In response to increasing criticism by developed countries over its treatment of Uyghur minorities of the Xianjing region, China has suddenly become vocal on human rights abuses, deploying a huge amount of resources in its attempt to control the international narrative and divert attention from the accusations.
In the past few weeks, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson has been giving statements and tweeting in English slamming Australia, EU, Canada and the US for past and present human rights problems, a clear departure from Beijing’s once touted approach of ‘Non-interference’. This has been seen as a deflection tactic with Government Spokesperson Huachunying recently firing off several tweets questioning Australia over its crimes in Afghanistan.
Attacking the USA, she tweeted that America needs to ensure Asian Americans are not subjected to hate crimes. And the Communist Party’s most nationalistic tabloid, the Global Times, has tweeted out statements accusing the EU of historical racism, gender inequality and curtailing migrant’s rights.
China’s aim is not to persuade the West to change its approach towards human rights but to deflect the attention from its crimes. The barbs by Chinese spokesperson were also important for pacifying its public at home. The Chinese people see it as the country standing up to the West. China’s actions during the Alaskan meet, when China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi chided US counterparts in face-to-face talks about racism, echoed a similar sentiment towards progressive politics.
Government-owned media outlets in China have also started calling Australia and its allies the axis of White supremacy. This is a part of China’s diplomatic performance, to use other countries’ history to attack them. This is ridiculous with China being one of those countries which have many skeletons in its closets.
China never reflected on the Cultural Revolution that left thousands of people dead or the Tiananmen Square massacre. On the other hand, the Chinese outlet Global Times is busy praising China’s wolf warrior diplomacy while at the same time claiming that the term is a racist western concept.
This habit of appealing to progressive political causes abroad isn’t new. Xi Jinping believes this hyper-nationalistic path of non-compromise is the way forward. Reportedly, he has ordered diplomats to strengthen their fighting spirit, encouraging Chinese ambassadors and consulates around the world to open accounts on platforms Chinese citizens are blocked from using at home to circulate Beijing’s talking points.