Here We Go Again: Another Mess with China, Russia, and the U.N.

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Posted: May 07, 2021 10:15 PM
Here We Go Again: Another Mess with China, Russia, and the U.N.

Source: State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha

On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken went before the United Nations for a Security Council briefing on "Upholding multilateralism and the UN-centered international system." Our pals China and Russia made remarks too, so you know it was going to be memorable. 

The department was all about promoting the virtual briefing on Twitter.

Some notable parts of Sec. Blinken's remarks noted how he addressed China by name, "start[ing] by thanking China and Foreign Minister Wang for initiating this critical discussion on the future of the United Nations and the international order." 

The most direct issue the secretary addressed was the "climate crisis." 

Sec. Blinken did speak about how "human rights and dignity must stay at the core of the international order," and he did take a swipe at China. "Asserting domestic jurisdiction doesn’t give any state a blank check to enslave, torture, disappear, ethnically cleanse their people, or violate their human rights in any other way," he said, without naming names.

He also followed the likes of U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and President Joe Biden in lamenting the sins of our country, right after making a good point:

When UN member-states – particularly permanent members of the Security Council – flout these rules and block attempts to hold accountable those who violate international law, it sends the message that others can break those rules with impunity.

All of us must accept the scrutiny, however difficult, that comes with the commitments we have freely made.  That includes the United States.

I am sure China has very selective hearing, in that they will only hear that last part. 

Sec. Blinken then went on to take another thinly veiled swipe, this time at the Trump administration, and, again, at our country:

I know that some of our actions in recent years have undermined the rules-based order and led others to question whether we are still committed to it.  Rather than take our word for it, we ask the world to judge our commitment by our actions.

Under the Biden-Harris administration, the United States has already re-engaged vigorously in multilateral institutions.  We have rejoined the Paris climate accord, recommitted to the World Health Organization, and we’re seeking to rejoin the Human Rights Council.  We’re engaged in diplomacy to return to mutual compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime.  We are by far the largest contributor to COVAX, the best vehicle for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and we’re making tens of millions of doses available to others without political considerations.

We’re also taking steps, with great humility, to address the inequities and injustices in our own democracy.  We do so openly and transparently for people around the world to see, even when it’s ugly, even when it’s painful.  And we will emerge stronger and better for doing so.

Something tells me China will not have such "great humility."

One ake on the response came from by Joel Gehrke, who wrote for the Washington Examiner that "China and Russia ambush Blinken at UN Security Council." Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, speaking after Sec. Blinken pointed out that "I’m sure that all countries would be glad to see the United States changing course and make a real contribution to practicing multilateralism." 

He even took a moment to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP. "The U.N. needs to keep pace with the times," Wang Yi also said. "These five decades have witnessed China's active practice of multilateralism, its full participation and support for the cause of the U.N., and its continuous contributions to world peace and development."

Gehrke pointed out that Russia treated us no better:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov amplified the Chinese position with more explicit attacks on the U.S.

“Leading Western countries are now trying to roll back the process of establishing a multipolar, polycentric world and trying to restrain the course of history,” Lavrov said, before complaining about the “alliance of democracies” that President Joe Biden intends to host. “The American administration is calling for creating a new special interests club on an openly ideologized basis, [which] could further exacerbate international tension and draw dividing lines in the world.”

Before the remarks, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin gave a press conference, during which he was asked by the Uyghurs:

His response was quite telling:

I would like to emphasize once again that the issues Xinjiang face are about terrorism and separatism, not about ethnicity, religion or human rights.

The US House Foreign Affairs Committee held this hearing in absence of any factual basis with the intention to justify its interference in China's internal affairs based on presumption of guilt. The witnesses present at the hearing were either "Xinjiang independence" separatists, or so-called "survivors" who had been found to be habitually telling lies with contradictory statements, or those full of prejudice against China's Xinjiang policy. With participants as such, this hearing has little chance to be objective and fair, but will only be a clumsy anti-China farce.

As a matter of fact, in order to help the American people understand the real situation in Xinjiang, the Chinese Embassy in the US held the "Xinjiang is A Wonderful Land" Online Meeting on May 6. At the meeting, leading officials of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Xinjiang Urghur Autonomous Region, the trainees taking courses at vocational education and training centers and local residents shared their daily life and work, and had discussions with the American participants. The Chinese side had extended invitation to US lawmakers and their aides to join the video conference, but none of them showed up, even though these people keep talking about human rights in Xinjiang. This fully exposes their hypocrisy and ulterior motives in hyping up Xinjiang-related issues. They dare not face the local government officials and local residents who understand the real situation best, but choose to believe the lies fabricated by a few institutions and individuals to tarnish the human rights situation in Xinjiang.

We hope the US side will acknowledge Xinjiang's development and progress as an objective fact, not be blinded by the lies and disinformation concocted by anti-China forces, stop denigrating China's ethnic and religious policies, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of the so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang.

That's some CCP propaganda on display, all right.