China’s Global Times state propaganda newspaper angrily condemned President Donald Trump’s signing of the Uyghur Human Rights Act in a column Thursday by urging China’s rubber-stamp legislature to pass a law condemning “the deplorable U.S. human rights situation.”
The Uyghur Human Rights Act is the first law anywhere in the world to challenge China’s construction of concentration camps for ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz people, and other Muslims and religious minorities in western Xinjiang province. The law provides for the president to sanction Chinese Communist Party members responsible for building and maintaining the camps, where survivors say victims endure indoctrination, torture, forced sterilization, rape, slavery, and murder.
China’s Foreign Ministry reacted with outrage to the passage of the law.
“Xinjiang-related issues are not issues about human rights, ethnicity, or religion at all, but about combating violent terrorism and separatism,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian – responsible for the bizarre theory that the U.S. Army caused the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, said on Thursday. “People of different ethnic groups and religious beliefs in Xinjiang live together as equals, enjoy unity and harmony, and lead a peaceful and stable life. China’s policy in Xinjiang has been positively recognized across the international community.”
Zhao concluded that China would “respond resolutely” if Washington did not walk back the passage of the act.
China admits to the existence of the camps but insists that they are “vocational training centers” to help underprivileged minorities learn job skills necessary to thrive in the modern Chinese communist economy. Uyghur human rights groups note that many of those who disappeared into the camps possessed functional businesses or advanced educations, contradicting the official Beijing claim.
The latest State Department estimates suggest that between 1 million to 2 million people are currently trapped in Chinese concentration camps in Xinjiang.
The Global Times compared the establishment of concentration camps to allegations of law enforcement racism in America in its article Thursday and urged the Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) to pass a “George Floyd human rights bill,” presumably sanctioning American officials.
“The U.S. has fallen from the moral high ground as a self-proclaimed human rights defender. It’s time for the international community to scrutinize the deplorable U.S. human rights situation,” the Global Times asserted. “If the U.S. cannot face up to its own problems, it’s imperative for the international community to step in, for example, setting up a special committee and starting an inquiry.”
“China’s top legislature could also consider passing a ‘George Floyd human rights bill’ to send the U.S. a message, urging it to step up human rights protection,” the article added, without elaborating on what should be in that bill. Given the content of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, however, such a bill could allow for sanctions against American officials that Beijing declares are complicit in racist activity.
George Floyd was a resident of Minnesota killed by Minneapolis police. In the last moments of Floyd’s life, police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly ten minutes. Floyd was unarmed and did not appear to be resisting the officers. His death triggered a wave of protests and riots throughout the United States against police brutality and, in particular, police violence against black Americans.
Chinese propaganda outlets like the Global Times have used Floyd in an attempt to argue that America is a worse human rights violator than China. In another article published this week, the Times cited a Communist Party-approved “expert” to conclude that “the U.S. is not a champion of human rights at all since it can’t even clean its own mess.”
The “expert” was identified as Chang Jian, the head of a Chinese think tank that had recently published a report on George Floyd’s death.
“By using human rights as an excuse, the U.S has destroyed many sovereign countries and made them failed states, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria,” the report allegedly concluded.
“The U.S. always politicizes the human rights issue in the international arena and this time, the horrible human rights conditions of African Americans and other minorities have uncovered the hypocrisy of U.S. politicians, which makes the U.S. less qualified to comment on other countries’ human rights issues,” Chang reportedly said.
In addition to its regular use of state media outlets to attack America’s alleged human rights shortcomings, Beijing regularly uses “think tanks” and official media arms to make outlandish claims of human rights atrocities occurring on American soil. In March, a Chinese government report declared that America was “the most warlike nation” in the history of humanity. A government “white paper” that similarly concluded the United States was irredeemably violent cited among Washington’s crime the existence of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, a late-night program, which it alleged had broadcast racist content against Asians.