US violates international law

Updated: 2012-05-07 08:06

By Mo Nong (China Daily)

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There has been much speculation and rumor since Chinese citizen Chen Guangcheng entered the US Embassy in China. Some Western media have made improper comments and have suggested that the United States put forward certain requirements to China about Chen; that China made this and that agreement.

This is absurd. Chen is a Chinese citizen. If the US government follows international laws and the basic norms of relations among nations, it does not have the right to make any demands on the Chinese government.

In fact, the US government has realized it was at fault and dispatched officials to talk with the Chinese government.

Spokesman Liu Weimin of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made it clear that this issue can be quickly solved: "The US has expressed the importance it attaches to China's demands and concerns, and promised to take necessary measures to prevent similar incidents. The US side should reflect upon its policies and actions, and take concrete actions to maintain the larger interests of China-US relations."

Some people with ulterior motives have tried their best to play up this incident to destroy Sino-US relations, but the fourth China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue was held as scheduled, with Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, special representatives of Chinese President Hu Jintao, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, special representatives of US President Barack Obama, co-chairing the dialogue. Certainly the outside world is eager for China and the US to construct a win-win cooperative partnership of mutual respect and mutual benefit and wanted the two countries to use the dialogue to chart a path of harmonious coexistence.

Healthy ties between the world's largest developed country and the largest developing country are of such significance that they will not be held hostage by a single incident.

But no matter how hard the US tries to justify itself, it is an inescapable truth that the US government has made a mistake. It has broken international laws and Chinese laws and interfered in China's internal affairs. For this, the US owes an apology to China.

As Liu Weimin stressed: "It should be pointed out that the US Embassy in China took Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese citizen, into the Embassy via abnormal means, with which China expresses strong dissatisfaction."

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations expressly stipulates: "Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State."

It also states: "The premises of the mission must not be used in any manner incompatible with the functions of the mission as laid down in the present Convention or by other rules of general international law or by any special agreements in force between the sending and the receiving State."

Liu Weimin stressed: "The US Embassy in China has the obligation to observe relevant international laws and Chinese laws and should not engage in activities irrelevant to its duties. China can never accept the US move to interfere in China's internal affairs, and has demanded the US side apologize for that, probe into the incident thoroughly, deal with those responsible, and promise to prevent similar incidents."

Over the past three decades China's economy has developed rapidly and its society has made great progress. It took Western countries hundreds of years to get to this stage. So it is unavoidable that China is facing the same problems that occurred in Western countries during their development.

If people choose to turn a blind eye to China's development and irresponsibly criticize China, or even interfere in China's internal affairs, they are actually hindering China's development and we have to question their intentions.

China is a country under the rule of law. The legal rights of any citizen are protected by its Constitution and laws. Writing human rights protection into the Constitution, carrying out the National Human Rights Action Plan and amending the Criminal Procedure Law are important milestones that testify to China's progress in human rights.

China has reiterated many times that every citizen has the obligation to abide by the Constitution and laws. No matter who breaks the law, the Chinese authorities will investigate and bring those responsible to justice. No outside interference is acceptable in this process.

The author is a writer with China Daily.