Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

A biased view of China

By Liu Jie (China Daily) Updated: 2012-01-30 07:58

To attack and censure socialist system is the true intention of distorted portrayal of the country's human rights environment

On the eve of the Chinese New Year, Human Rights Watch released its Global Annual Report 2012. As of old, the organization found fault with China's human rights situation. Full of subjective assumptions and cliches, the report concentrated its firepower on political issues in China.

The Chinese government's endeavor to maintain social stability, protect national security, and even its voting behavior as a permanent member of the UN Security Council are all targeted in the report.

Such a report is far from a human rights report, fundamentally it is a political report released in the name of human rights.

The most notable facet reflecting the report's politicized human rights logic lies in its conclusion that "the human rights environment in China is deteriorating". A country's human rights environment concerns its political, economic, cultural and social development issues, so it is far beyond the competency of a non-governmental organization to judge a country's human rights environment.

Significantly, Human Rights Watch is willing to ignore its role as an NGO, and has openly advocated Western countries put pressure on China.

Brad Adams, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division, said on Jan 23 that China needs the Western market, which means that China is unlikely to act against the West economically, especially if Western countries stand united. Europe should not be afraid of China, and the international community, especially Europe, should increase pressure on China to improve its human rights conditions, he said.

Human Rights Watch in essence has positioned itself as a political organization, trying to take the initiative to conspire with some Western governments to achieve their political aims. To attack and censure China's political situation is the true intention of the report.

By claiming China's human rights situation is "deteriorating", and then trying to collect evidence of the Chinese government's "human rights violations" from various rumors, speculation and even fabrications, they want to distort China's international image.

In this way, human rights have nothing to do with human values and dignity, and whether human rights in China are making progress and whether the Chinese government respects human rights is unimportant. The only thing that is important is that China should be criticized politically. China cannot choose the development path suitable to its own national conditions and cannot even exercise the rights of a sovereign state to safeguard national security and social stability.

Under such politicized human rights thinking, Human Rights Watch not only attempts to put itself in the position of a moral judge, it also places itself above a sovereign state, demanding that the Chinese government govern in accordance with its will.

In fact, alongside its economic achievements, China's human rights situation has also progressed. China has embarked on a human rights development path compatible with its own national conditions and respecting and protecting human rights has become an important principle in managing State affairs.

The politicized human rights espoused by Human Rights Watch and some Western governments features two political premises: the first is the consistent bias over China's human rights situation and social system; the second is the attempt to create a new political conundrum for the Chinese government by forejudging China's "various violations of human rights".

The root of this prejudice is the West's distorted perception of the socialist system, which deems China a threat and challenger to the West. Some Western countries still harbor a deep-rooted Cold War mentality and hegemonic consciousness and they seek to distort China's human rights record for their own purposes.

After the Cold War, the West developed a sense of superiority in their political system and a prejudice against any others that were different. Based on their institutional arrogance, these Western countries believe that their political system is the only universal system.

Because of this, any kind of non-Western political system is quickly labeled "non-democratic", "authoritarian", and even a "rogue state".

In this sense, the report attempts to use human rights as a political weapon to promote China's collapse from within.

In recent years, the West has become increasingly anxious over China's development. China's sustained economic growth has led to the rise of its international status and influence and the China model is attractive to other developing countries. Meanwhile, the arrogant Western countries are caught in serious financial crises, with their model of development and self-interest being widely criticized and questioned.

The West's fear, arrogance and anxiety mean it continually seeks to distort China's image. Dominated by such a mentality, the West will never acknowledge that the human rights situation in China has been continually improving.

The people in the West that point accusatory fingers at the human rights situation in China should face up to the reality that if the 1.3 billion Chinese people did not have political democracy, freedom of thought and growing human rights protection, how could they create an unprecedented economic miracle within just 30 years?

The author is a Beijing-based scholar of international relations.

(China Daily 01/30/2012 page8)

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