BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s foreign ministry said on Friday that seeing the plight of Americans suffering in a severe winter storm that hit the state of Texas this week reinforced a belief among Chinese citizens that their country is “on the right path”.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the comments in response to a question from a state media journalist on calls by western countries for an investigation into alleged human rights abuses in its western Xinjiang region.
During her lengthy response, made at a regular ministry news conference, Hua repeated China’s denials of abuse of Muslims in the region, and said that Australia, Canada and the United States had histories of genocide.
But she also contrasted the vulnerability of many Texans with the festive experience of Chinese during the recently-completed Lunar New Year holiday. State and social media in Communist Party-led China frequently draw attention to crises in the United States and other western countries.
“Not to be wanting of food or clothing, not to be hungry or cold, this is the fundamental human right that is the most real,” she said.
“In the meantime in Texas … millions of people found themselves caught in the terrible situation of not having electricity and heating at home, a few tens of people even lost their lives because of this,” she said.
“This gave the Chinese people a deeper appreciation for what is the real human right, and made us believe more strongly that China is on the right path. We are fully confident about our future,” she said.
The bitter cold spell in the United States has killed at least 21 people in Texas and knocked out power to more than four million people in the state, with more than 13 million Texans seeing interruptions in their water services.
Since U.S.-China relations worsened during the previous administration of Donald Trump, many Chinese diplomats have taken to social media with an aggressively nationalistic posture known as “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy.
(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian and Tony Munroe; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)