US Uyghur bill grossly violates international law

Haba River, Xinjiang. (Photo by Wu Yibing from People’s Daily)

By Zhu Weinian

The US House of Representatives just passed the “Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019.” This bill ignores the stable and harmonious development in Xinjiang, slanders China’s efforts in de-radicalization and counter-terrorism, viciously attacks the Chinese government’s Xinjiang policy, and deliberately smears the human rights condition in Xinjiang. It grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs and seriously violates international law and basic norms governing international relations, revealing the US’ double standards and hypocritical hegemonic logic. The act is essentially an abuse of long-arm jurisdiction and a practice of hegemony in the name of justice.

The Facts and China’s Position on China-US Trade Friction, a white paper issued by The State Council Information Office of China states that “‘long-arm jurisdiction’ refers to the practice of extending one’s tentacles beyond one’s borders and exercising jurisdiction over foreign entities based on one’s domestic laws. In recent years, the US has been extending its ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ to wider areas including financial investment, anti-monopoly, export control and cybersecurity. In international affairs, the US has frequently requested entities or individuals of other countries to obey US domestic laws; otherwise they may face US civil, criminal or trade sanctions at any time.”

“Long-arm jurisdiction” has become a hegemonic tool for the US to suppress foreign entities, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs and even subvert other countries’ governments. Such power politics, under the guise of domestic “legal compliance” and “rules to follow,” provides a legal basis for the US to meddle in other countries and compels US domestic law enforcement. Since the US Department of Commerce sanctioned 28 Chinese entities by putting them on the “entities list” and the US House of Representatives passed the “Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019,” Washington has repeatedly engaged in long-arm hegemony, fully exposing its malicious intention to contain and split China under the pretext of the so-called “Xinjiang issue.”

Under the pretext of “America First,” the US grants extraterritorial effect to domestic laws without any multilateral authorization. This has become a common tactic of the US to manipulate international politics and desecrate sovereign states by means of “long-arm jurisdiction,” which completely deviates from justice and international morality.

Since the principle of state sovereignty is at the core of all principles of international law, the essence of international law is, in a sense, a legal system based on equality, mutual benefit and mutual cooperation among sovereigns in the international community. However, power politics pursued by the US has completely neglected the sovereignty of other countries. The US is not so much a participant as a spoiler.

The fact that the US House of Representatives passed the Xinjiang-related bill and insisted on “long-arm jurisdiction,” regardless of China’s complete sovereignty over Xinjiang, has severely violated the principles and rules in international law. For instance, according to Article 2 in the Charter of the United Nations, “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.” “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.” In the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, “No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State.”

International law and basic norms governing international relations require all countries, including economically and militarily powerful ones, to fulfill their international obligations in accordance with the law, conduct international cooperation with integrity and equality to safeguard the common and fundamental interests of all mankind. Therefore, the development of egoism and hegemonism will inevitably stifle the vitality of international law and be universally rejected by the international community.

Sino-US relations are facing some difficulties and challenges. Some politicians and forces in the US adhere to the Cold War mentality, believe in zero-sum game and are full of ideological prejudice. They attempt to sow discord among various ethnic groups in Xinjiang and send wrong signals to the violent and terrorist forces to undermine prosperity and stability in Xinjiang and contain China’s peaceful growth. The Xinjiang-related bill passed by the US Congress has no basis in fact, and even less in morality, for Xinjiang has long been an inseparable part of Chinese territory, concerning China’s core interests. Only by eliminating violence and terrorism can Xinjiang develop and human rights be guaranteed.

Xinjiang-related issues are by no means about human rights, ethnicity or religion, but about the fight against separatism and terrorism. The fight against terrorism and extremism sticks to the principles of rule of law and conforms to the purposes and principles of the United Nations in combating terrorism and safeguarding basic human rights. The government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region lawfully fought violent and terrorist attacks while addressing the root causes. Xinjiang is witnessing sound economic growth, harmony among different ethnic groups and social stability now. Terrorist attacks have been avoided in the past three years. Those endeavors are endorsed by all 25 million people of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang. More than 1,000 representatives have visited Xinjiang in more than 70 groups, including officials from various countries and regions spanning international organizations and media outlets. They all praised Xinjiang for harmonious, stable, and prosperous development.

A just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust cause finds little support. Nowadays, peace and development are an irreversible trend of the times. Principles of international law, such as sovereign equality and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, have become universal norms. Accordingly, every time the “long arm” of the US acts recklessly, it is overdrawing and eroding its credibility, accelerating the decline of the US. Their abuse and preference for “long-arm jurisdiction” will only make Xinjiang people more united and develop Xinjiang into a better place.

The author is from Xinjiang Development Research Center.

Source:Global Times