EXPLANATION: Why did the United States accuse China of genocide and what is the next American labor genocide China Xinjiang
The US Secretary of State’s accusation of genocide against China touches on a burning human rights issue between China and the West.
In one of his last acts in office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that China’s policies against Muslims in his region of Xinjiang constitute “crimes against humanity” and “genocide”.
Earlier that same day, British lawmakers narrowly rejected a proposal targeting China that would have banned trade deals with any country believed to be committing genocide.
Xinjiang, a region in the far west that borders Central Asia, is home to the predominantly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group. China denies human rights violations and says its actions in Xinjiang are necessary to counter a separatist and terrorist threat.
WHY IS CHINA ACCUSED OF GENOCIDE?
Pompeo cited forced birth control among Uyghurs, documented by an Associated Press investigation last year, and forced labor that has been linked by AP reports to products imported into the United States, including clothes, cameras and computer screens.
“I think this genocide is underway and we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy the Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state,” Pompeo said in a written statement, using an alternate spelling for Uyghurs.
WHAT IS CHINA’S RESPONSE?
China firmly defends its human rights record and policies in Xinjiang, saying its constitution and laws treat all citizens equally. He denies imposing coercive birth control measures or forced labor, saying the perpetrators are lying in an attempt to smear China’s reputation and hamper its development.
Xu Guixiang, deputy spokesperson for the Xinjiang branch of the ruling Communist Party, told reporters last week that birth control decisions are made at the free will of the person and that “no organization or no individual can interfere “.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Pompeo’s genocide designation does not trigger any immediate repercussions, but requires the United States to take it into account in formulating its policy towards China.
This puts pressure on new President Joe Biden to maintain a hard line against China. He and members of his national security team have expressed support for such a designation in the past.
Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for secretary of state, said on Tuesday that the Trump administration was right to take a tougher stance on China, but it had approached the issue poorly. alienating US allies and failing to fully defend human rights elsewhere.
HOW WILL CHINA RESPOND?
China may wish to avoid an early skirmish with the Biden administration, withholding its slurs for Pompeo and calibrating its response based on the possibility of lower tensions that erupted under Trump.
As with most sensitive issues, he severely restricted foreign media access to Xinjiang and sought to limit any domestic discussion to official statements.
Still, the Trump administration’s “kick start” is likely to further accentuate the relationship in the short term, said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University in China. He said the already slim chances of reducing Sino-US tensions were even more limited in the weeks and months to come.
WHAT HAPPENED IN LONDON?
Lawmakers rejected by 319 votes to 308 an amendment to a post-Brexit trade bill that would have forced the UK government to revoke bilateral trade deals with a country had the High Court in England found it had perpetrated genocide.
Last week, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab called the amendment “well-intentioned”, but ineffective and counterproductive.
A significant number of conservative rebels supported the proposal, as did leaders of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to continue to face vocal calls within his Conservative Party for a stronger and more coherent policy towards China regarding its alleged violations of rights and violations of international standards.