While former President Donald Trump took an arguably hardline stance against misbehavior by China’s communist regime, his successor has embraced a softer approach.
President Joe Biden’s agenda has included near silence with regard to reports of the deliberate and ongoing genocide against China’s minority Uyghur Muslim population — but that appears to have finally changed this week.
“Making clear our strong concerns”
An administration spokesperson acknowledged that China has been and continues to wage the horrifying and unlawful imprisonment of the group.
In a statement to the Washington Examiner, the unnamed source said: “President Biden spoke with [Chinese] President Xi Jinping on February 10, and part of that conversation was making clear our strong concerns about human rights abuses in Xinjiang.”
According to the spokesperson, the White House believes that “crimes against humanity and genocide that have been and continue to be inflicted on the Uyghurs cannot be ignored, and must be met with serious consequences.”
Describing the Biden administration’s China policy as “predicated on our core sources of strength, including our values and our ability to work in harmony with like-minded partners and allies,” the spokesperson said that the U.S. will continue to “work with these partners, bilaterally and in multilateral fora, to determine how we can impose costs on China together and ensure that these atrocities stop.”
The clarification came on the heels of a separate report detailing the manner by which multiple members of the Biden administration skirted the issue when asked to comment, including rhetoric referring to the genocide as though it was no longer occurring.
“Each and every act”
While the White House had attempted to dodge persistent questions from the media, a respected international body has determined without a doubt that the genocide remains ongoing in China’s western province of Xinjiang and is being purposefully perpetrated by the government.
According to the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy report, China has breached “each and every act prohibited” by the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948, which stemmed from the Jewish Holocaust by the Nazis.
As the convention states, genocide is defined as a state having an “intent to destroy, in whole or in part,” a protected group. In this case, that includes an estimated 1 to 2 million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The United Nations also laid out five specific acts that constitute genocide, including a government “killing members of a group,” “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group,” “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group,” and “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
While the Biden administration has not confirmed the reason for its reluctance to publicly admit the ongoing genocide, critics speculate that it is tied to the president’s desire to fully re-engage with China and concerns that calling out the communist regime’s behavior would jeopardize those efforts.