The general debate part of the United Nations General Assembly’s 74th Session will be held soon.* This follows U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting met with the five foreign ministers from Central Asia on Sept. 22, when he slandered China’s Xinjiang policies and accused China of trying to eliminate the Uighur religion and culture, requesting that all countries in the world “resist China's demands to repatriate the Uighurs.” In addition, the U.S. also threatened to have President Donald Trump mention the Xinjiang issue during U.N. General Assembly’s general debate.
Because the U.N. General Assembly convenes in New York, American political elites such as Secretary Pompeo seem to consider the United Nations their own personal business. They think that no matter what they say, the U.N. General Assembly will be openly receptive. Pompeo likely forgets that while there are only 22 Western countries supporting the United States, there are at least 51 countries that openly support China’s Xinjiang policies. Not only is the number of countries that side with China more than twice the number of those that support the U.S., but the population of the latter countries is several times the population of the former. Therefore, it is accurate to say that the faction headed by the United States on the Xinjiang issue is one small group among the United Nations.
The Washington elites arrogantly claim that their views on human rights are universal. They refuse to admit that their views on human rights create complex friction between the Western world and the diversified reality of the rest of the world, with devastating side effects. Additionally, it is difficult to watch their political posturing as the United States and the West urgently promote their values to the world. When Pompeo yelled about the Xinjiang issue, he embodied the image seen by most people in the international community: a narrow-minded Western centralist, an arrogant interventionist.
The five Central Asian countries are close to Xinjiang and are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The original purpose of the SCO is to oppose terrorism and extremism, and this has been highly compatible with the central task of governing Xinjiang for quite some time. The five foreign ministers were polite at the meeting, but if Secretary Pompeo didn’t lack the political understanding he should possess, he would have been able to surmise how much the five foreign ministers hate him and his personal narrative.
The United Nations is not a Western organization and is not obligated to promote and expand the interests of the United States. The United States provided the United Nations with a venue and pays higher membership dues than other countries, but the United States has received sufficient benefits from being a permanent meeting place for the U.N. General Assembly. If Washington feels wronged, it can have the United Nations leave the United States; but the United Nations certainly does not owe the United States anything.
The United Nations is not something for the United States to arrogantly order around, nor is it a place where the West can decide matters on its own. There is absolutely no reason for the U.N. Charter and its observance to be dominated by the provisions of the U.S. Constitution and by U.S. domestic interests.
One of the themes of this session of the U.N. General Assembly is climate action. It should be pointed out at this meeting that the United States is a poor student of global climate action. Washington will use the topic of Xinjiang to distract the international community and divert international public opinion away from this reality.
We also hope that the opinion of the European public will not follow Pompeo’s lead. Climate action is a shared human issue to which European countries are committed. Washington has seriously betrayed and damaged Europe on this issue. If European countries are guided by the U.S. to the Xinjiang issue at this U.N. General Assembly, it will mean Washington can easily fool Europe into believing its ideas, and even get them to voluntarily promote the ideas themselves.
The situation in Xinjiang is not the competition of vague ideas: If you lose, I will win. There are more than 20 million people from various ethnicities in Xinjiang, and it is a place where there is room for improvement in security, welfare and various living conditions. When there is a proliferation of terrorism and extremism and people’s normal lives are seriously damaged, restoring order in Xinjiang is the first priority when it comes to human rights. In calling for human rights, the accusations of some in the United States and the West deviate from such human rights, but most countries are keeping a sharp eye on the situation.
For this reason, although the United States and a few Western countries have tried their best, they have still been unable to pull most other countries into their camp when it comes to attacking China's Xinjiang policies. If this is a moral chess game, then the U.S. and the West are encircled by a larger moral camp beyond their attack on Xinjiang policy, and the United States and other Western countries will lose this moral battle.
Don't pretend, Pompeo. Looking into the mirror of international morality, you should be able to see that the real image of the United States looks unrefined.
*Editor’s note: The 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly took place between Sept. 17, 2019 and Sept. 30, 2019.