India, China treated differently by West on ethnic issue

By Global Times (16 December 2019) – Riots erupted in Assam and West Bengal of India amid the controversial amendment to an act. The Citizenship Amendment Act excluded Muslims who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to escape religious persecution before December 31, 2014 to get Indian citizenship.

The internet in Assam has broken down since Wednesday, and violence during protests has been spiraling.  

Religious conflicts have always been a thorny issue for India. There are a large number of Muslim migrants in the country’s northeastern region. The Muslim population originating from India has been rising rapidly. This has changed India’s demographics. Many Indian media believe that the administration of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi relies more on the support of Hindus, which intensifies religious frictions in the country.

But Modi is lucky that Western interference in India’s ethnic and religious affairs has been very limited. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom criticized India before the passage of the bill, concerned that the Indian government was introducing a “religious test” for citizenship.

A State Department spokesperson also urged India to protect the rights of its religious minorities. But these criticisms will not become a diplomatic crisis between New Delhi and Washington.

India is the country that most often cuts internet access to end chaos. It has had 134 of 196 documented shutdowns in 2018. However, we rarely see Western opinion hype it as a problem.

Governing India is difficult, given its complicated and large population. The West is not supposed to interfere. But what is abnormal is the gross interference of the West in China’s ethnic and religious affairs. Ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region enjoy preferential policies on giving birth and receiving education. Muslims in China have never been discriminated under the country’s policy and law. The region had no choice but to undertake some measures in a bid to end disturbance. 

China and India are treated differently not because India is a democratic country under the Western concept, nor is it because of the deep-rooted ideological prejudice of Westerners toward China. The West applies double standards on China because the US cannot accept the fact that China is rising.

The West is fixated on the human rights issue. For instance, it is concerned about the Rohingya issue in Myanmar and imposed pressure on Myanmar’s State Counselor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi. There was also collective criticism against Saudi authorities when a Saudi journalist was killed.

But these were not consistent pressure. Most of the times, Western non-government organizations just fanned the opinions and government did not come out to comment on the issue.

But in the case of Xinjiang, it is different. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo kept making a farce. The US Congress also passed the “Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019.” No country in the world has gained such “special treatment” as China.

Since China is clear about the double standards of the US and the West, it should stay easy and keep a rational mind toward the West’s human rights attack on China to minimize its negative impact.  

The West attacks China’s human rights cause not because China does not do well but because China has done exceedingly well in its comprehensive development. The Chinese people must be aware of this and let more people across the world understand it.

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