US senators should fix epidemic if they care about human rights

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By Yu Ning Source: Global Times

US national flags representing the 200,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States are placed on the National Mall in Washington, DC, the United States, on Sept. 22, 2020.Photo:Xinhua

A huge human rights tragedy is happening in the US. COVID-19 cases are still skyrocketing in the country at an average of over 69,000 per day. US politicians, however, instead of working to find ways to reduce COVID-19 infections and deaths, are more eager to throw mud at the governance in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region with false accusations.

A group of US senators, including Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Marco Rubio of Florida, on Monday introduced a bipartisan resolution to designate China’s alleged human rights abuses against Uygur people and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang as “genocide.” Menendez, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he was “proud” to introduce the resolution as “stopping a genocide is consistent with our national security and our values, and it starts by standing up and speaking the truth.”

Those politicians were talking tales. They are trying to fool Americans and using lies to cover up the fact that it’s the US that is committing “genocide” against the elderly, the poor and ethnic minorities amid the epidemic. African Americans, plagued by economic difficulties and racial discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic, have constantly staged protests across the US.

People in Xinjiang don’t need the hypocritical care of these American politicians. According to a report on Xinjiang’s population in September, from 2010 to 2018, the growth rate of the Uygur population was nearly twice that of the overall residents, and was way higher than that of the Han population in Xinjiang. Kashi city, where Uygur people accounts for over 90 percent of the prefecture’s total population, raced against time to complete nucleic acid tests for its 4.7 million people in four days, after one asymptomatic case was detected on October 24.

In contrast, what’s the suffering of the old, poor and the minorities in the US amid the epidemic? They are the most vulnerable groups. Because of deep-rooted social ills such as racism, inequality and the widening gap between the rich and poor, the coronavirus is more fatal to them. Nursing homes across the US have been hit hard by the epidemic. Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the COVID-19 death rates among Black and Hispanic/Latino people are much higher than for white people in all age categories. Can’t American politicians hear those desperate voices in their country? Or do they deliberately turn a deaf ear to them? As of Wednesday morning, Florida had recorded at least 786,303 infections and 16,504 deaths. If US politicians like Rubio really care about human rights, they, at least, should pay more visits to the hard-hit regions in his constituency to better deal with the COVID-19.

US politicians who introduced the Xinjiang resolution should stop expressing their deceptive concerns on Xinjiang. Their hypocrisy is disgusting. Before they point a finger at others, they should dwell more on how to help the vulnerable groups in the US survive the COVID-19.

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