Calls for Action to Respond to China’s Human Rights Abuses Strengthen

By Cathalijne Adams
Jan 08 2020 |
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But the response? Not so strong.

The bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) calls for the United States to impose sanctions against China in response to Beijing’s “crimes against humanity,” in its newly-released report.

Approximately “one million or more Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Hui, and others currently are or have been detained and subjected to abuse and forced labor in mass internment camps,” according to the report.

While imprisoned, detainees are subject to “torture, including forced ingestion of drugs; punishment for behavior deemed religious; forced labor; overcrowding; deprivation of food; and political indoctrination,” states the CECC, while the Chinese state simultaneously harnesses advanced surveillance technology to create an “open-air prison” outside the detention facilities to police ethnic minorities beyond their walls.     

Meanwhile, U.S.-China trade deal negotiations proceed as normal with characteristic tenuousness agreement on terms — the nations are scheduled to sign “Phase One” of the deal on Jan. 15 … or maybe just at some point between Jan. 13 and 17 — even though it looks to amount to very little actual change.    

Echoing outrage all over the globe that China is spearheading a campaign to repress its Uighur population and eliminate the ethnic minority’s culture, the CECC recommends that President Trump issue a policy directive. The directive, per the CECC’s recommendation, would outline a whole-of-government approach to China’s human rights abuses rather than piecemeal actions.

Addressing these violations should be central to all of America’s engagement with China, asserts the CECC.

“In order to ensure that the U.S. Government can strategically address a more authoritarian China,” the report states, “the President should issue a policy directive to develop a comprehensive strategy embedding human rights, the rule of law, and democratic governance into the critical mission strategies of all U.S. Government entities interacting with the Chinese government.”

Indeed, it seems utterly hypocritical to bargain for more soybean purchases at the negotiating table while China commits near cultural genocide within its own country. We cannot divorce ourselves from our moral obligations for the sake of a deal.