In response to the Continuing the Discussion pieces in Issue 8:
In regards to a recent article dismissing American critiques of China’s issues with racism and human rights, some curious arguments were made.
It is dismaying that the article seems to say that there are two sides to racism, and the idea of non-discrimination and human rights is some sort of American imperialist construct. There are no two sides to racism.
And, as far as China’s supposed immunity to Western criticisms of its rights records: Mobutu did not get a pass because of Belgian colonial barbarism in the Congo, China does not get to act beyond reproach, marginalizing and abusing its own citizenry, because of a war they lost a century and a half ago.
The families 22 Uighurs gunned down, reportedly while praying, in Yilkiqi, Xinjiang this August, would likely disagree that foreign admonishment of widespread racism in China is hypocritical Western meddling.
Additionally, boiling American civil rights history down to enslavement of Africans and abuse of Native Americans glosses over the enormous sacrifices and continued hard work of those who fought for, created and instituted laws and protections that, while not perfect, have paved the way for enormous strides towards equality.
These lessons are not “neo-colonialism” but blueprints to improve the lives of millions, and create some kind of equality in society and rule of law, both of which are severely lacking in China today. Americans, in areas where they have met with some measure of successes, absolutely have business telling others what does and what doesn’t work.
Let us again conclude with a hypothetical: If British Abolitionists, citizens of an unabashedly imperialist nation, railed against the evils of slavery in the United States (spoiler alert: they did), who today would say they were wrong?
SAIS Washington ‘15