The People’s Republic of China — notorious for placing Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps and imposing extra coronavirus lockdowns on black people — is accusing the United States of America of “chronic” racism. The regime that put down the Tiananmen Square protests with tanks in 1989 is condemning the U.S. for “police violence.”
The Chinese Communist Party is taking advantage of the looting, vandalism, and arson into which the protests over George Floyd’s death have devolved to distract from its heinous — and indeed racist — malfeasance of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Black lives matter, their human rights need to be guaranteed,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian declared in a press conference on Monday. “Racial discrimination against minorities is a chronic sickness in American society.”
“The current situation shows the severity of racial discrimination and police violence there, as well as the urgency to resolve these issues. We hope the U.S. government can take substantive measures and fulfill its obligations to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” Zhao concluded.
What about China’s racism?
Zhao’s statement is hypocritical in the extreme. He may regret mentioning the United Nations anti-racism convention, considering the fact that U.N. human rights experts expressed alarm about China’s detention of one million or more ethnic Uyghurs in Xinjiang. In 2018, Gay McDougall, a member of the committee to enforce the convention, said that “In the name of combatting religious extremism, China had turned Xinjiang into something resembling a massive internment camp, shrouded in secrecy, a sort of no-rights zone.”
China’s abuse of the Uyghurs is a well-known global scandal, but the Communist Party has also singled out black people for extra quarantines during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
“We are not animals,” Congolese businessman Felly Mwamba, who has lived in China for 16 years and now faces restrictions in the southern city of Guangzhou, told The New York Times. He said he found himself sealed in his home, prohibited from leaving and viewed with suspicion as a carrier of the disease, simply because he was African.
“Though the Chinese government denounced racist attacks against Asians overseas when the outbreak was centered in China, it now casts people from other countries as public health risks,” The Times reported.
“People are not happy because they’re being forced out of their apartments and into hotels where they have to pay [$30] a night for 28 days,” Maximus Ogbonna, the president of a Nigerian community group in Guangzhou, told The Washington Post. Although he completed a 14-day quarantine in March after returning from Nigeria, he was told by local officials on April 8 that he had to undergo a second 14-day quarantine, even though he had tested negative for the virus and had not traveled elsewhere. Ogbonna is restricted to his apartment, where police installed a camera over the door to monitor him.
Distracting from the pandemic
The unrest in America may seem a boon to the Chinese Communist Party after increasing revelations of China’s lies, cover-ups, and other malfeasance during the coronavirus pandemic raised serious questions about whether or not countries affected by the pandemic should bring legal action in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Beijing for violating its obligations under the International Health Regulations (IHR).
Chinese authorities covered up the outbreak early on, going so far as to destroy samples of the coronavirus. When the WHO reported that there had been some human-to-human transmission of the virus, Chinese authorities pressured it to retract that statement. At the time, China was hoarding personal protective equipment (PPE) from across the world, PPE which it later refused to send to countries that needed it unless foreign governments praised Beijing.
The Chinese Communist Party threatened doctors who dared to share information about the coronavirus and did not put Wuhan — where the outbreak originated — under lockdown until 5 million people had already left the city.
The State of Missouri has already filed a lawsuit to hold China accountable, and there is a growing chorus of voices demanding the U.S. sue the Chinese Communist Party in an international court. China has even threatened U.S. senators by name who dared to call Beijing to account for its malfeasance. Americans want to see China held accountable for this malfeasance.
It may seem cunning for China to point to another international agreement to distract from its coronavirus malfeasance, but China does not recognize a key part of the racial discrimination convention. Beijing rejects Article 22 — the part of the treaty that allows disputes to go to the International Court of Justice. How convenient!
Not only is the Chinese Communist Party government in Beijing a million times more racist and brutal than American society, but China won’t even play by the rules of the treaty it shamelessly accused the U.S. of breaking.
Not to be racially insensitive, but that’s far worse than the pot calling the kettle black.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.