OPINION / OBSERVER
Why does Jim Banks discourage UN probe of US human rights abuses?
Published: Jul 22, 2021 10:23 PM
Protesters shout

Protesters shout "Black Lives Matter" in front of Lafayette Park next to the White House, Washington DC on Friday. Photo: AFP

According to US media reports, 25 members from the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus of conservative members of the Republican Party in the US House of Representatives, slammed Secretary of State Antony Blinken for inviting a UN envoy known for her pro-Critical Race Theory and open borders stance to investigate human rights abuses and racism on US soil. 

This is another example of how the partisan divide in the US shapes its politics and how difficult a divided America can be reunited to address its deep-rooted social woes. It is not that the Republicans are unware of the seriousness of the human rights abuses and racial discrimination in the US, especially after such seriousness has been fully exposed by the US government's mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and by the rampant Black Lives Matter movement. But still, they refuse to let justice come to see the light of day.

Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, believes that the very reason of the Republicans' opposition to Blinken is: Blinken belongs to the Democratic Party, a party that represents different positions and interests from the Republican one. 

"The RSC represents the ultra-conservative groups constrained by conservative doctrines who only speak for their own party and the political interests behind it. Its slam of the secretary of state is a manifestation of the vicious partisan struggle in the US," Shen told the Global Times Thursday.

A new Hidden Common Ground survey by Public Agenda and USA TODAY shows stark partisan differences over racial issues. A majority of Democrats (88 percent) agree that overcoming racism requires more than changing people's attitudes and requires fundamental changes in laws and institutions, while only less than half of Republicans (46 percent) say that is the case. 

"The biggest divisions in how Americans see the issue are not among race but party affiliation," an article published on Tuesday on USA Today concluded. 

Of course, another obvious reason for the Republicans' opposition to Blinken's invitation of UN envoys is that although the Republicans do not want to clean dirty laundry at home, they do not want the international community to know more about it either. After all, racial discrimination is the scar and shame of US society. In the eyes of Republican conservative forces, the invitation of UN envoys to investigation US problems by Democrats equals digging the US' own grave, Wei Zongyou, a professor at the Center for American Studies of Fudan University, told the Global Times Thursday.

It is also worth noting that one of the accusations made by those Republicans is that Blinken is "more concerned about American self-flagellation" than "about those men and women facing oppression overseas." Even at a time when US society is being eroded by human rights abuses and racism, these politicians do not forget to show "care" toward the rights of people in other countries. 

Such "care" is hardly proof of their endorsement of human rights but a tool to realize their political agenda. Being a long-term anti-China group, the RSC last year called for sanctions on Chinese officials alleged to repress Chinese citizens in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong. Its chairman, Jim Banks, who is among the 25 RSC members to slam Blinken, once made a fuss about concentration camps," which the US politicians fabricated, in Xinjiang on Twitter. They worry that the UN's investigation into US human rights and racial abuses will hinder their human rights crusade against other countries, including China. 

China does not oppose investigations. What it opposes is investigations based on presumption of guilt and making use of the investigations to play political tricks. Some Republicans' refusal to let the UN investigate will only expose the US as a weak, irresponsible and hypocritical country. 
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