After being hit with a historic joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council directly criticizing its own human rights record, China decided once again that the best defense is a good offense, striking back by accusing the US of the ‘rape and murder’ of innocent civilians.
After hearing all the charges laid against Beijing, here’s what Chinese diplomat Fu Cong had to say:
The US is notorious for prison abuse at Guantánamo prison, its gun violence is rampant, racism is its deep-rooted malaise.
The United States conducts large-scale extra-territorial eavesdropping, uses drones to attack other countries’ innocent civilians, its troops on foreign soil commit rape and murder of local people. It conducts kidnapping overseas and uses black prisons.
Reuters reports that Fu’s blunt words followed a joint statement from a US-led group of 12 countries that criticized China for its recent crackdowns on human rights, lawyers and activists. The statement expressed particular concern at the current controversy surrounding five Hong Kong booksellers who mysteriously disappeared late last year, only to end up in Chinese custody, charged with running an “illegal book trading” business on the mainland. The statement calls into question what this means for China’s commitment to the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong.
US Ambassador Keith Harper read the statement to the Council:
These actions are in contravention of China’s own laws and international commitments.
These extra-territorial actions are unacceptable, out of step with the expectations of the international community, and a challenge to the rule-based international order.
The message marks the first joint statement made regarding China at the Human Rights Council since its inception in 2007 (China became a member in 2013). It was backed by Japan, Australia and nine northern European countries.
In a statement, China director at Human Rights Watch, Sophie Richardson, praised the message. “The statement shows that while President Xi may think he can eradicate dissent at home, the world stands with embattled human rights defenders across China,” she said.
Harper’s message followed an annual speech by UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who also mentioned “a very worrying pattern” of detentions in China, according to Reuters.
Therefore, the US was not the only one to feel China’s wrath. Fu attacked Zeid, declaring that he should “refrain from making subjective comments not backed up by real facts.” He also found time to blast Japan for its refusal to admit responsibility for taking tens of thousands of “comfort women” during World War II.
Of course, this kind of retaliation has nearly become second nature for China over the years. Beginning in the late 1990s, China has been releasing its own human rights scorecard immediately after the US puts out its yearly rights report to offer up a different take. Over the years, China has denounced the US again and again for issues like gun violence, government surveillance and racial discrimination, while also accusing Washington of hypocrisy when it comes to human rights.