World / Reporter's Journal

US officials like to defame China to cover their own misdeeds

By Chen Weihua (China Daily USA) Updated: 2016-03-28 10:48

It is not unusual for senior US officials to throw jabs at China in their public speeches while traveling abroad.

President Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton did that when they visited Africa years ago. It happened at a time when a rising China was quickly becoming Africa's largest trade partner and investor, especially in infrastructure, an area increasingly ignored by Western nations.

When Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel visited Germany and spoke at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin on March 22, he followed the same pattern - criticizing China without any self-criticism.

US officials like to defame China to cover their own misdeeds

He pointed finger at China's human rights, laws and regulations on cyberspace, banking, counterterrorism and NGO management.

It is true that as a developing nation, China has a lot of room for improvement. But the world's only superpower has a lot of soul searching to do too, and it does not seem proper for senior US officials to use megaphone diplomacy against China. Chinese officials have refrained from that while traveling abroad, although they have plenty of ammunition.

For example, the rampant US drone strikes in some Mideast, South Asia and North Africa nations have not only constituted violations of sovereignty, they have killed many civilians, including women and children.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported last September that US drone strikes may have killed as many as 40 Yemeni civilians from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015. The number is much higher if counted from 2002, when the US started drone strikes in Yemen.

While US news media continued to cover the San Bernardino, California shootings in December 2015, when 14 people were killed in a terrorist attack, few mainstream networks have devoted time to the civilian deaths caused by US drone strikes, let alone the stories of the Yemeni civilians.

The same is true for cybersecurity. The students at the Hertie School of Governance, who are from various countries, may well remember how the National Security Agency (NSA) has operated above the law to conduct surveillance and spying activities against other nations, corporations and government leaders.

On March 25, Democracy Now talked about how the Pentagon funded and used a Colorado-based Christian NGO as a front to spy in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Russel criticized China's actions in the South China Sea. He talked lightly, however, when mentioning the land reclamations, military facilities and airstrips built by other nations before China's.

"This was not a good thing," Russel said, without explaining why the US remained dead quiet over the years and decades when other nations, some of which are US treaty allies, took those actions. It's just like when he was not bothered to mention publicly the gross human rights violations by some close US allies.

Russel repeated the US stance of not taking sides in the South China Sea sovereignty issues. But anyone who listened to or read his speech wouldn't be fooled. He sounded like a judge when arguing for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, a treaty the US has not even ratified.

He did not say that China made the Article 298 declaration 10 years ago not to accept mandatory arbitration.

Wang Yingfan, former permanent representative to the UN, in a speech last week called on the US to exercise restraint, saying, "If you do too much, China has to react."

Russel accused China of coercion and disrespecting international laws, saying "the United States accepts limits".

If the rampant drone strikes, the frequent military surveillance along the Chinese coast, the regime change in Libya and the NSA activities as revealed by Snowden are examples of accepting limits, then Russel has to define what not accepting limits is.

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