Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) securing a third term as Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader and its ramifications on human rights loomed large at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Taipei yesterday, with rights advocates urging governments around the world to stop a policy of appeasement that has fostered the growth of the totalitarian regime.
“The world has been conducting a wrong policy of appeasement in the past few decades, which has nurtured and helped China grow into what it is today,” said Wuer Kaixi, Chinese rights campaigner and general secretary of Taiwan’s Parliamentary Human Rights Commission.
“The world watched as China became one of the biggest threats to modern civilization, and I blame this largely on the Western democracies, especially the United States,” he said.
Photo: Tsung Chang-chin, Taipei Times
“In my speech at the 30th commemoration of the June 4 [Tiananmen] massacre in the US capital, I pointed out how the US-led Western democracies betrayed us by upholding an appeasement policy and urged them to acknowledge that mistake,” he said.
“It took the brave men and women in Hong Kong, the sacrifices of the Uighur people and the COVID-19 pandemic for the US government to come around and say that we need to change our China policy. US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is an indication of that change, which is to shift from economic engagement with China to direct confrontation,” he said.
Asked about EU-China relations after China’s 20th National Congress, Wuer Kaixi said that “the EU is one step behind.”
“The US knows that the change will be costly and tries to make the transition as smooth as possible. It is doing its best to convince its allies to do the same,” he said.
“Nobody said that it would not cost them anything. You [the EU] have depended on China’s market for a long time. It will cost you to change, but it will cost you more if you do not. Follow the US in making the shift, or you will find yourself in an economic dilemma,” he added.
Hong Kong democracy campaigner Nathan Law (羅冠聰) said that German Chancellor Olaf Sholz’s visit to China, which starts today, would only embolden the dictatorship.
“It is ridiculous for the German chancellor to meet with Xi Jinping at this time after he has amassed so much power and expressed support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Law said. “I believe that it undermines the unity of Western countries in countering Russian aggression and dictatorship. It is crucial that [world leaders] do not meet with Xi Jinping nor greet him or be in his presence as he would wear it as a badge of honor to promote his success in these frontiers.”
The EU should reduce its reliance on China and form a strong alliance with like-minded allies in the free world, as well as sanction more Chinese and Hong Kong officials for human rights violations in Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang, he added.
On China’s military aggression toward Taiwan, Wuer Kaixi said that Xi has successfully consolidated his power after the National Congress, elimininating the few dissidents within the CCP and made the party an even greater one-man show.
However, this does not necessarily mean that China will definitely use force to unify Taiwan, he said.
“I believe that using force to achieve unification is not necessarily consistent with the CCP’s best interests as the ruler of China. However, constantly threatening that it could unify Taiwan by taking military action is consistent with the CCP’s best interests,” he said.
“In the past 30 years, the CCP has evolved into a criminal cohort that focuses on plundering resources and wealth around the globe. The only difference between the CCP and a den of thieves is its sheer size,” he said.
“Taiwan should repeatedly send a strong message to China that “I am not afraid of you,” only then will China consider whether it is in its best interest to resort to military action,” he said.
On Beijing’s continual persecution of Uighurs, Wuer Kaixi said that as a totalitarian regime, China would continue its genocide of Uighurs.
“Unless the world comes around and shifts from a policy of strategic ambiguity into deterrence and clarity, and pushes China to change, I am afraid that the Uighur people would experience even more difficult years ahead. It would be our shame that we in the 21st century are allowing a totalitarian regime to lock up millions of people because of their religion and ethnicity,” he said.
Thai opposition leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said that Bangkok in 2015 sent 100 Uighurs back to China, despite pleas from non-governmental organizations to let them resettle elsewhere.
The Thai government also joined Beijing in not condemning Russia for invading Ukraine at a recent UN meeting, he said.
These show China’s growing influence among Southeast Asian countries, he said.
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