During a recent town hall, President Joe Biden made some very dismissive claims about the mass genocide of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, China’s western region.
President Biden shared his recent phone conversation with Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, General Secretary for the Chinese Communist Party, during the town hall. President Biden informed the public of their discussion and said, very nonchalantly, “You know, Chinese leaders, if you know anything about Chinese history, it has always been, the time when China has been victimised by the outer world is when they haven’t been unified at home.
“So the central – it’s 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.”
President Biden then continued on, confirming that he would not, at this point be speaking out against China’s actions, “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, and so the idea I’m 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 … I said, and, by the, he said, he – he gets it. Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow.”
This casual dismissal of the mass genocide against Uyghur Muslims has put President Biden under fire, and rightfully so. His statement makes it seem as though the torture, rape, murder, and absolute inhumanity happening to the Uyghur Muslims for no apparent reason is a “cultural norm” and should not be spoken about. Which is quite a contradiction to the statements released by both himself and his administration. The Biden administration has admonished the genocide and has made a stand against it. President Biden has also reiterated that he would stand up for human rights and work with the United Nations, but after expressing his views during the town hall, it seems as though standing up for human rights and speaking against attrocities does not extend to the Uyghur Muslims in China.
Biden’s statement makes it seem as though the torture, rape, murder, and absolute inhumanity happening to the Uyghur Muslims for no apparent reason is a “cultural norm” and should not be spoken about.
CNN host Anderson Cooper asked, “When you talk to him, though, about human rights abuses, is that as far as it goes in terms of the US, or is there going to be any actual repercussions for China?”
President Biden answered, “Well, there will be repercussions for China, and he knows that. What I’m doing is making clear that we are going to reassert our role as spokespersons for human rights at the UN and other agencies that have an impact on their attitudes. China is trying very hard to become the world leader, and to get that moniker and to 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 gonna be hard for them to do that.”
Fixing up former President Trump’s disasters and trying to remedy the fraying ties with China, Biden had must have felt no choice but to speak good in favour of the communist country and their actions. (Still inexcusable.) China has a fragile relationship with quite a few countries and if the Western world wants to survive in the increasingly competitive future, then restoring those ties is of immense importance.
While President Biden’s words are obviously harmful, we also can’t expect much from him when no Muslim nation so far has taken a stand against the Chinese treatment of Uyghur Muslims and have instead stayed embarrassingly silent. It wouldn’t be fair to say that Joe Biden has something against the religion, or against Muslims because comparatively, all his other actions and orders that are for Muslims, have been more than what Muslim nations have done, like his recent order to restore aide to Palestine or his appointing of many Muslims into his administration.
However, that still doesn’t excuse the utter disregard for a group of people that as a human, President Biden can at the very least acknowledge and condemn the severities and extremities happening against the Uyghur Muslims in China.