US must uphold standards it expects of others: SCMP
Updated: 2015-09-25 19:26
Professor Xi Xiaoxing, a Chinese American scientist who was falsely accused of selling sensitive American defense technology to China, speaks at a press conference in Washington. [Photo/provided for chinadaily.com.cn]
The US should respect human rights and the rule of law at home before claiming any high moral ground in this regard over other countries, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) said in an editorial on Wednesday.
The comment came after the US Justice Department dropped charges against Professor Xi Xiaoxing, a Chinese American scientist who was falsely accused of selling sensitive American defense technology to China.
"The United States has won respect around the world for its defense of human rights. But it is a record that can only be sustained by a credible claim to the high moral ground," the newspaper said.
The case against Sherry Chen, a Chinese American hydrologist with the US National Weather Service in Ohio, was also dropped earlier this year.
She was arrested in October and accused of stealing passwords to download information about America's dams and lying about meeting Chinese officials.
The two cases have raised concerns over US investigators' recklessness and prejudice in targeting innocent people, the SCMP said.
"To the dismay of America's friends," the country's claim to the high moral ground of human rights has been seriously eroded by rights abuses such as "prolonged detention and mistreatment of terrorist suspects," it said.
Although charges against both Chinese Americans have been dropped, the trauma and financial burden generated by the ordeals continue to haunt them.
"My mother in China is crying all day and I didn't go to the grocery store for one month," Chen said at a press conference last week, her voice trembling and tears in her eyes.
Xi told reporters at the conference that the financial burden of the legal fees is onerous as it could be over $250,000.
Another controversy looms over whether or not the incidents can be seen as racial profiling by US justice authorities.
Jeremy Wu, a Chinese-American lawyer, said the incidents could be part of a trend. "If there was only one case, that could be an accident or coincidence, but there are three cases and four individuals falsely charged in similar situations within the last ten months," he said.
"The loyalty of Asian Americans towards this country is questioned based on their race and ethnic background. It is not right in a country of freedom and diversity. We are a rule-based country," he added.
The SCMP believes that Washington's spying on its "friends and foes alike", as revealed by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, is another example of the country’s rights abuses.
"More aggressive investigations and prosecutions are to be expected as a result of the US administration's alarm at hacking and cyber security threats," it warned.