Mike Pompeo labels China’s crackdown on Uyghurs ‘genocide’

The Trump administration has repeatedly leveled sanctions on China over its treatment of Uyghurs, and the designation had been widely expected.

Washington: Secretary of State Michael Pompeo designated China’s crackdown on Uyghurs and other minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur region as genocide, a major escalation in tensions with the country less than one day before President Donald Trump’s term ends.

“I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state,” Pompeo said in a statement Tuesday. He said the country’s leaders “have made clear that they are engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group.”

Pompeo cited sterilizations, indefinite detention and forced labor in Xinjiang and called on “relevant judicial bodies” to hold those responsible to account. The Trump administration has repeatedly leveled sanctions on China over its treatment of Uighurs, and the designation had been widely expected.

The immediate effect of Pompeo’s decision is unclear given that President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday. But there is growing bipartisan support for further punishment of China’s actions, whether in Congress or among Biden’s team.

China vehemently rejects criticism of its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, saying it respects human rights and that its efforts are aimed at de-radicalizing extremists and countering terrorism and separatism.

In a statement last August, Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said China’s treatment of Uighurs was genocide and that Biden “stands against it in the strongest terms.” Bates called on Trump to apologize for condoning China’s treatment of the Uighurs.

That was an apparent reference to former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s claim, made in his book “The Room Where It Happened,” that Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2019 that imprisoning the Uighurs was “exactly the right thing to do.” Trump has denied that claim. – Bloomberg

Source: htheprint. in/world/mike-pompeo-labels-chinas-crackdown-on-uighurs-genocide/588670/

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