Tags: genocide

The Biden Admin's Confusion and Evasion on Genocide in China

The Biden Admin's Confusion and Evasion on Genocide in China
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Sunday, 14 March 2021 08:59 AM Current | Bio | Archive

What exactly is the Biden administration’s policy on the ongoing and documented genocide against China’s Muslim Uighur ethnic group and what does the Biden administration intend to do about it?

It seems to change every day.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said on March 9 "We have seen nothing that would change our assessment" concerning the Biden administration’s decision to stick with the Trump administration’s 11th hour determination that Beijing’s persecution of Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang province constitutes genocide.

President Biden gave a different response last month at a CNN townhall when asked about the atrocities being committed against the Uighurs when he appeared to write them off as a matter of different "cultural norms" driven by President Xi’s efforts to unify the country by creating a "united and technically controlled China."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave a third answer during testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week. Blinken sidestepped Biden’s inexplicable statement and said the Biden administration will speak out against the persecution of the Uighurs and also said the administration might consider some sanctions and pressure on U.S. companies to not import goods made by forced labor or export goods to China that can be used "for the repression of their people and minorities."

But Blinken indicated the Uighur genocide will not be an impediment to the administration’s broader agenda with China, including climate change and the Iran nuclear deal.

Although he and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan plan to express U.S. concerns about human rights violations in China and the crackdown in Hong Kong at a meeting next week in Alaska with their Chinese counterparts, Blinken said this meeting also would be used to map out areas for cooperation and managing China’s "competition" with the United States.

In other words, Blinken and Sullivan will check the box of raising the Uighur genocide issue at the Alaska meeting and then move on to other issues they view as more important. There will be no threats of ultimatums or sanctions in response to these atrocities.

Blinken mentioned two other ways the Biden administration plans to sidestep the Uighur genocide issue at this week’s House hearing.

Instead of stating the United States will take swift and decisive action under the 1948 Genocide Convention to sanction China and Chinese officials over the Uighur genocide, Blinken said the Biden administration plans to address the Uighur issue "by building coalitions of like-minded countries." 

Although this idea is certain to go nowhere because few nations are willing to confront Beijing, it will give the Biden administration an excuse for not taking action.

In addition, Blinken called on China to allow the United Nations access to Xinjiang to prove that genocide is not taking place. T

his is a ludicrous idea because in the unlikely event China ever agrees to let UN inspectors visit this province, it is certain that Chinese officials will show them a sham Potemkin Village of well-treated and happy Uighurs. Beijing would then use such a visit to discredit numerous reports – many of which include first-hand accounts and photos – that document genocide has occurred and continues in Xinjiang.

There was a surprising fourth and significant view by an incoming Biden official this week when former UN Ambassador Samantha Power–who has been nominated to the head the U.S. Agency for International Development–tweeted the latest independent report on the Uighur issue. The report concluded:

China bears State responsibility for committing genocide against the Uighurs in breach of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) based on an extensive review of the available evidence and application of international law to the evidence of the facts on the ground.

The Biden administration’s approach to the Uighur genocide goes against the central purpose of the Genocide Convention and why it was implemented after World War II in the aftermath of the Holocaust: stopping one of the worst crimes against humanity. The convention requires that when acts of genocide have been declared signatories are obligated to take action to stop them and punish those responsible. This means the U.S. must cease normal relations with Beijing until the genocide against the Uighurs is halted.

At a minimum, the Biden administration must lead a global boycott of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

But it appears the Biden administration plans to weasel its way out of America’s Genocide Convention obligations. While it is quite willing to slam and isolate states it dislikes such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt for poor human rights records, its response to far more serious human rights violations in China (including persecution of other groups such as Tibetans, Christians, the Falun Gong and journalists) will be limited to public denunciations, calling on other states to take action, and proposing a UN visit to Xinjiang that will either not take place or be exploited by Beijing.

This is an historic opportunity for presidential leadership. To truly be the leader of the free world, our new president needs to make a difficult and painful decision to implement drastic U.S. measures against the Chinese government in response to the genocide against the Uighurs and pressure other states to do the same.

Tolerating these atrocities with the Biden administration’s proposed transactional approach to China will not only undermine America’s moral authority but also lead Beijing to believe the world will never hold it accountable for crimes against humanity within its borders.

Fred Fleitz, president of the Center for Security Policy, served in 2018 as deputy assistant to the president and to the chief of staff of the National Security Council. He previously held national-security jobs with the CIA, the DIA, the Department of State, and the House Intelligence Committee. Twitter: @fredfleitz. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.

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Fred-Fleitz
Tolerating these atrocities with the Biden administration’s proposed transactional approach to China will not only undermine America’s moral authority but also lead Beijing to believe the world will never hold it accountable for crimes against humanity within its borders.
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