By: Jianli Yang
Speech at Virtual Side-Event Paralleling the 45th UNHRC Session “China’s Weapons of Mass-Subjugation: Surveillance, Camp and Cultural Genocide” hosted by Tibetan Office in Geneva on September 29, 2020
Human rights situation under China has reached its worst in 30 years.
My fellow panelists have just shared with you the atrocities that the CCP is perpetrating on their respective groups. The 21st century concentration camps, forced labors, Orwellian massive surveillance on people; And there is cultural genocide of the Uyghurs and Tibetans and this is expanding to those living in Inner Mongolia.
There is sinicization of religions, annihilation of civil society, political cultural genocide on the people of Hong Kong, military intimidation to the democratic Taiwan. And the list goes on. All horror stories.
These stories are making international headlines and America and other democracies are taking ever stronger measures to respond, which is good. But it is not enough.
We still need to ask the question harder, how we can help those inside to create space needed to build a viable opposition. I believe that this is necessary in order to change conditions for the better.
Opportunities often present themselves as small cracks in China’s dictatorial regime. We must unite to do things aiming to creating and enlarging and opening divisions in the CCP regime.
To that end, today, instead of repeating the stories we are familiar with, I would like to propose three joint actions. In short, they are:
1. Advocate for the world democracies to come together to hold the CCP accountable for Covid-19
2. Advocate for the democracies to establish formal diplomatic ties with the Democratic Taiwan.
3. Advocate for a Human Rights NATO of the world democracies.
Let me explain each with some more details:
1. Advocate for world democracies to come together to hold the CCP accountable for Covid-19
Citizen Power Initiatives for China produced a comprehensive report called “Examining China’s Response to the Covid-19 Outbreak (September 2019-January 2020): The Catastrophe That Could Have Been Avoided” which documents how the CCP responded to the virus, especially day-by-day in the critical month between December 26, 2019 and January 25, 2020.
Six key conclusions have emerged in the course of this research:
*The Covid-19 epidemic could have been stopped in its early state.
*The top priority of the Chinese Communist party was to maintain social stability ” i.e., its own control “at all costs.
*The Chinese Government deliberately suppressed information about the source and extent of the outbreak.
*The Chinese Government deliberately downplayed the threat of the epidemic.
*The Chinese Government deliberately misled the international community.
*Chinese President Xi Jinping bears ultimate responsibility for ineptly handling the epidemic.
There are 4 main reasons why the world must hold the CCP accountable for Covid-19 whose death toll has just passed one million yesterday.
2. Future of global governance (that has a lot to do with human rights issues),
3. Protecting against the Next Deadly Pathogen,
4. Helping crack open the CCP regime.
I hope I will have time in Q&A to elaborate on each of them.
2. Advocate for democratic nations to establish formal diplomatic ties with Democratic Taiwan. We need to strengthen Taiwan.
Taiwan is a shining democracy which deserves international recognition. In responding to Covid-19 and helping others in this crisis, Taiwan has shown the world it is a responsible, capable and trustworthy partner.
Democracies must let the CCP, and other world dictators for that matter, understand civilization and Not barbarism will prevail.
The strategy has a great potential to help split the CCP leadership, setting in motion a big internal fight in the Party, set a wedge between the Chinese hyper nationalists and the CCP leader, and embolden our liberal democratic colleagues in China including Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians and citizens of Hong Kong.
I say this based on my understanding of China’s politics as it is deeply rooted in the Chinese traditional world view “middle kingdom”, “imperial heaven”. No ruler can afford to lose Taiwan.
3. And thirdly, Advocate for a Human Rights NATO.
I think you all agree with me that democracies need to unite and confront China together on human rights more effectively and strongly.
A new idea would be to advocate for democratic nations to pull together and form a treaty-based Human Rights NATO!
A Human Rights NATO that will engage in both collective confrontation and collective defense on issues pertaining to human rights.
Collective confrontation has three levels:
1) Each signatory country implements a Human Rights Act, linking human rights to all fields of its diplomatic ties with dictatorships, including regular assessments and executive reports to its parliament or congress.
2) Member states collectively confront human rights violators.
3) Member states agree unified means of dealing with individual instances of human rights violations, via economic sanctions, boycotting international cultural events (exchanges, Games, etc.), and so on.
Collective Defense would help break the dilemma of collective action that all democracies have been so far trapped in. Such an accord is important for everyone, especially smaller countries, because in the past, states such as China have retaliated or threatened to retaliate against those that have confronted it for its human rights abuses. The treaty must be such that, if a member state of the treaty organization is retaliated against economically by an undemocratic country for standing up for democratic principles, all other democracies in the treaty agree to come to its defense, helping to ease its economic pain.
At the moment, there is a lot of talk of democracy being “on recess.” If this is true, one of the major reasons is because democratic values routinely give way to economic interests.
A NATO for human rights would help turn this trend around; it would preserve democratic values while protecting economic interests.
These ideas I believe are concepts which translate into effective actions.
China thinks not in days, weeks or years but in tens of years, hundreds of years. We need to do the same in our campaign but at the same time put all our energies into producing cracks in CCP and start breaking up their longer-term game and dream of Chinese Communist Empire.