criticized some countries and politicians who use the "human rights" banner to trample on human rights and grossly interfere in other countries' internal affairs, which seriously violates the international human rights cause. 

"Past experiences have proven that China has successfully embarked on a human rights development path that conforms to national conditions, which has also contributed to Chinese wisdom to enrich the diversity of human civilization," said Huang, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

We regard the right to survive and develop as the primary human rights, Huang said. He called on developing countries to work together to create a diverse human rights development model, improve global human rights governance and make contributions to building a community of shared future for mankind. 

China's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ma Zhaoxu said at Wednesday's forum that China strongly opposes the country that initiated the trade war and enacted the so-called human rights and democratic act to interfere in another country's internal affairs. 

The remarks came after the US House of Representatives passed the so-called Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019, filled with groundless accusations against China's Xinjiang policies, on December 3 and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on November 27. 

Ma also lashed out at the country for wielding the stick of sanctions and engaging in economic blockades and technology decoupling. He did not directly name the country. 

These actions hinder world economic development and violate human rights, Ma said.

Jiang Jianguo, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, hosts the 2019 South-South Human Rights Forum in Beijing, on Dec. 10, 2019. Under the theme of "Diversity of Civilizations and Global Development of Human Rights," the forum received over 300 participants from more than 80 countries, regions and international organizations. The two-day forum is hosted by the State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [Photo by Jiao Fei/China SCIO]

Hua Chunying, spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry, told Wednesday's media briefing that the US today is not qualified to educate China about human rights and morals, in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement on Monday that "the Chinese government continues to repress members of religious and ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang, Tibet, and elsewhere, as well as to undermine the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kongers under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law." 

"This statement from the US reminded me of Andersen's fairy tale, The Emperor's New Clothes. There is great irony in it," Hua said.

Mushahid Hussain Sayed, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Pakistan Senate, said on Wednesday that some Western countries use human rights as a political weapon on Xinjiang or Hong Kong issues. 

"We in Pakistan fully stand by China on the issues of Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and Taiwan. We regret US interference in the internal affairs of China using human rights as a political weapon because this interference is a violation of international laws," Sayed said.

"There are also double standards. US-launched wars have destroyed the Middle East, but it still has the nerve to talk of human rights," he said. 

Sayed has been to Xinjiang 15 times and personally witnessed the tremendous changes in Xinjiang. He praised China's efforts to stabilize the region which, he said, is done peacefully. 

Bouthaina Shaaban, political and media adviser to the President of Syria, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the Chinese government is doing a very good job in Xinjiang, praising the government's work of educating those people about danger of extremism to become better citizens. 

Shaaban stressed that the Xinjiang issue is China's internal affairs, which has nothing to do with the US. 

"The US uses the human rights claim in many countries to interfere in these countries. It uses this claim in our Arab countries in order to rob our resources, create problems and stop the development of our countries and people. So nobody now believes that the US cares about human rights," she said.

The US is hyping the Xinjiang issue to contain China's rise, Shaaban noted. 

"China is developing both economically and culturally. China has a different way of dealing with other countries from the US. China respects other civilizations and tries to build connectivity between countries, while the US only uses the economic [weapon] against people and other countries," she said.  

Experts also praised China's poverty alleviation work which lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty, and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative to improve human rights in other countries.

Redefining human rights 

Shaaban said it's necessary to redefine human rights on the basis of cultural dialogue, equal dignity and integrity, but the problem is that Western countries have been using human rights as a weapon against other countries and to interfere in their domestic affairs. 

"The West is hypocritical because they do not care at all about human rights. They have punished our people, and prevented us from importing food and medicine for our children," Shaaban said. 

"This forum, I hope, would be the first step toward developing a new concept, a real concept of human rights, which truly cares about human rights and condemns violations of human rights wherever they are, whatever they could be. And I think China is entitled to lead this role," she said. 

Her opinion was echoed by many other participants.

"China should promote the meaning of the forum to the West. So far, they have not listened enough to our voices," said Lionel Alain Vairon, a senior research member of the Beijing-based think tank Charhar Institute.

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