“The American side is not in a position to lecture China on democracy and human rights,” Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng told Sherman, adding that the United States was formerly “engaged in genocide against Native Americans.
China is yet to release details of Wang’s meeting with Sherman, which took place at a resort modeled after ancient Chinese architecture in Tianjin, a coastal city not far from Beijing.
U.S. attempts to separate climate change cooperation from economic competition or human rights critics would not work, Chinese officials say.
“The Chinese look at things with their eyes wide open. They see the competitive, collaborative and accusatory rhetoric as a thinly veiled attempt to contain and suppress China, ”Xie said. “They feel the emphasis is really on the adversarial aspect.”
“US policy seems to demand cooperation when it wants something from China; decoupling, cutting supplies, blocking or sanctioning China when it considers it has an advantage; and resorting to conflict and confrontation at all costs, ”Xie said.
The strong response came despite Sherman’s attempt to reassure his Chinese interlocutors that the United States was trying to prevent the confrontation.
“Deputy Secretary and State Councilor Wang had a frank and open discussion on a series of issues, demonstrating the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between our two countries,” said the spokesperson for the Department of Ned Price state in a press release. “They discussed ways to define the conditions for responsible management of US-China relations. The Deputy Secretary stressed that the United States welcomes the strong competition between our countries – and that we intend to continue to strengthen our own competitiveness – but that we are not seeking to enter into conflict with the PRC.
Sherman raised several human rights issues with Wang, according to Price. These included Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, as well as “concerns about Beijing’s conduct in cyberspace; across the Taiwan Strait; and in the East and South China Seas.
She also raised the sensitive issue of the World Health Organization’s ongoing investigation into the origin of Covid-19, which Beijing is blocking for reasons of politicization and stigma.