China has fired back at U.S. lawmakers urging U.S. President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on the ‘rising power,’ stating that it is a waste of taxpayers’ money. This is in light of allegations that the Chinese government was imprisoning ethnic minority Muslims. Described as a ‘human rights crisis’ in a letter sent to figures such as the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, these reports are raising concern across the international community. This letter was signed by Marco Rubio, a Florida Senator and Chris Smith, a New Jersey representative. Other noteworthy people who signed it include Sherrod Brown and Ted Cruz, as well as other representatives in Congress.
China has outright denied the existence of these internment camps, with their Foreign Minister stating that Chinese citizens enjoy the freedom of religion. Whilst admitting criminals may be ‘re-educated,’ Hu Lianhe has labeled the reports as ‘untrue’ as they were presented at the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva. Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman, has accused the United States of ‘poking their noses’ in other countries businesses, and suggesting that the U.S. should not act as if they make the rules. This is a classic tactic done by individuals and nations who want to avoid criticism. By attacking the U.S.A., the scrutiny placed on China decreases. This is terrible for the Uighurs who are imprisoned, as they should not be forgotten.
However, this behaviour is typical for China. This is not the first time China has been accused of human rights abuses. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, China was one of seven countries that were up for review by the UN’s human rights department. A committee member, Nicolas Marugan has described the committee as being ‘alarmed’ by China.
Responding to the global ‘People’s War On Terror,’ China contradicts itself by insisting that tough measures are needed to combat terrorism effectively. However, China has been unable to provide credible reports that terrorist-related violence is not rare. There is not much evidence to suggest that China’s rule is under siege by Uighur Muslims either. Adding to these concerns are fears that China is morphing into a ‘surveillance’ state, with reports noting the increase of police and online monitoring. This is a great concern to peace and human rights.
It’s important that China not only closes these camps, but increases legal assistance to minorities such as the Uighur Muslims, and not resort to torture or inhumane methods. They should also reconsider their methods of surveillance. Not doing so would be catastrophic for peace efforts. China’s stubbornness and unwillingness to accept the problems facing the Xinjiang area make peace difficult to achieve.
Sadly, peace does not seem to be on China’s mind.