The Biden administration is going to have to show its cards fast.
The China-related dealings of President-elect Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, might have gotten squelched by the propaganda giants of social media in the run-up to the presidential campaign, but a last-day declaration by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is likely to put Biden’s Chinese policy on full display.
And the whole world will be watching.
In a statement Tuesday, Pompeo declared that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government is committing “genocide and crimes against humanity” with its treatment of the ethnic minority Uighur Muslims, Reuters reported.
The harshly-worded statement took direct aim at the Chinese Communist Party’s control over the People’s Republic of China and cited the U.S. stand against human rights abuses — from the genocide of the Nazi holocaust to the savagery of the Islamic State group and its treatment of “Yazidis, Christians, and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.”
“For the past four years, this Administration has exposed the nature of the Chinese Communist Party and called it what it is: a Marxist-Leninist regime that exerts power over the long-suffering Chinese people through brainwashing and brute force,” the statement said.
“We have paid particular attention to the CCP’s treatment of the Uyghur people, a Muslim minority group that resides largely in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Western China. While the CCP has always exhibited a profound hostility to all people of faith, we have watched with growing alarm the Party’s increasingly repressive treatment of the Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups.”
Since at least March 2017, the statement recounted, the crimes of Xi’s government against the Uighurs have included arbitrary imprisonment and torture, forced sterilization, forced labor and general restrictions on freedoms of movement, expression and religious beliefs.
“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 the statement.
“The governing authorities of the second most economically, militarily, and politically powerful country on earth have made clear that they are engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group, even as they simultaneously assert their country as a global leader and attempt to remold the international system in their image.”
Now, obviously, the question arises about why the announcement took until literally the last day of President Donald Trump’s administration. China and the U.S. have been at loggerheads for the duration of the Trump presidency.
In that connection, it’s worth noting that in June, Trump signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 — a bill that passed unanimously in the Senate by voice vote and with overwhelming support in the House.
That bill condemned the Chinese Communist Party’s treatment of the Uighurs and provided for sanctions against Chinese officials responsible.
In October, the Trump administration was among the leadership of 40 nations that called on China to allow independent observers into the Xinjiang region to monitor the treatment of the population.
And just last week, as The Associated Press reported, the Trump administration blocked imports of cotton, tomatoes and other goods from Xinjiang because of suspicions they were produced or harvested using slave labor.
In other words, late it might be, but Pompeo’s declaration wasn’t from out of nowhere.
Regardless, there’s no question that the declaration is going to put Biden and his foreign policy team on the spot from Day 1. A declaration of genocide by a presidential administration — even an administration on its way out the door — is not a matter to be taken lightly.
Biden & Co. are going to have to decide, fast, whether they’re going to stand by silently while a world power engages in a practice that evokes global horror, or whether they’re going to engage and try to stop it.
The establishment media is likely to take the line that the Pompeo declaration was an act of sabotage of some kind by Trump officials to lock in Biden’s foreign policy, or some kind of petty gesture by Trump against a rival nation — anything to keep attacking Trump.
But there’s no getting around the fact that Biden and his team — including Antony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state — are going to be in the position of reiterating the Pompeo declaration or walking it back.
They will, in effect, be telling the world that the United States does not have a problem with China’s barbaric treatment of a minority group — and a Muslim minority group at that.
That might be OK with Democrats who are more concerned with the power they can wield against Americans than the power China wields against those under its control. It might be OK with the NBA and LeBron James.
But it would be a loss of face on the world stage by a new American president who’s international dealings are already suspect to tens of millions of Americans who voted for Trump in November — and maybe some who would have voted for Trump if they had not been kept in the dark about Biden by social media.
It would also be an abrogation of the responsibility Biden and his team will now assume for the American people — and the international community.
As Pompeo’s statement noted:
“The United States has worked exhaustively to pull into the light what the Communist Party and General Secretary Xi Jinping wish to keep hidden through obfuscation, propaganda, and coercion. Beijing’s atrocities in Xinjiang represent an extreme affront to the Uyghurs, the people of China, and civilized people everywhere.
“We will not remain silent. If the Chinese Communist Party is allowed to commit genocide and crimes against humanity against its own people, imagine what it will be emboldened to do to the free world, in the not-so-distant future.”
The Pompeo declaration just raised the stakes in the global standoff between the U.S. and China.
And the Biden administration is going to have to show its cards — fast.
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