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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times A lesson from Bachelet’s China visit

A lesson from Bachelet’s China visit

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When commenting on her decision to not seek a second term as UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet said it was unrelated to criticism she faced over her visit to China’s Xinjiang region.

“Having been president [of Chile] twice, I have received a lot of criticism in my life,” she said. “That’s not what makes me [come to] certain decisions.”

The comments clearly expose who Bachelet is.

She apparently failed to recognize the nature and weight of the mistake she made during her visit to China. Realistically, there are fundamental differences between critics in Chile and those commenting on the “Xinjiang issue.”

In Chile, people have the right to speak and assemble, while in Xinjiang, people have no rights and are facing elimination.

Uighur advocates and victims said that Bachelet should have acknowledged that a statement Chinese media quoted her as saying — “I admire China’s efforts and achievements in eradicating poverty, protecting human rights, and realizing economic and social development” — was incorrect after the publication of the “Xinjiang police files,” and after UN media and communications officer Elizabeth Throssell said it was not an accurate quote.

Bachelet should not have been so proud of her mistakes, but her later statement about critics implies the ideological roots of her mistake on the China visit.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady in a recent Wall Street Journal article wrote accurately on Bachelet.

“For those who fight for liberty in Cuba, the high commissioner’s performance was no surprise. During the Cold War, she was on the side of the Soviets, and she’s a lifelong admirer of the Cuban revolution. Let’s face it: human rights are not her thing,” O’Grady wrote.

All the ideologies in the world have emerged as a means of happiness — a road map to peace. It is normal for a person to follow an ideology that seems advantageous and to relinquish it when witnessing its disasters.

Such people could be called “believers,” but if a person continues down that road despite a dogma’s disastrous failings, it could be said that they are slaves to the ideology.

Such enslavement deprives followers of independent thinking. Of this, there are many examples to be seen from Bachelet.

In an official statement after her visit to China, Bachelet said: “I was able to interact with civil society organizations, academics, community and religious leaders, and others inside and outside the country.”

How can we imagine the existence of a civil society and trustworthy academics without the existence of assembly rights or media freedoms?

“Considering China’s significant role in multilateralism, the visit was an opportunity for me to also discuss several other regional and global issues, where China can use its leverage to bring political solutions,” she said in the statement.

How does Bachelet expect a political solution from a power that commits genocide, even if it is only an allegation?

The UN has issued a statement about China’s misquoting of Bachelet, yet she still believes in China’s sincerity.

“During my visit, the government assured me that the [Xinjiang] Vocational Education and Training Center system has been dismantled,” she said.

How can she be so sure that China is being truthful? How could all of this happen during one visit?

Such thinking happens when a person is in love with or enslaved by an ideology.

The core of Bachelet’s mistake is that she is not able to think independently due to her enslavement to communist ideology and unconditional affinity for its leaders.

Bachelet went to China with a heart that had once led her to live in East Germany from 1975 to 1979, which she described as a “beautiful experience.”

The situation in Xinjiang therefore appeared to her as normal, and she felt no need to criticize China. She met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) with the same mindset in which she commemorated former Cuban president Fidel Castro, whom she called “a leader for dignity and social justice in Cuba and Latin America.”

Regarding Xi, Bachelet in her statement indeed seemed to admire his efforts toward “poverty alleviation and eradication of extreme poverty.”

Bachelet’s joyful laugh as she met with Xi and her proud body language during her meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) showed that her lifelong dream of meeting with leaders in the strongest communist country in the world was realized. The China visit was the last pilgrimage of an old devotee of communism.

Ironically, Chinese leaders, including Xi, do not believe in communism in the same way that Bachelet once did. They believe in the power of money and ammunition. This is the root of Xi’s genocidal mindset.

Thus the lesson to be learned from Bachelet’s visit to China, especially from the statements about the Uighurs, is that slaves of ideology cannot represent freedom and can in no way protect the freedom of others.

Slaves to ideology, right or left, religious or atheist, should not be allowed to be UN high commissioner for human rights.

Kok Bayraq is a Uighur American.

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2022/06/18

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