Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Opinion / Editorials

Ugly nature of US' hijacking of human rights: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2024-05-19 18:24
Share - WeChat
Photo taken on Oct 28, 2021 shows the White House in Washington, DC, the United States. [Photo/Xinhua]

A growing number of unilateral sanctions have been imposed against China by the United States since 2017, with the US increasing its pressure on Chinese technology companies with the imposition of export controls and the launch of administrative and civil charges. These moves have been followed by further sanctions and restrictions related to and in connection with Xinjiang and Hong Kong that expand the list of targets to include key sectors of economic activity, including agriculture, construction, trade, new and green technologies, energy, finance, telecommunications and others.

The unilateral sanctions imposed by the US against China do not conform with international legal norms and cannot be justified as countermeasures under the law of international responsibility, as a UN expert has said.

The unilateral coercive measures impact people's full enjoyment of human rights as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and are imposed as a tool to compel the targeted state to act in accordance with the demands of the US.

States such as the US should therefore lift their unilateral coercive sanctions against China, and also take strong action to curb sanction overcompliance by businesses and other actors under their jurisdiction, said Alena Douhan, UN special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights, at a news conference in Beijing on Friday, after an official 12-day visit to China.

"A decline in business activities and the significant loss of global markets either due to unilateral sanctions per se or due to overcompliance with such measures by foreign businesses and entities have led to job losses, with consequent disruptions in social protection schemes, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable, particularly in labor-intensive sectors, including women, older persons, and all those in informal employment," Douhan said.

The multifaceted negative impact of sanctions is also showcased in areas such as education and academic/scientific cooperation with the listing of several prominent Chinese universities and research centers, the interruption of exchange programs, scholarships and joint research projects between Chinese and foreign — mainly US and European — institutions, as well as the broader stigmatization of Chinese students and scholars, who may be denied entry visas or subjected to thorough background checks purportedly on national security grounds.

Moreover, as Douhan pointed out, access to justice and the fundamental principles of due process and the presumption of innocence are also seriously undermined by the listing and de-listing procedures. That means the designated individuals and entities are not provided with the evidence that has supposedly provided the grounds for their designation and they have extremely limited capacity to pursue administrative and judicial proceedings before the sanctioning states' court systems, whose procedures are often lengthy, costly, nontransparent and inefficient.

In other words, to protect human rights in Xinjiang or Hong Kong is just an excuse employed by the US to justify its China-targeted sanctions. In practice, these sanctions have not only caused inevitable harm to human rights in China, they may also lead to negative humanitarian consequences elsewhere in the world, as Douhan said, despite China having the capability to mitigate their negative impacts to various extents.

Notably, one day before the UN expert's Beijing news conference, the date of which had been announced before her trip commenced, the US said on Thursday that it was adding another 26 Chinese cotton traders or warehouse facilities to its Entity List citing Xinjiang's "human rights" concerns. This seems to be an unmistakable provocative move in response to Douhan's visit, since she has been highly critical of the US for similar reasons regarding Venezuela, Iran and Zimbabwe before.

The China report based on her visit she will present to the UN Human Rights Council in September, calling on the sanctioning parties to lift and suspend all unilateral sanctions applied to China without the authorization of the UN Security Council, might not affect the US' stance on its coercively intended practices regarding China. But it will at least serve to highlight the ugly nature of these moves to the international community.

It is shameful for the US to hijack humanitarian concerns for politics.

Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349