'They'll pay the price': China hits back at human rights criticism

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·5-min read

China has ramped up its retaliation towards nations accusing it of genocide and serious human rights abuses in Xinjiang, delivering a daunting threat they will "pay a price" for their "shameful" stance.

On Monday, the US, the EU, the UK and Canada imposed sanctions on Chinese officials as they continue to push for Beijing to be held accountable for its actions imposed on more than one million Uyghur muslim minorities in the western province.

The move was followed by a joint statement from Australia and New Zealand reiterating their "grave concerns" regarding what they called clear evidence into human rights abuse.

"Australia and New Zealand welcome the measures announced overnight by Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. We share these countries' deep concerns," the statement read.

There have been multiple in-depth reports and investigations from western academics and media organisations that claim people sent to Xinjiang's internment camps are subject to forced labour, torture, sexual abuse and sterilisation.

Hua Chunying was unrelenting on Tuesday night when addressing allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.. Source: FMPRC
Hua Chunying was unrelenting on Tuesday night when addressing allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Source: FMPRC

On Tuesday evening, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying delivered a fiery warning to Western countries intent on defaming China by spreading lies.

"There are a few countries obsessed with lecturing others on human rights. But facts in the past have proved that they are neither qualified or capable of doing so," she said.

"We urge them not to underestimate Chinese people's firm determination to defend national interests and dignity. It's a courtesy to reciprocate what we receive.

"They will have to pay a price for their ignorance and arrogance."

Chinese embassy scolds Australia

Her remarks follow a statement from the Chinese Embassy in Canberra which rejected Australia's latest comments on Xinjiang.

"The allegations, in disregard of facts and based on disinformation and lies, are unwarranted attacks against China and out of pure political manipulation," an embassy spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The statement once again pointed to a perceived hypocrisy of Australia, previously levelled by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the outspoken editor of state-run Global Times, Hu Xijin.

"We call on Australia to reflect upon and address its own problems, in particular the killings of innocent civilians by Australian overseas military personnel, the worsening situation of racial discrimination, the long-standing insufficiency in the protection of the rights of aboriginal peoples as well as the inhumane treatment of detainees in the off-shore detention centres," the statement said.

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Hua issued similar barbed remarks to the US, EU and UK saying that with their own notorious reputation on human rights, they are in no position to blame China.

"It must be pointed out that these countries and bloc regard themselves as 'the judge of human rights' and act as 'lecturers on human rights'; however, they themselves have a bad reputation on human rights. They have no right to accuse China or even impose on China the crimes they have committed themselves," she said.

Hua listed the atrocious actions that the colonists committed in history, including the slave trade, racism, genocide, slaughter and launch of wars for example in Iraq.

She also pointed to the US response to Covid-19 where Washington "turned a blind eye to their people's rights to life".

"The United States and the West have been trumpeting protecting human rights, but who and what right on earth are they protecting? In what way are they respecting and protecting human rights? Shouldn't they feel shameful?" she asked.

A split picture of Canberra (left) and Beijing (right). Source: Getty
Canberra has repeatedly been criticised by Beijing for its position on Xinjiang. Source: Getty

When pressed whether China believed the actions alleged to have occurred in Xinjiang were acceptable because of previous nation's ill treatment of people, Hua refuted such a suggestion.

She said previous human rights violations from Western countries are "plain facts", while the accusations levelled by Western countries was "based on lies and disinformation".

China 'not worried' by US-led alliance

The US has vowed it will only cooperate with China if it stops its economic sanctions against Australia, a stance Canberra has welcomed.

Australia has been hit hard by sanctions targeting its main exports to China in the wake of a series of disagreements over matters including Xinjiang as well as national security threats, Chinese investment in Australia and stances on Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Hua said China was undeterred by a growing alliance of nations believed to be counter-acting Beijing and its bullying.

Earlier this month Quad members Australia, Japan, India and the US had a successful first summit where they agreed to work towards an Indo-Pacific free of coercion.

"I can tell you with absolute confidence that we are not worried at all," Hua said.

"While politicians in these countries are busy wooing voters, the Chinese government is busy serving the people wholeheartedly.

"If these countries want to talk about democracy, they are more than welcome to come and talk to us.

"However, if we try to preach human rights or democracy, reprimand China in a condescending way, interfere in China's internal affairs on the basis of rumours and lies, or even imposed arbitrary sanctions on China, we will have to reciprocate."

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