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March 13, 2020

China’s Rampant Human-Rights Abuses

The State Department’s latest report nails Beijing’s taskmasters for their tyranny.

It’s a litany that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the “stain of the century,” so it was no surprise that the Chinese government was once again called on the carpet by the recent release of the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

In his remarks announcing the latest report, Pompeo singled out China, as well as Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba. In China’s case, Pompeo noted the ubiquitous use of surveillance on citizens, harsh treatment of dissidents, and imprisonment of religious minorities such as the Uyghurs. (It’s also been reported that the Uyghurs are unwillingly filling in for workers too sick from the Wuhan coronavirus to work in factories such as those owned by Apple and Nike.)

Last year’s unrest in Hong Kong also drew the attention of the State Department, which categorized problems in nearly 200 nations and territories around the globe in its 2019 Country Report. Like those of its cousins on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong’s issues included police brutality and restrictions on political participation. Predictably, government puppets in Hong Kong countered that they were only responding to an “unprecedented” situation that “seriously endangered people’s personal safety, public order, and security.” This aligns neatly with Beijing’s longstanding reaction to American reporting on its human-rights abuses — a reaction that typically includes both denial and misdirection to claims of American poverty, homelessness, and rampant imprisonment.

The brutal Chinese regime does have some allies, though. Amnesty International director Tarah Demant called the latest State Department report “politically motivated,” telling the Trump-hating Washington Post, “I don’t remember the Obama or Bush administration using this opportunity to make political attacks at their perceived political adversaries. That does not help improve the human rights situation on the ground in China and Iran, where Amnesty International has real human rights concerns.”

Got that? The human-rights abuses are very real, but let’s not talk about them.

Another powerful ally for China comes in the person of former Vice President and presumptive Democrat Party presidential nominee Joe Biden. Even setting aside his son Hunter’s various Chinese business interests over the years, Biden’s record on China is worrisome. We were reminded of this by Sen. Tom Cotton, whose National Review op-ed this week contended, “Biden’s announcement of his campaign alone was enough to encourage Beijing suddenly to take a harder line on trade negotiations with the Trump administration. As Biden’s star seemed to fade, China suddenly got easier to deal with, striking a ‘Phase 1’ deal with us in January.”

“It’s a safe prediction that they are about to take a tougher line again,” added Cotton, who called Biden “China’s choice for President.”

Fully half of our nation’s people are too young to remember the iconic image of a lone human-rights protester in Tiananmen Square facing down a column of Chinese tanks. Since that 1989 massacre of reform-minded young people, China has, by hook and by crook, grown its economic powerhouse thanks in large part to American manufacturing that fled our shores, enticed by the promise of cheap labor and a huge new market.

But while the ChiComs gladly took our money, they didn’t embrace our deeply held belief in the rights of man. For that, many millions of their citizens suffer merely for having been born Chinese. The ChiComs’ record of abuse deserves our continued condemnation, and those who risk everything to expose it deserve our unending admiration.

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