U.S. 'concern' for Xinjiang is not for human rights but for hegemony
June 28,2022   By:CGTN
Editor's note: Liu Weidong is a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
June 28, 2022 -- The U.S. has a long history of interference in issues related to China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Since the late 1990s, various U.S. forces have been dictating to China around Xinjiang and its main pretext has been to "protect the human rights of the ethnic minorities." But from the perspective of its historic performance, the United States has not really been concerned about human rights, but only about its own interests.
For the United States, national interests have always been more important than human rights at major historical moments. After the end of the Cold War, the U.S. began to pay more attention to human rights conditions in Xinjiang. Nonetheless, at other critical moments, human rights issues were seldom given any priority by Washington. 
When the war on terror began, the U.S. identified Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Uygur militant organization, as a terrorist organization and invited the Chinese security agents to help to interrogate the suspects in Guantanamo, in order to gain China's support for its operations in Afghanistan. 
After meeting some so-called Chinese dissidents in the White House, then U.S. President George W. Bush overlooked the U.S. Congress' demands to boycott the Beijing Olympics and brought his whole family to enjoy the opening ceremony since he thought this would help both countries better deal with challenges together. 
When believing that Uygur detainees in Guantanamo were no longer a threat, on May 20, 2009, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution by a 90-6 vote prohibiting the Obama administration from transferring these detainees to the U.S. mainland. 
These limited cases show that the human rights issue in Xinjiang is just a chip for the U.S. to realize its own interests, and that the chip can be discarded at any time when necessary.
Secondly, the U.S. community judges the human rights situation in Xinjiang by narrow and arbitrary standards, constantly focusing on abuses in "re-education camps" while deliberately ignoring the indiscriminate killings carried out by terrorists in Xinjiang. They criticize the Chinese government's social governance and security arrangements in Xinjiang without mentioning that it is such measures that have prevented the recurrence of large-scale riots in Xinjiang, deliberately ignoring the long-term stability in recent years. They say the Chinese government is violating human rights by providing universal elementary education in Xinjiang, but ignore the fact that helping ethnic minority people integrate into modern society has lifted more of them out of poverty and become better off. They declared boycotts on Xinjiang's exports of products made with so-called forced labor, while ignoring that Western sanctions are hurting precisely the people living in the region themselves. They find ways to judge the Chinese government's actions arbitrarily in the Western context; and even make up lies to discredit Beijing out of thin air.
The U.S. approach is the same as that of its democracy export strategy, which aims to justify its coercive behavior under the banner of protecting human rights and expanding democracy, as well as to promote the image of the U.S. government as the "guard of human rights" and to tarnish the international image of the Chinese government while accumulating soft power for itself.
Additionally, it is well known that the United States has serious domestic human rights problems, but it has traditionally upheld double standards both internally and externally, with governmental and civil institutions dedicated to monitoring human rights in other countries, issuing regular reports and imposing arbitrary foreign sanctions. However, there is no institution to monitor the United States' own human rights problems: racial discrimination, voter suppression, gun violence, extreme disparity between the rich and the poor, child labor exploitation, immigrant abuse and many more. The Trump administration has also adopted a sensational policy of separating migrant parents from their children. However, as for those self-claimed "patriotic" legislators who always focus on human rights in China, when have they ever been concerned about human rights in the United States?
Even in an interview after the serious school shooting last month in Texas, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio pointed his fingers at China again over Xinjiang instead of talking about the child victims in the U.S. Even American netizens began to realize that since the U.S. politicians don't even care about the human rights of American children, how can they be genuinely concerned about the human rights of foreign minorities? U.S. politicians are so presumptuous and blind to their own problems while focusing their energies on overseeing a land thousands of miles away is ultimately attributed to unilateralism thoughts. America's so-called human rights diplomacy is nothing more than a synonym for human rights hegemony.
In short, the "human rights issue" in Xinjiang is nothing more than a pressure tool for the United States to realize its national interests. Like in all countries and regions, the human rights conditions in Xinjiang are not without room for improvement. But the U.S. deliberately ignored the achievements made in Xinjiang, only exaggerating those negative news, and using double standards for a long time, which reflects the hypocritical nature of its "concern" for human rights.

By: Liu Weidong
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