World Uyghurs in China: What Biden should do about China's atrocities (opinion)
China central to GOP efforts to push back on Biden
Republicans are digging in on their efforts to paint President Biden as soft on China, laying the groundwork for a midterm elections attack line and shoring up positions for the 2024 presidential contest.While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have identified China as the gravest national security threat to the United States, House and Senate GOP members are accusing the president's people and policies of failing to stand up to Beijing. Being hard on China is viewed as a winning election strategy, with the country widely viewed as a potential danger to the nation on multiple fronts.
For too long, the world has ignored reports of China's mass detention and forced labor of Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities in the northwest region of Xinjiang. Now, bothand have published deeply reported and horrifying accounts of rape, abuse, and torture detailed by Uyghur women who'd been held in China's internment camps.
China has sinceBBC World News from airing in the country and denied the abuse, that "it is strictly forbidden to insult and abuse trainees in any way." But the women's accounts add to a record that includes reports of , , and Uyghur children being .
China's Genocide Olympics | Opinion
No one wants to mix sport with politics, but everyone has an obligation to not support rape, murder, mass detainment and slavery.What can be done? For starters, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) can move the 2022 Winter Olympics away from Beijing and immediately ban the participation of China's athletes from Olympic competition. If the IOC does not make both of these moves, the U.S. and other countries should boycott next year's Games in the Chinese capital.
This genocide -- that's what it is -- poses an urgent test for President Joe Biden's new administration and for the international community. Either the United States and the world will finally go beyond tepid criticism and respond with real action, or we can forget about values, universal rights, and international law.
The term genocide should not be used casually. But it's correct to use it to describe China's treatment of the Uyghurs. The UN'sand US make it clear that genocide does not necessarily entail the group's immediate destruction by mass killing, but rather that destruction of the group in whole or in part must be the intended result. amongst lawyers and pundits create a distraction that simply allows China to continue its genocidal campaign.
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As part of his focus on the pandemic this week, the president plans to visit a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine manufacturing site in Michigan on Thursday. The meeting comes amid a stepped-up focus on the pandemic. Speaking at a nationally televised town hall on Tuesday, Biden pledged that any American who wants a vaccine will have access to one by the end of July and said he wants many elementary and middle schools to be open five days a week by the end of April.
It is encouraging that Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken haveand committed to to end gender-based violence. But the new administration's message has been muddled by other senior officials who have hedged rhetorically, and Biden himself drew criticism after a last week when he the genocide as part of a "different norm." Even his positive statements have yet to be backed by policy. This was exemplified in Biden's as president with China's Xi Jinping. Biden raised his concerns over the oppression of the Uyghurs which, while a good step, was insufficient when not backed by uniform US policy. What's needed is a comprehensive strategy that holds China accountable for its human rights abuses against the Uyghurs and prioritizes ending violence.
The first step is articulating a clear, unified policy for the United States. The lack of clarity is nothing new. While former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rightlythe crimes against the Uyghurs a genocide, the Trump administration's approach to China and to human rights more broadly was at best.
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President Biden spoke about everything from the end of the pandemic to being "tired of talking about Donald Trump," while answering questions from members of the audience.Biden discussed a range of topics, from when every American will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the end of the pandemic, to being "tired of talking about Donald Trump" while answering questions from Cooper and members of the audience.
Biden has the chance to do better. A clear and consistent position from the US would allow for a whole-of-government response and ensure theand are fully enforced. These laws sanction parties involved in human rights abuses, identify where goods produced with forced labor are entering the US supply chain, and bans their import.
This will be crucial because Xinjiang produces 85% of China's and 20% of the world's cotton, according to the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy. The DC-based think tank, formerly known as the Center for Global Policy, releasedthat found "strong evidence that the production of the majority of Xinjiang's cotton "involves a coercive, state-run program targeting ethnic minority groups."
China is accused ofto manufacture technology, clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) -- much of it to export to the US for profit. There are also allegations of Uyghur forced labor being used to make hair products that are sold in the US. Former detainees have told CNN their hair was during internment. (Beijing has of mistreatment of workers.)
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Whole-of-government means this can't just be a concern for State Department diplomats who work on human rights. Stopping a genocide should be a priority for every government agency that deals with China. It should come up in conversations about trade, technology, terrorism, climate, and global health. Beijing should understand that this isn't a concern that can be brushed aside -- it will be front and center in every interaction.
In addition, a cross-agency response should focus in particular on allegations of gender-based violence perpetrated against Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Biden has already established aand has made clear that he plans to engage with the UN's (neglected by the Trump administration) to put gender equality and freedom from gender-based violence at the heart of US diplomacy. In his first week in office, Biden overturned the Mexico City Policy (or " reinstated by Trump) that restricts foreign aid for women's sexual and reproductive health. But a government-wide focus on protecting and advancing the health, rights, and safety of women will be futile if it fails to extend to the Uyghurs, particularly given the testimonies in the BBC and CNN reports.
Dutch parliament becomes second in a week to accuse China of genocide in Xinjiang
The Dutch parliament on Thursday passed a non-binding motion saying the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority in China amounts to genocide, the first such move by a European country. © Mike Corder/AP/FILE The frozen Hofvijver pond is seen outside the Dutch parliament buildings in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, February 9. Activists and United Nations rights experts say at least one million Muslims are being detained in camps in the remote western region of Xinjiang. The activists and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labor and sterilizations.
These testimonies should also compel Biden to reconsider US involvement in the Olympic Games. Too often in the past, hosting the Olympics has allowed authoritarian regimes to peddle propaganda and gain legitimacy -- from the Nazis in 1936 to the Soviets in 1980 to the Chinese Communist Party in 2008 and Vladimir Putin's Russia in 2014. In response to China's oppression of Uyghur communities and other human rights abuses,and are calling for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be moved from Beijing or boycotted altogether.
When the White House was recentlyit missed a critical opportunity to condemn China's human rights violations and affirm US leadership on the issue. The US should lead multilateral efforts, particularly with Muslim-led countries. The silence, if not from the Organization for Islamic Cooperation has been shameful. We need all hands on deck for this effort and the international community should declare with one voice that participation in the Olympics depends on progress for Uyghurs.
Further, Biden should not ease pressure over the Uyghur genocide in order to achieve other pressing priorities with China. Biden ran onto pressure China -- the world's -- to stop subsidizing coal exports and outsourcing its pollution to other countries. Climate change is clearly an existential priority. But Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry was right when recently that the US would not trade other US interests to make progress on climate with China. We need to hold him and other senior officials accountable to that promise. We cannot sacrifice one goal for another, particularly when human suffering this acute is involved.
I've worked with victims of sexual violence in Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq, and Syria. I have watched the world look away from previous horrors, and seen accountability come too late, if at all. This time has to be different. As the Biden administration works to reorient American foreign policy to ensure that it aligns with American values, it must signal to the world that China's treatment of the Uyghurs won't be tolerated.
China plays the Trump card, but Biden is not buying it .
Biden's forthright actions to date have earned him China’s condemnation for “Trumpism without Trump."China's leaders, however, believe that blaming the former administration for Sino-U.S. tensions will leverage anti-Trump animus for Biden's "flexibility" on contentious issues. With Trump gone, Washington can forget "the China threat" and revert to the "normalcy" that Beijing found so advantageous during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.