China claps back at US over human rights as Biden faces two-front challenge from Beijing and Moscow – Times of India

WASHINGTON: China clapped back strongly at the United States over human rights issues on Thursday in a testy exchange that signaled growing tension between the two countries amid Washington’s deteriorating ties with Moscow.
Simmering differences between the two countries spilled out in the open during the first high-level meeting between their officials in Alaska when China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi pushed back against US meddling in China’s “internal affairs” and contested the US right to speak for other countries, while mocking US domestic stability and challenging America’s own record on human rights.
“We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image, and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world. Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States,” Yang said in extended opening remarks, adding that “the US does not represent the world, it only represents the government of the United States,” and China would not accept “the unwarranted accusations from the US side.”
The rebuke came after US secretary of state Antony Blinken criticized China’s actions in Hong Kong and Tibet; its handling of the Covid pandemic; and its treatment of Uighurs, among other issues.
“Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they are not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today,” Blinken said.
The Chinese side had ostensibly come prepared to give Washington a dressing down as it launched into a 15-minute opening diatribe in front of pool cameras, going beyond the two-minute opening statement that media was slotted to record before closed door talks.
That prompted Blinken to call back cameras for a rebuttal during which he invoked his calls with nearly 100 counterparts, from whom he was “hearing deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we’re reengaged with our allies and partners.”
“I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking,” he added.
Amid growing pushback from other countries about America’s own human rights record that has come to the fore with the growing violence against Asians and BlackLivesMatter movement, Blinken said a hallmark of US leadership at home is “a constant quest to, as we say, form a more perfect union. And that quest by definition, acknowledges our imperfections, acknowledges that we’re not perfect.”
“We make mistakes. We have reversals, we take steps back. But what we’ve done throughout our history is to confront those challenges — openly, publicly, transparently — not trying to ignore them, not trying to pretend they don’t exist. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s ugly. But each and every time we’ve come out stronger, better, more united, as a country,” Blinken explained.
Some US lawmakers have also criticised India over what they see as a deteriorating human rights and civil liberties in the country, but New Delhi’s response has been more circumspect given its own troubles with Beijing.
In his opening remarks, Blinken outlined the Biden administration’s commitment to leading with diplomacy to advance the interests of the United States and to strengthen the rules-based international order.
“That system is not an abstraction. It helps countries resolve differences peacefully, coordinate multilateral efforts effectively and participate in global commerce with the assurance that everyone is following the same rules. The alternative to a rules-based order is a world in which might makes right and winners take all. And that would be a far more violent and unstable world for all of us,” he warned.
The on-camera clash came on the heels of another public spat between Washington and Moscow after Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer” who has “no soul” and Putin responded with a “look in the mirror” retort while enigmatically wishing the US President “good health.”
Moscow also recalled its ambassador in Washington for consultation amid growing concern in diplomatic circles about the two-front confrontation that the Biden administration has taken on. Critics of the new administration, mainly supporters of former President Trump, gloated over the developments, claiming China was belligerent only because Washington is weak under a Democratic dispensation.

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