In a rare agreement on foreign policy, both President Biden and the former Trump government accuse the Chinese government of genocide against ethnic Uyghurs.
On his last working day, Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo made public his finding that China had committed crimes against humanity and “committed genocide against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs.”
Within hours, Pompeo’s likely successor, Antony Blinken, was asked if he agreed with the State Department’s statement during his nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
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“That would be my judgment,” he said. “Forcing men, women and children into concentration camps, trying to get them to become followers of the Chinese Communist Party – it’s all about efforts to commit genocide.”
White House spokesman Jen Psaki withdrew the question from the administration’s position on the issue on Friday, but referred to Biden’s earlier remarks that China called the treatment of Uyghurs “horrible”.
During the presidential campaign in late August, he said in a Biden campaign statement: “The unspeakable oppression suffered by the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities at the hands of China’s authoritarian government is genocide, and Joe Biden is most strongly against it.”
On the same day, Pompeo reported incidents of genocide in the Xinjiang region, an official from the Ministry of Homeland Security told Fox News that the office of the ministry’s chief adviser had reached the same conclusion as the State Department and would take appropriate action.
A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington called the U.S. accusations “gross interference in China’s internal affairs and a serious violation of international law.”
The embassy claimed that China’s actions in Xinjiang “are not about ethnicity, religion or human rights, but about anti-violence, terrorism, separatism and anti-radicalization.”
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In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced sanctions against Pompeo and several other former Trump administrative officials.
Several members of the Biden cabinet have already publicly condemned China’s action against the Uyghurs.
Finance Minister Janet Yellen called China “our most important strategic competitor” while also accusing the country of “horrific human rights abuses”.
As the Chinese government continues its reparations operation by attacking former Trump officials, it has so far upheld its verdict over the Biden government.
The former senior administrative official told Fox News that the Trump State Department had prepared potential sanctions against about half a dozen senior Chinese Communist Party officials for the incoming Biden administration.
It is unclear whether the Biden government supports such steps.
Organizations fighting for the freedom of the people of Xinjiang, as well as the creation of an independent state, welcome the move of the previous administration, expecting Biden to continue the same policy.
The exiled government in eastern Turkey, an organization representing the people of the region, called the decision by the outgoing Foreign Ministry “the culmination of a long-running debate over how to punish Beijing’s most serious violation in decades.” The leader of the organization, Prime Minister Salih Hudayar, called on other countries to follow the US and respond decisively to the genocide.
The land, which the Uyghurs historically called East Turkistan, has been occupied by China since 1949 and renamed it Xinjiang.
“We are convinced that we cannot protect human rights in any way without restoring the independence of Eastern Turkey. [and] freedoms, yet the survival of our people alone, Hudayar said. – We have lodged a formal complaint with the International Criminal Court about this genocide. The evidence we provide includes past homicides and even recent homicides. “
Sairagul Sautbay told Fox News that “I was forcibly taken to a concentration camp where I was forced to work as a Chinese language teacher for detainees.”
“I saw all the horrors there,” he said through a translated note. “In order to exterminate the indigenous peoples of Kazakhstan, Uyghur, Kyrgyzstan and other Eastern Turkestans [sic]who have lived in their homeland since their ancestors, the CCP imprisoned young people and older men and women from all walks of life. “
He added: “The CCP’s genocide policy has destroyed millions of families and turned East Turkestan into a large open-roof prison. This crime is the CCP’s genocide against humanity after World War II. In this concentration camp, I witnessed countless innocent people. Their hopes were dashed and they were greatly weakened by hunger, insomnia and torture. “
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Experts say the issue will be a key test for the Biden administration.
Scott Kennedy, chief adviser and acting president of business and economics at China at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, predicts that Biden will raise concerns but will not directly attack China’s interests.
“We will see the President speak out on human rights and the United States will work with the Allies to find a common approach to these issues,” he said. “This applies to Xinjiang, Hong Kong, China’s supervisory state and other human rights issues.”
Gordon Chang, an expert on US-China relations, believes the United States has a duty to act.
“Biden, who said he will be tough on Beijing’s human rights violations, must take action against the Chinese genocide or pay political costs for not doing so,” Chang said. – Everyone will pay attention.
Fox News Rich Edson contributed to this report.