On the last day of his term, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused the Chinese Communist Party of perpetrating various atrocities against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang province.
He said that crimes committed against Uyghurs are comparable to the Holocaust crimes committed by Nazis and the crimes committed by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
Pompeo enumerated various crimes that are thought to be involved in the oppression of Uyghur Muslims.
These include arbitrary imprisonment and torture, coerced sterilizations and abortions on Uyghur women, forcing these women to marry non-Uyghur men, and separating Uyghur children from their families.
Pompeo has also said that the Chinese Communist Party has violated the basic human rights of Uyghurs by restricting their freedom of travel and education, as well as their freedom of assembly, speech, and expression.
An act of genocide
Pompeo described the Chinese treatment of Uyghurs as an act of genocide.
Secretary of State emphasized that if a systematic effort to eliminate one population is allowed to continue, the world can only imagine what China would be able to do in the not-so-distant future.
He drew attention to the contrast between the external representation of how Uyghurs are treated and the way the Chinese government depicts Uyghurs inside the country.
According to Pompeo, the Chinese government tells fictitious stories about the Uyghurs happily participating in government projects while in its communication with Chinese people it presents them as “malignant tumors” whose religion is a sort of “communicable plague”.
Furthermore, Pompeo called upon the Chinese government to put an end to the atrocities it subjects Uyghurs to, at the same time inviting international organizations to take action against the crimes in Xinjiang province.
He reiterated that the U.S. government has imposed sanctions against Chinese Communist Party officials and state-funded enterprises that are thought to be involved in the oppression of Uyghurs.
Trump talked about Uyghurs, nobody listened
In October, the Trump administration was among the 40 nations that urged China to let independent observers come to Xinjiang province to investigate the situation.
Statements Pompeo made during the last hours of his office put the incoming administration on the spot.
In light of these statements, the Biden administration is expected to take a firm stance on the issue of Uyghur treatment earlier than it would have otherwise been.
Even though President-elect Joe Biden has openly criticized Chinese treatment of Uyghurs, some indications suggest that his position on this issue might be softer than it should be.
It is indicative that the Chinese Communist Party has welcomed Biden’s November win, characterizing his arrival as a “new window of hope”.
Also, Joe Biden has a history of having a softer stance on China and his son Hunter is known for his China-related businesses.
It remains to be seen whether the new administration will keep up an unequivocal denunciation of the maltreatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang provide or eschew it for other purposes.