Amid what can safely be referred to as diplomatic unease developing between Beijing and Monrovia, over the Liberian government’s uncomplimentary decision to have joined 42 other countries at the United Nations, to lash out at a nation that has for years now been its generous friend, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), over alleged wanton human rights abuses, and the Chinese government’s subsequent expression of disappointment with the Government of Liberia (GoL), for her involvement, it’s imperative the GoL and its chief architect for the country’s foreign policy decisions, Foreign Minister Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. pay heed to warnings recently sounded by the PRC regarding the matter.
On 21 October 2021, Liberia was among a broad group of 43 countries at the United Nations that in a declaration, strongly condemned the Chinese government over what the nations called widespread human rights violations by the PRC government against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, China.
The condemnation action is a one very unpopular to Beijing, and it is not taking it lying down, particularly singling out Liberia, to whose involvement the Chinese has since expressed shock and disappointment.
Predominantly western nations, the 43 countries including Liberia, the only African nation with existing diplomatic ties with China on the bandwagon, in a joint statement, relying on what they termed as credible-based reports, point to the existence of a large network of “political re-education” camps in China’s Xinjiang province, where signatories to the joint declaration stated that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained.
Signatories to the Joint Statement accused the Chinese government of imposing severe restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and the freedoms of movement, association and expression as well as on Uyghur culture, indicating that widespread surveillance disproportionately continues to target Uyghurs and members of other minorities, and noted that they have seen an increasing number of reports of widespread and systematic human rights violations, including reports documenting torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, forced sterilization, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced separation of children being carried out by China, adding that they are particularly concerned about the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Howbeit, China has since reacted to the unprecedented cross-regional coalition endorsing the global statement of condemnation, which is further proof that countries including Liberia are ignoring Beijing’s threats of retaliation against those that publicly raise concerns about Chinese government violations.
Additionally, the PRC government through a Chinese embassy spokesperson in Monrovia, succinctly emphasized recently that Xinjiang-related issues are China’s internal affairs that broke no interference by external forces emphasizing that “A few Western countries fabricated lies based on false information and continued to attack and discredit China on Xinjiang-related issues, interfering in China’s internal affairs under the guise of human rights so as to contain China’s development. China firmly opposes this.”
The spokesperson was quick to reveal that justice always prevails, adding that also on October 21, 62 developing and friendly countries, including many African countries, made a joint statement at the Third Committee by reiterating that issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet are internal affairs of China, and opposing politically motivated, unreasonable accusations against China based on false information, and interference in China’s internal affairs, using human rights as an excuse.
In addition, the spokesperson stated that unlike Liberia and the 42 other nations that signed the joint statement against China, around 30 countries have supported China through individual speeches or joint letters, with the spokesperson emphasizing that “This fully demonstrates that it is unpopular to politicize human rights issues. We trust more and more countries will choose to stand on the side of justice.”
For us, it’s more concerning, when China, a nation that has been and continues to be an unimaginably generous and good friend to our dear nation Liberia, a striving third-world country nursing the wounds of a decade-plus fratricidal war compounded by unspeakable and seemingly unending thievery in officialdom that is agonizingly underpinning the tiny country’s development drive in every sphere, begins to strongly express disappointment with the GoL over a decision that she’s clearly dissatisfied with.
Much more concerning is when the Chinese begin to termed as “unwarranted allegations against China,” a decision the Foreign Minister of Liberia, Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., as far as the architecture and tayloring of the country’s foreign policy decisions are concerned, is acquiesced to, but is neither saying nor doing nothing to remedy same – at least, not to our knowledge, as evidenced by the PRC government’s recent disapproval of the GoL’s action regarding this very sensitive diplomatic matter.
Of all 43 nations that affixed their signatures to the Joint Statement, China particularly pointed at Liberia, with China stating in no uncertain term that it is shocked and disappointed over the GoL’s involvement with the governments of the 42 other countries, with a Chinese embassy spokesperson expressing dismay over the decision of Liberia, which the Chinese consider a good friend and brother of the PRC.
We, therefore, are calling on Kemayah and all those clothed with the authority to make foreign policy decisions in the best interest of the country, to begin treating as a matter of urgency, the Chinese warning in which the spokesperson expressly stated that the government of the PRC is of the hope that the Liberian government “keeps her eyes open, discern the truth, and not be deceived” by those he claimed are with ulterior motives, and that the GoL stands on the side of what he called correctness and justice with concrete actions.”
The Chinese embassy spokesperson did not mince words but was as unequivocal as possible, when he reminded the Government of Liberia that China has always adhered to the concept of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith in its relations with Liberia, noting that the PRC expects nothing less of Liberia, but that the tiny West African nation would demonstrate wisdom and ability to meet China halfway and make joint efforts to promote the steady and healthy development of the bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership on the basis of mutual respect for both nation’s core interests.
Truth be told, history has taught us, as evidenced by countless tangible Chinese government aids to this country that Liberia stands to benefit the more in a continued and unrestrained relationship with China.
To this end, we enjoined Kemayah and the horde of others within the GoL that drive our country’s foreign policy to do all within their powers and do so very speedily too, for this matter that China is undoubtedly peeved with Liberia over can be put to bed very reconcilably – so that the idiom of biting the hand that feeds one, is never applicable to Liberia when retelling the tale regarding the Liberia-China relations.