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China is exploiting Western hypocrisy in the Middle East

22 31 0

Over the past year, the United States and its Western allies have taken up the cudgels for China’s Muslim ethnic minorities.

Proudly extolling its commitment to human rights promotion, the Biden administration has openly accused Beijing of committing “genocide and crimes against humanity” in Xinjiang, where Uighur Muslims have long been facing systematic persecution at the hands of Chinese authorities.

Even relatively friendly Western nations such as New Zealand, which has been courting large-scale investments from China, lambasted Beijing’s “severe human rights abuses against ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang”. Germany, a top trading partner of China, meanwhile, mobilised a strongly-worded resolution at the United Nations, which called on Beijing to grant international investigators “immediate, meaningful and unfettered access” to Xinjiang.

In an unprecedented move, the US, the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union have also imposed coordinated sanctions against top Chinese officials believed to be overseeing the persecution of Muslim minority groups in the country. This has gone hand in hand with a Western-led boycott of Chinese products allegedly utilising textile materials from forced labour camps in Xinjiang.

But the latest outbreak of violence in the Middle East, during which 11 days of Israeli bombardment led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians in Gaza, has exposed the paucity of the West’s claims to moral ascendancy. And China has exploited the West’s brazen hypocrisy to deflect blame from its own abuses and, quite ironically, even position itself as a defender of the Palestinian people and an ally of the Muslim world.

In his first State of the Union address, President Joe Biden declared that “no responsible American President could remain silent when basic human rights are being so blatantly violated” anywhere in the world. He vowed that, “America will not back away from our commitments – our commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms and to our allies.”

True to his words, Biden has tirelessly mobilised fellow democratic allies and strategic partners, from Europe to India and Japan, to challenge authoritarian superpowers such as China. In stark contrast to his immediate predecessors, Donald Trump and Barack Obama, Biden has made the........

© Al Jazeera

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