China’s Global Times, a state propaganda newspaper, published an editorial Thursday warning any attempts to convince Beijing to end its genocide of the Uyghur people in an upcoming meeting between high-level American and Chinese diplomats is unacceptable.
The newspaper also claimed condemnations of rampant human rights abuses in Hong Kong, where the Communist Party formalized an illegal plan this week to ban non-communists from running for office there, could not form part of the Biden administration’s agenda in that meeting.
President Joe Biden’s secretary of state, Antony Blinken, confirmed Wednesday that he and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan would meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Politburo bigwig Yang Jiechi in Anchorage, Alaska, on March 18.
“The meeting will take place following Secretary Blinken’s meetings with two of our closest regional allies in Tokyo and Seoul. Secretary Blinken and NSA Sullivan will discuss a range of issues with the PRC [communist China],” the State Department confirmed.
Chinese media outlets relayed the news Thursday, describing the scheduling of the meeting as a positive sign for relations between Washington and Beijing. Like the State Department, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has not yet divulged any information on the topics to be addressed at the meeting.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held a press conference Thursday in which he addressed the meeting and stated that he considered any meeting at all a step towards diplomatic progress.
“We hope that China and the US will engage in multi-faceted and multi-tiered dialogue,” Li said. “Even if consensus cannot be reached for the time being, we can exchange views, increase trust and explain confusions, which will help manage and resolve differences.”
Li reportedly asserted Washington and Beijing had “encountered great difficulty” in getting along but that they had a responsibility to maintain a “stable” relationship for the rest of the world.
The Global Times, which often serves as a platform for the Chinese communist regime to share its most belligerent opinions, preemptively warned the American officials in an editorial Thursday not to discuss China’s most egregious human rights atrocities or attempt to convince the Chinese officials to cease committing them.
“To ask China to change its policy of governing Xinjiang and stabilizing Hong Kong amounts to interference in China’s internal affairs and cannot be accepted by Chinese society,” the Global Times asserted. “Any exchange of ideas at any time over these issues is only a form of communication to help the U.S. understand the truth and reduce misunderstanding and miscalculation.”
The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is home to the majority of China’s native Uyghur ethnic group, a Turkic, Muslim-majority community with little in common with the Han ethnic group that dominates the Communist Party. Since at least 2017, widespread evidence has surfaced that the Communist Party has built over 1,000 concentration camps in Xinjiang for Uyghur and other ethnic minority people. Camp survivors say that government officials there force them into communist indoctrination courses where they must memorize propaganda songs, worship dictator Xi Jinping, and learn Mandarin, a language not native to Xinjiang. Punishments for those who err or challenge prison guards include extensive torture and nightly gang rape, survivors say.
Outside the camp, reports have revealed the Communist Party enslaving thousands of Uyghur people and implementing a policy of forced sterilization on Uyghur women to prevent the group from growing.
A study published this week of the currently available evidence of human rights crimes in Xinjiang concluded that China is guilty of every element of the international crime of genocide — though a nation only needs to commit one of these elements to be found guilty. The elements include killing members of a targeted group, preventing births, separating children of the group from their parents, and “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
During his confirmation hearing this year, Blinken said he believed China’s crimes against the Uyghurs amount to genocide, following his predecessor Mike Pompeo. In contrast, Biden himself appeared to excuse the extermination of the Uyghur group in remarks during a CNN town hall in February.
“If you know anything about Chinese history, it has always been the time China has been victimized by the outer world is when they haven’t been unified at home. It’s vastly overstated, but the center of principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China,” Biden told host Anderson Cooper. “And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that.”
Biden went on to say that, during his first conversation with Xi as president of the United States, he mentioned human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, but that he only did so because “no American president can be sustained as a president if he doesn’t reflect the values of the United States” and that Xi “gets it,” implying Biden did not express an earnest concern for human rights.
The contrast between Blinken’s and Biden’s words leave many unknowns in how Blinken will approach the Anchorage meeting.
The Global Times concluded the Americans should approach the meeting with “mutual respect” and to “manage differences” rather than attempt to change China’s criminal behavior.