The Chinese state newspaper Global Times declared Thursday that America was “among the top” nations that experienced a significant decline in human rights in 2020, claiming that the federal government had not done enough to contain the Chinese coronavirus.
The Chinese Communist Party regularly accuses the United States of violating the human rights of its citizens, typically claiming that America is a racist nation, does not act sufficiently against poverty, or engages too frequently in foreign warmongering. Last week, the Global Times declared the United States a “living Hell” because of the pandemic.
The Chinese coronavirus pandemic originated in Wuhan, China. The Communist Party actively suppressed information related to the discovery of the novel disease in the early days of the outbreak, including using police to intimidate and silence doctors sharing basic infectious disease protocol.
“If there is a list of countries with severely deteriorating human rights situations this year, the U.S. will be among the top,” the Global Times proclaimed Thursday. “The U.S. broke a daily record for COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] deaths again on Wednesday, with at least 3,011 new fatalities. This was more than those who died from the 9/11 attacks (2,977).”
Global statistics on coronavirus diagnoses and deaths, experts have asserted, are skewed by accidental or deliberate misreporting by rogue regimes, most prominently China. In April, the American Enterprise Institute published a study concluding that China had experienced millions of more cases of coronavirus than those it officially reported to the international community.
Rather than discussing China’s record, the Global Times asserted that the United States was experiencing a decline in respect for human rights at home that in turn had prompted the collapse of global respect for America.
The Global Times went on to claim “institutional abandonment” of the fight against coronavirus in the United States, “leading the country to a huge humanitarian tragedy where human lives are treated like grass.” The pandemic, it claimed, was the “Waterloo” of human rights advocacy in America.
“The current U.S. administration is actually committing crimes against humanity and it will eventually face a moral trial by history,” it continued.
The article did not give any concrete examples of alleged “crimes against humanity,” instead repeatedly accusing Washington of not sufficiently acting against the pandemic. Americans have been subject to waves of economic lockdowns since March organized by state governments, not Washington, as per the nation’s federal government system. Despite the Global Times‘ claims, some state governments have significantly reduced citizens’ mobility and damaged livelihoods in the name of combatting the virus. Among the most prominent violations of Americans’ rights were several provisions in states limiting Americans’ ability to freely exercise their religion, a move the Supreme Court found unconstitutional in November.
In contrast, China only allows Chinese citizens to practice five religions — Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicism, and “Christianity” — and only under the control of the Communist Party, which is officially atheist. China regularly represses people of faith and, under dictator Xi Jinping, has launched a campaign to erase religious symbols and houses of worship nationwide.
Its actions to eradicate Islam have arguably been the most dramatic, establishing over 1,000 concentration camps currently believed to house 2 million Muslims, most of them Uyghurs. Survivors say that — in addition to torture, rape, forced sterilization, and slavery — Communist Party agents indoctrinate them into atheism.
The Global Times article concluded China, unlike the United States, was “aware that there is room for improvement regarding its human rights” but that it had done more than the United States to contain the Chinese coronavirus.
After initially trying to silence doctors away of a contagious disease spreading in Wuhan, the Chinese government acted violently to keep citizens locked in their homes. Locals in Wuhan reported China was welding the doors of apartment buildings shut to keep people inside, preventing them from accessing food and basic medicines. The Communist Party also increased its persecution of regular citizens considered to be discussing topics unfavorable to the regime, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a human rights organization. Specifically, the group revealed in April, China had exacerbated draconian acts such as “deleting critical information online, censoring the media, punishing whistleblowing doctors, detaining and disappearing independent journalists and government critics, and kicking out foreign reporters.”
The measures appeared to fail to stop the spread of the virus. A study released in March by the University of Southampton found that the Communist Party could have prevented as many as 95 percent of its coronavirus cases if it had acted to educate the public, rather than silencing and punishing doctors.
While urging the United States to abide by China’s alleged human rights standards, the Global Times warned the world a year ago that it was “unrealistic” to expect China to ever respect the human rights of its citizens.
“[A]n increasing number of Chinese people have realized that it is unrealistic for China to prioritize and pursue Western human rights standards,” a column published in the newspaper read. “They may create an adverse impact on China’s socioeconomic development, and sustainable development is a prerequisite for improving human rights.”