Magnitsky Act tool for West to safeguard hegemony, self-interests

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By Ai Jun Source: Global Times

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The EU passed the European Magnitsky Act on Monday, modeled after the US’ Magnitsky Act which targets human rights violations. This EU legislation will officially come into force on Thursday with one scenario catching increasing attention – the law may likely be used to sanction institutions and individuals related to so-called human rights issues in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

It is argued by some observers as a tool to coordinate with the US in its major power games.

The formulation of the European Magnitsky Act was pushed by the US. Even US media outlets acknowledged it, with the Wall Street Journal publishing an article revealing how a US politician sent a stern message to the Hungarian embassy, asking the latter to support the passage of the law with warnings.

And it seems that a growing number of Western countries, either pressured by the US or hoping to please the US, are considering establishing similar legislation. Australia is one of them.

Whenever the West touches upon the topic of human rights of China, they would clamor about Xinjiang affairs. Thanks to the relentless efforts of Western politicians and media outlets, a large number of Westerners have been brainwashed to believe there are “concentration camps” in Xinjiang and people are living under “religious persecution” there, regardless of whether they have seen solid evidence.

The real Xinjiang is prosperous with stable economic development and improving living standards. In sharp contrast to a few years ago, there have been no more terror attacks in the region. What China has been cracking down on is terrorism. Driving fear out of people’s lives and promoting the local economy is the best approach to protect the human rights of Xinjiang residents.

However, the West is taking advantage of its supreme discourse power in the international public opinion field to attack China, attempting to shape a vicious, authoritarian country via various subjects, such as the latest one – the pandemic. But when it comes to the fight against COVID-19, human rights are supposed to be about curing patients and reducing infections. It’s a simple fact.

When these Western countries, especially the US and Australia, play the human rights card against other countries, they might as well examine their own conscience first, since both of them have committed war crimes overseas. They are in no way qualified to place sanctions on others under the name of human rights.

In comparison, China has never bombed other countries and it has not been involved in war in more than 30 years, let alone attempt to subvert others’ regimes. China focuses on economic cooperation and providing more efficient and cheaper options for others’ infrastructure construction. Still, the West has pinned China on the blacklist of human rights, as if their aggressive and subversive behavior is the real model of human rights.

Human rights have been turned into a tool for a small number of countries, even merely for certain political parties and individuals, to serve their own interests, Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told Global Times on Wednesday.

“They have distorted the concept of human rights,” he said, adding the ultimate victim will be “human rights” itself.

“Will people believe in human rights anymore? No, because after being overly abused, they will only deem it as a hypocritical concept,” Shen noted.

In short, for Western countries, human rights are not about bringing visible improvements in human being’s lives, but a tool for a small group of sovereign states to discipline others they disagree with.

This stems from arrogant Western egocentrism, which was established through their previous military and colonial hegemony. For this reason, the West sticks to the mentality that they are absolutely right because they are the strongest. This is also the case in the definition of human rights. They won’t bother to take a look at the divergences or hear others’ explanations.

“Western countries are simply seizing the power to define, and portray those they want to contain as human rights abusers, or worse, evil countries,” Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The Magnitsky Act is leverage for the West to safeguard their hegemony and self-interests. It’s just when they advocate human rights now, they seem more like a gangster explaining robbery philosophy. Be it the US, the EU, or Australia, they will eventually face up to the question – how long can they keep pretending to hold their head up high on the moral high ground?

It will depend on how many more deaths their citizens are willing to see. “The later they wake up, the higher price they will have to pay. And the price will be the lives of their own people, and the destiny of their countries,” Shen said.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. [email protected]

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