The United States on Friday said it was working to rally allies and partners to speak with one voice in condemning China’s abuses against minority Muslims in Xinjiang and the “repression” taking place in Hong Kong.
The administration of President Joe Biden, who took office in January, has endorsed a determination by the previous Donald Trump administration that China is committing genocide in Xinjiang and said that the US must be prepared to impose costs on Beijing for its actions there, its crackdown in Hong Kong and threats towards Taiwan.
“I don’t think anyone is satisfied yet, with the international response to what has taken place in Xinjiang,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Friday.
“And that’s precisely why we are, in many ways, galvanising the world, galvanising collective action, to make clear that these sort of abuses against human rights in Xinjiang and elsewhere will not be tolerated,” he said.
Last week, Human Rights Watch said in a report that China has been cracking down on Muslims in Xinjiang by handing out long prison terms for dubious charges.
Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations human rights chief last week blasted reports of arbitrary detentions and ill-treatment of Uighurs, which includes sexual violence and forced labour, and called for an independent investigation into the situation.
The US State Department said the Chinese government has committed crimes against humanity, and continues to arbitrarily detain more than one million civilians in detention camps. Crimes also include torture, forced labour, as well as draconian restrictions on freedom of religion, expression and movement.
During the news conference on Friday, the US also called on China moves to change the Hong Kong electoral system a direct attack on its autonomy and democratic processes.
Earlier on Friday, Beijing proposed legislation that would tighten its increasingly authoritarian grip on Hong Kong by making changes to the electoral committee that chooses the city’s leader, giving it new power to nominate legislative candidates.
The measure, set to be approved during a week-long session of China’s rubber-stamp parliament, would further marginalise a democratic opposition decimated after Beijing imposed national security legislation following anti-government protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019.
The US condemned China’s “continuing assault on democratic institutions in Hong Kong,” Price said.
Price called Beijing’s moves “a direct attack on Hong Kong’s autonomy … freedoms and the democratic processes.”
“If implemented these measures would drastically undermine Hong Kong democratic institutions,” he said.