Western 'rights' groups discredit China by labelling fleeing criminals as political dissidents
Published: Jan 20, 2022 06:08 PM
Fox hunt photo: VCG

Fox hunt photo: VCG

"Safeguard Defenders," a Spain-based so-called human rights organization, released a report on Tuesday, accusing that criminals fleeing overseas who were chased and repatriated to China under China's Fox Hunt and Sky Net operations include many political dissidents. It criticized this as a serious human rights violation and damage to the judicial sovereignty of countries concerned. The organization called on countries to end judicial cooperation around extradition with China.

It must be pointed out that the accusation by "Safeguard Defenders" is entirely based on ideology, blatantly standing in opposition to the Chinese people who hate corruption and economic crimes. It behaves like a cult against humanity. What's unusual is that, although not very influential in the West, as soon as the organization's report was released, the Western media immediately made follow-up reports. This shows that smearing China has a huge and abnormal public opinion market in the West.

As is known to all, the Fox Hunt and Sky Net operations are important measures for China's anti-corruption campaign and law-based governance. There have been essential results since the two operations' launch in 2014 and 2015. Thousands of fugitive corrupt officials and economic criminals have been extradited or returned to China to surrender, recovering tens of billions of yuan in economic losses and imposing a strong deterrent for potential fugitives. "Safeguard Defenders" defends those criminals and uses ideology to disrupt the basic notions of right and wrong. Have those corrupt officials provided funds to the organization? 

Here, I want to appeal that the righteous people in Spain should counter-charge "Safeguard Defenders," push to investigate its accounts and see if the money it spent contains illicit money those corrupt officials took from China. Besides, it is necessary to promote an investigation to check, in addition to ideological bias, whether there are connection of interests behind the Western extreme voices attacking China's Fox Hunt operation, and whether there is corruption in itself.

In most cases, Chinese personnel's pursuit of fugitives overseas needs the support and cooperation of the country where the fugitive was located at the time. If Chinese personnel's acts violate the laws of relevant countries and cause damage to the local order, it is impossible that those countries do not react. But so far, only the governments of very few countries, including the US, have expressed dissent to China's Fox Hunt operation and have had disputes. Most countries have remained positive about China's pursuit of fugitives, extradition treaties have worked, and mutual respect and understanding have fostered cooperation.

The US is where most Chinese corrupt officials hide. There are two reasons. First, the US has the strongest ideological prejudice against China and the most serious Cold War mentality. The US is unwilling to see China's promising future, and dares to do damning things. Second, criminals fleeing to the US have brought a lot of money and squandered it there. Although those are ill-gotten gains, they are all spent in the US and are beneficial to its prosperity. For example, there is a community in Virginia, where both the school district and environment are good. Many Chinese fugitives gather there to buy houses, quickly bringing prosperity to the local real estate.

Internally, Washington welcomes corrupt officials and economic criminals to illegally move money from China to the US. Based on these two reasons, corrupt officials regard the US as their safest haven. 

In October 2020, the US Department of Justice charged eight "illegal agents of the Chinese government" for participating in the Fox Hunt operation in the US. This has emboldened Chinese fugitives in the US.

The above-mentioned move by the US is extremely rare. Generally speaking, the world cooperates with China's Fox Hunt. Although some Western countries have a negative attitude in assisting China, China's communication and dealings with them are carried out in a normal way, and there have seldom been open conflicts. The famous Lai Changxing case was dragged on for a long time in Canada. After repeated negotiations between China and Canada, Lai was finally extradited back to China with Canada's consent.

The accusation by "Safeguard Defenders" is an old-fashioned way of demonizing China by calling criminals fleeing overseas political dissidents. Recently, Western accusations and propaganda of China's "violating human rights" have intensified. No matter what criminals China extradites, if human rights organizations label them as "political dissidents," they can cause a storm of public opinion. Western propaganda toward China has been completely polarized and deviated from basic common sense. At this time, if someone wants to protect Chinese corrupt officials and help them build the image of "political dissidents," it is very easy to do so.

However, there are many Chinese dissidents in the West. Have any of them become targets for arrest? In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a group of so-called "pro-democracy activists" went to the US, as well as another group of Falun Gong members and many dissidents. Now, the problem is some of them want to come back to China, but are not allowed to. Why should China arrest them and bring them back to China? Uygur activist Rebiya Kadeer and the so-called barefoot lawyer Chen Guangcheng are allowed to leave the country according to the Chinese government. There is no doubt "Safeguard Defenders" is lying through its teeth. It is absurd that Western public opinion is so susceptible to lies.

The author is a commentator with the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn