Xi Jinping poses new threat to the World Order

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By Deepa Kaushiki

New Delhi, October 17: At the ongoing Communist Party of China’s (20th) National Congress, President Xi Jinping is anticipated to be confirmed for a third term as CCP General Secretary. Nonetheless, the new tenure shall just not make Xi as China’s leader for the next five year only but will also solidify his human rights abuse nationwide, influencing the rest of the world too.

In his consecutive ten years tenure, Xi has attacked civil society in a substantial manner. “The governments that have been battling against China’s abusive policies need to keep the momentum for the coming years as well,” said Sophie Richardson, China Director at Human Rights Watch.

The Chinese government stepped up its crackdown on “unpatriotic” speech in 2021 and tightened ideological control. The administration introduced a law in March for those people who peacefully criticised the administration, in which critics of mismanagement of the Covid-19 outbreak, were nevertheless imprisoned or subjected to legal action by the authorities. Further, as soon as the effective Covid-19 treatments and vaccines became available, the Chinese government increased its Covid-19 restrictions, imposing recurrent, unpredictable lockdowns on hundreds of millions of people under its abusive “Zero-Covid” policy.

People’s access to food, medical care, and other basics of life has been hampered by the severe regulations. Unknown numbers of persons lost their lives as a result of receiving improper care for illnesses. Some people have committed suicide by jumping from residential structures or mass quarantine areas. This is an important illustration of the impact of authoritarian rule on human rights.

The last two terms of the Xi have also seen severe restriction of freedom of speech, deployment of mass surveillance and minority oppression. Notably, he bore primary responsibility for what it said was genocide, crimes against humanity and torture of Uyghurs and other minorities community presiding in Xinjiang region. Further, under his term, several activists, lawyers, journalist, writers, publishers, scholars have been rounded up and imprisoned.

Many of those in custody have also made confessional appearances on state television before being put on trial. An extensive list of examples includes how the “Feminist Five,” a group of women who were detained in 2015 for just criticising the nation’s sexual harassment issue, were treated.

In China, the number of independent journalists has sharply reduced. Foreign journalists have been forced out, either because their visas were not extended or because they could no longer work in a setting where information access is strictly regulated. Also, several independent Chinese news websites have been shut down, while foreign news websites have been blacklisted. For instance, some of China’s largest web portals news services, including Sina’s News Geek, Sohu’s Click Today, and NetEase’s Signpost, were all shut down in 2016 for broadcasting unofficial reports rather than official pronouncements.

With regards to keeping his authoritarian rule untouched, Xi has even manifested a Constitutional change in 2018 that removed the previous two-term cap on the presidency. Since 2017, he has been consolidating and concentrating his power, particularly which demonstrates him as “a cornerstone of the party and state Constitutions”. Also, he himself holds simultaneous authority over the Party, Military, and State.

The Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International said, that the announcement of Xi Jinping’s third term will be a worrying development for everyone who has been affected by the Chinese government’s persecution, including the millions of Chinese civilians who have endured severe human rights violations under his rule. The widespread arbitrary detentions, a brutal national assault on free speech and association, crimes against minorities in the Xinjiang province, and a significant increase of repression in Hong Kong have all been hallmarks of President Xi’s 10 years in office.

He further mentioned that “under Xi’s leadership, the government’s policies and behaviours endanger human rights everywhere. From the government’s efforts to redefine what it means to be a human being to its campaign to silence Uyghurs and enforcing their forced return to other countries.”

Henceforth, the international community must step up efforts to guarantee the next five years are different as Chinese activists, human rights attorneys, independent journalists, and other human rights advocates brace themselves for more of the same – or worse. There is no justification for not holding the Chinese government accountable for crimes done in President Xi’s name.

(Author is a researcher at Public Policy Research Centre)

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