"Double Standards" of the West
Global Times (环球时报)
18 January 2020

The following is a translation of an article published in Global Times (环球时报), by Yu Lei (于镭). The author is a Senior Researcher at the Pacific Island Research Centre of Liaocheng University and a Researcher at the Australian Studies Centre of Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Western Double Standards are Everywhere

By Yu Lei

In the practice of international relations, some Western countries have adopted double standards toward other countries, especially developing countries, in such fields as law and human rights. This has happened more than once. I feel deeply about this because I have lived and worked in the West for a long time.

Double standards practised by some Western countries appear first of all in politics. Quite a lot of countries have chosen political systems and development models according to their national conditions which are different from the West. These countries have therefore attracted the attention of Western countries and have become the main victims of their double standards. Not only do government agencies, politicians, and a wide range of non-governmental organisations in Western countries criticise them, but they have been demonised extensively in Western media. Even a developed country like Singapore, which is deeply influenced by Western-style democracy, is often a target of Western countries because its economic development model and legal practices are different from those of the West. Some Asian, African, and Latin American countries which possess national independence and self-awareness have become even more the victims of the West’s double standards in democracy, good governance and rule of law.

These double standards are also found in the areas of national defence and security. The US is the world’s principal military power, with military spending exceeding US$700 billion annually. However, some Western countries, led by the United States, have collectively accused developing countries of being aggressive and militaristic when they have strengthened their national defence to defend their sovereignty and legitimate interests. The US and other Western countries may increase their military strength while other nations are not permitted to do so. This is the security paradigm of the West.

Double standards also appear in economics. Western countries label their economic model as the Washington Consensus which is free, fair, and just. They describe development models that suit the conditions of developing countries, including China, as economic nationalism and mercantilism. I have presented data and theoretical analysis of China’s economic development in classrooms and at academic seminars on numerous occasions. Each time, without exception, it has been met by surprise and interest from students and scholars. Because reports about the Chinese economy are not objective, I am well aware that when it develops faster, the Western mainstream media says it is overheated and could go out of control at any time; and when it slows down, they all cry that it is going to collapse!

Double standards are also seen in culture. Some Western countries have established institutions to disseminate culture in developing countries, which benefits cultural exchanges and development of countries all over the world. However, it becomes cultural chauvinism when you think that your culture is superior and demand that developing countries fully accept it. When I attended a seminar in a Pacific island country not long ago, I saw a scholar from a major Western power arrogantly talk about the excellence of Western culture and its great contribution to the modernisation of the island nation, but it was opposed by several islander scholars. Western countries are also keen to export their culture to developing countries. However, they strongly guard against and resist developing countries setting up cultural institutions in the West, readily accusing them of exporting values and ideology.

Western double standards also appear in the ivory tower of academia. When a Western scholar analysed differences in classroom performance between European students and students from another continent, he publicly suggested that the main reason is the difference in IQ between the two; when explaining the difference in performance between European and Asian students, he emphasised the repetitive mechanical study methods of Asian students as the reason. I also experienced personal prejudice when publishing academic papers for the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI via the Web of Science). After several rounds of questions and responses, two reviewers employed by a well-known British academic journal agreed to publish my article. But a third reviewer blocked it for no reason and chided the publishing department, “Why must academic journals like yours publish articles with viewpoints favourable toward China and developing countries?”

The above is only some evidence of what I have noticed when living and working in the West. I believe that people with similar work and life experiences will give even more examples. We must maintain vigilance and expose the double standards of the West, because they are not conducive to communication and mutual progress in the world. Only by truly abandoning the double standards will the international community and human civilisation continue to progress.


Translation by: Chris Lanzit, NAATI Certified Professional Translator (Chinese-English), NAATI Practitioner ID: CPN0BC84W

Date of Translation: 22 January 2019

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