The elected leader of East Turkistan urged President Joe Biden in remarks in Washington, DC, last week to consider a variety of actions to end the ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people in that region by China, including potential military action.
Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan Government in Exile – which asserts that East Turkistan is a rightful state and not, as China sees it, the Chinese province of “Xinjiang” – led a protest in Washington’s Lafayette Square on Friday, shortly before Biden had scheduled a virtual meeting with Chinese dictator Xi Jinping.
Biden and Xi spent over three hours in conversation on Monday. The White House claimed that, during that time, Biden “raised concerns” about the genocide of the Uyghur people in East Turkistan as well as ethnic cleansing practices in Tibet and “human rights more broadly,” but the Biden administration has taken no significant action regarding the situation.
Xi Jinping is believed to preside over at least 1,200 concentration camps in East Turkistan that, at their peak, housed as many as 3 million people. Survivors of the camps, some of whom attended Friday’s protest, have accused Chinese guards of engaging in brutal torture of prisoners including electroshock, beatings, sleep deprivation, and systematic rape. Extensive reporting by research institutions and human rights groups has revealed the widespread use of concentration camp victims as slaves in factories and cotton fields nationwide.
The Biden administration officially declared China’s actions a genocide in March.
“It’s been ten months since the United States government has officially recognized the genocide,” Hudayar told the assembled crowd in Washington on Friday. “Yet, unfortunately, no meaningful action has been taken. Condemnations and statements of concern alone are not enough. … Calling out China is not enough. There needs to be action.”
Hudayar called for the Biden administration to consider “all types of political, economic, and – if necessary – military action to end this genocide.” The Uyghur leader compared the ongoing situation in China to the horrific abuses of Nazi Germany, and similarly observed that those abuses ended after the world attacked militarily.
“The Holocaust ended because the United States and the Western world decided, ‘enough is enough,’ and they decided they were going to take down the Nazis and Hitler,” Hudayar said. “Similarly … what’s happening in East Turkistan is only what’s waiting for the rest of the world, the future of the rest of the world, if they continue to remain silent.”
“Already, they are replicating some of the things they are doing in East Turkistan in Tibet,” Hudayar observed. Tibetan activists have denounced the construction of similar concentration camps in their region, believed to house at least 500,000 victims. Survivors of those camps also say prisoners are “routinely raped” and subject to gruesome torture. Chen Quanguo, the mastermind of the current genocide in East Turkistan, got his start as the local Communist Party secretary in occupied Tibet, implementing policies to erase Tibetan language, culture, and religion.
Hudayar added to his examples the ongoing repression of freedom in Hong Kong and constant threats by Xi and others to invade Taiwan. In 2019, Xi promised in a speech that supporters of Taiwan’s status as a sovereign state and Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters would have their “bones ground to powder” if they did not submit to Beijing.
“China is threatening to invade Taiwan and China is not going to stop at just invading Taiwan,” Hudayar warned. “Through its Belt and Road Initiative, they are already engaging in neo-colonialism, establishing military bases in parts of Africa, in Tajikistan, in Central Asia. They want to expand. And just how Hitler expanded after the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Xi Jinping is going to want to expand after the 2022 Winter Olympics.”
Hudayar called for Biden to boycott the Beijing Olympics, scheduled to begin in February. He joins a growing international community of human rights activists urging the world not to grant a government currently committing genocide the honor of hosting Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected those calls.
“Biden … needs to boycott that, he needs to say ‘no, I am not going to give you that honor of hosting an international Olympics,'” Hudayar urged.
Reports prior to Biden’s meeting with Xi suggested that the dictator may extend a formal invitation to Biden to attend the Games. Ultimately, neither the American nor Chinese disclosures of the conversation stated that Xi offered any such invitation and Biden has not pronounced himself publicly on the Games.
“As I understand, the two sides didn’t touch upon the Winter Olympics,” Chinese regime spokesman Zhao Lijian, who has publicly spread the conspiracy theory that the Chinese coronavirus pandemic originated with the U.S. military, told reporters on Tuesday.
Anonymous rumors published in American corporate media outlets suggest that the Biden administration may consider a “diplomatic” boycott, which would not meaningfully affect the Games and allow American athletes to compete in Beijing. The White House has not at press time addressed those rumors.
Biden’s China policy has prompted national concerns given longstanding family ties to business in the country, particularly son Hunter Biden’s ongoing for-profit relationships in the communist country.