Xinhua Commentary: "Forced labor" is just another card Washington has played to contain China -Xinhua

Xinhua Commentary: "Forced labor" is just another card Washington has played to contain China

Source: Xinhua| 2024-05-28 16:07:00|Editor:

Editor's note:

There has been a fresh round of "forced labor" chorus against China in Washington lately. Against the geopolitical backdrop of U.S. viewing China as the biggest rival it would stop at nothing to contain, this is really nothing new or surprising. But it is still necessary to take a close look at the "forced labor" narrative promoted so hard by Washington and find out what it intends to achieve and what harm it has done to innocent people, businesses and the world at large. This week Xinhua is releasing a series of five commentaries in this regard, and the following is the first piece.

BEIJING, May 28 (Xinhua) -- "Forced labor" accusations against China have been chorusing around Washington once again, with the Biden administration adding 26 Chinese companies to its blacklist and the U.S. Senate accusing several multinationals of using product components allegedly involving "forced labor."

But this recent coordinated action has not caused much of a stir, as playing all sorts of cards to slander, discredit, disrupt and contain China -- seen as the United States' biggest competitor in the current century -- has become a common practice for the U.S. in recent years. The "forced labor" narrative sold so actively by the U.S. across the globe is obviously just another one of these cards.

With no solid evidence, the U.S. has charged Beijing with accusations of "forced labor" practices in its northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and hastily passed the "Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act," which absurdly demands companies investing and operating in Xinjiang prove their own innocence or face an import ban on all their products.

While multiple companies, including Volkswagen, have conducted independent investigations that have ruled out the existence of forced labor in their Xinjiang factories, U.S. politicians have turned a blind eye to such findings and continue to spread their rumors and lies.

Perhaps these politicians believe a smear campaign -- a tactic that has proved highly effective in various U.S. elections and has thus become deeply embedded in U.S. politics -- can also work well in international politics and major power competitions.

In fact, the "forced labor" accusation is almost nothing compared to another lie of the century about Xinjiang, fabricated by the United States' previous Trump administration: China has supposedly been committing a "genocide" against the Uygurs and other ethnic minorities in the region.

This sensational yet groundless "determination," announced in an extremely hasty manner by then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the eve of the 2021 presidential transition, simply ignored solid census data showing Xinjiang's Uygur population had more than tripled from 3.61 million in 1953 to 11.62 million in 2020.

With "genocide" and "forced labor" as supporting pillars, the Xinjiang card was successfully established for use against China. These accusations joined a long list of others, including those related to Taiwan, Xizang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea, to name just a few.

Through the introduction of the Xinjiang card, the U.S. seems to be hoping to kill three birds with one stone. First, it can tarnish China's international reputation and keep Beijing busy by forcing it to respond to external criticism and prove its own innocence. Second, it can create a chilling effect that could force foreign capital and companies out of China, or at least scare away potential newcomers. Third, it can deal a hard blow to certain sectors of the Chinese economy closely linked to Xinjiang and hurt the country's growth.

This explains why the Biden administration -- despite its continuous claims of seeking healthy competition with China and having no intention to halt China's economic development or contain China -- has not only fully inherited the previous administration's Xinjiang legacy, but is also playing the "forced labor" card even more frequently and aggressively.

But can a lie really become truth if it's repeated a thousand times? Or are a thousand more lies needed to hide just one?

It has been revealed that in order to solidify its Xinjiang narrative, the U.S. government has in recent years spent millions of dollars financing individuals, organizations and media outlets willing to help produce or spread lies and misinformation about Xinjiang. Washington has even -- both openly and secretly -- supported "Xinjiang independence" groups, many of which endorse extremist doctrines or have notorious terrorism records.

Playing dirty might bring some short-term benefits and give your opponent a headache, but you can't count on such tactics to secure an ultimate win. Whether they really believe in fair competition or just talk the talk, politicians in Washington had better bear two things in mind: For decades, no card played by foreign hands has worked to derail or simply slow down China's modernization drive, and international credibility and global clout are not inexhaustible, even for a country as powerful and manipulative as the United States.