Biden dismisses Uighur genocide as part of China’s ‘different norms’
By Emily Jacobs, New Yor Post
February 17, 2021
President Biden is dismissing the genocide against the Uighur population in China, dubbing the mass internment a “different norm” — despite the State Department this month responding to “atrocities” in the camps, following reports of systemic rape and torture.
The commander-in-chief made the remarks after being asked during his CNN town hall Tuesday evening about his recent conversation with his Chinese counterpart, starting his response by relaying Xi’s justification for the abuses.
“If you know anything about Chinese history, it has always been, the time when China has been victimized by the outer world is when they haven’t been unified at home,” Biden began. “So the central — well, vastly overstated — the central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that.”
China, a nation that has faced a wave of international scrutiny over the past few years relating to its activities in dismantling democracy in Hong Kong and its refusal to accept responsibility for negligence and a lack of transparency at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, has not let global tensions stop its mass internment of Uighurs in Xinjiang province.
President Biden continued in his response that he is “not going to speak out against” the Chinese Communist Party’s belligerent actions in Hong Kong, against the Uighurs, or in Taiwan.
“I point out to him no American president can be sustained as a president, if he doesn’t reflect the values of the United States,” the US president continued. “And so the idea that I am not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uighurs in western mountains of China and Taiwan — trying to end the one China policy by making it forceful … Xi gets it.”
“Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow,” he continued.
The “norms” in China, as shown in a recent BBC News exposé, include systemic torture and rape occurring in Uighur concentration camps.
Following the release of the BBC report, China banned the outlet in its territory.
Asked during the town hall whether there would be repercussions for the CCP over the genocide, Biden sidestepped the question, saying the US would “reassert our role as spokespersons for human rights at the UN and other agencies.”
“Well, there will be repercussions for China and [Xi] knows that. What I’m doing is, making clear that we, in fact, are going to continue to reassert our role as spokespersons for human rights at the UN and other agencies that have an impact on their attitude,” he said.
Asked if China was not already too powerful to be stopped from its appalling human rights practices, Biden expressed confidence that human rights would win the day.
“China is trying very hard to become the world leader. And to get that moniker and be able to do that, they have to gain the confidence of other countries. And as long as they are engaged in activity that is contrary to basic human rights, it’s going to be hard for them to do that.
“But it’s much more complicated than that, I shouldn’t try to talk China policy in 10 minutes on television here.”
A White House spokesperson could not immediately be reached by The Post for comment.
During his confirmation hearings last month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken concurred specifically with outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in identifying the Chinese government’s treatment of Uighur Muslims as a “genocide” and said that “there’s been a strong and long bipartisan commitment to Taiwan … and the commitment to Taiwan is something that we hold to very strongly.”
Biden has not publicly acknowledged receiving a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan’s president.