On its last full day in office, Trump’s state department took a final shot at China, declaring its actions against the Uighurs to be “genocide.” This may be one area where the outgoing Trump administration and the incoming Biden administration are in sync.
”I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement, adding that Chinese officials were “engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group.”
The determination of atrocities is a rare action on the part of the State Department, and could lead the United States to impose more sanctions against China under the new administration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who said last year through a spokesman that the policies by Beijing amounted to “genocide.” Other nations or international institutions could follow suit in formally criticizing China over its treatment of its minority Muslims and taking punitive measures. The determination also prompts certain reviews within the State Department.
The finding is the harshest denunciation yet by any government against China’s policies in Xinjiang. Genocide is, according to international convention, “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
Last month I wrote about the system of “labor transfer” that exists in Xinjiang. In practice what happens is that government recruiters show up in your town and press any able bodied person, even elderly ones, to sign up for jobs picking cotton. If you don’t want to do this job, the recruiters just keep coming back to your home until you change your mind. Once you accept, government minders monitor you day and night and are there to help with “ideological education.” So you not only have to pick cotton, you have to praise the CCP for letting you do it. This isn’t quite slave labor since people are paid for the work but it’s pretty far from voluntary.
Just last week the Trump administration announced a ban on imports of cotton and tomatoes from the region. We not only get billions in garments from the cotton produced in this region but its tomatoes are also a main ingredient in Heinz ketchup. As Allahpundit pointed out in November, major companies including woke brand Nike have been lobbying against a bill designed to block imports made with forced labor.
Will the Biden administration back up this increased pressure on China? That remains to be seen but the Washington Post published an opinion piece today arguing that the incoming administration should stick with much of what Trump had done with regard to China.
Consider China’s deliberate suppression of information about the coronavirus outbreak and its persecution of doctors and journalists who tried to warn the world. More recently, the CCP has tried to cast its response to the pandemic in a heroic light — even as Beijing inflicted economic punishment on Australia for having the temerity to propose an inquiry into the origins of the virus.
Externally, the Chinese military in the past year has bludgeoned Indian soldiers to death along the Himalayan frontier, rammed and sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat in the South China Sea, and menaced Taiwan with its aircraft and naval vessels. Internally, the CCP has raced to perfect its technologically enabled police state, extend its repression of Hong Kong’s beleaguered democratic movement and continue its campaign of cultural genocide against the Uighurs in Xinjiang.
The Biden administration should begin its China policy review by recognizing that the United States did not cause CCP aggression and that CCP aggression is not just a U.S. problem. The CCP is a threat to the free world: The choice for other nations is not between Washington and Beijing but between sovereignty and servitude.
A strong response to China’s provocations around the world and efforts to outright steal data and intellectual property from the U.S. is long overdue. China won’t stop unless we make them stop and that won’t happen if the Biden administration takes its eye of the ball for the next four years.