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‘Different norms’: Biden downplays China’s repression of Uighurs

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At his CNN town hall Tuesday night, President Joe Biden downplayed China’s repression of its Uighur Muslim minority, which former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month declared “genocide,” instead calling the mass internment a “different norm.”

The president’s remarks come a few days after his first phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping and after the U.S. State Department earlier this month said it was “deeply disturbed” by a report from the BBC about the systemic rape and torture of millions of Uighurs. Following the report’s release, China banned BBC World News from its airwaves.

Tuesday evening, Biden was asked by CNN host Anderson Cooper about his roughly two-hour talk with the Chinese leader and began by talking about Xi’s justification for the human rights violations.

“If you know anything about Chinese history, it has always been, the time when China has been victimized by the outer world is when they haven’t been unified at home,” Biden began. “So the central—well, vastly overstated—the central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that.”

“I point out to him no American president can be sustained as a president, if he doesn’t reflect the values of the United States,” the president continued. “And so the idea—I am not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uighurs in western mountains of China and Taiwan, trying to end the One China policy by making it forceful […] [Xi] gets it.”

“Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow,” he continued.

Biden was also asked if there would be repercussions for the Chinese Communist Party for the human rights violations.

“Well, there will be repercussions for China and [Xi] knows that. What I’m doing is, making clear that we, in fact, are going to continue to reassert our role as spokespersons for human rights at the UN and other agencies that have an impact on their attitude,” he said.

Moreover, the U.S. president was also asked if China was already too powerful to be prevented from continuing its human rights abuses.

“China is trying very hard to become the world leader,” Biden said. “And to get that moniker and be able to do that, they have to gain the confidence of other countries. And as long as they are engaged in activity that is contrary to basic human rights, it’s going to be hard for them to do that.

“But it’s much more complicated than that,” he added, “I shouldn’t try to talk China policy in 10 minutes on television here.”

Pompeo fired back at Biden for his remarks about China, telling the Fox News show “Mornings with Maria” Wednesday that Biden was evoking “Chinese propaganda.”

“That language that it’s just a set of different norms, that’s the Chinese propaganda line, they want you to think this is just a quiet nation [that] may have a little bit of a different system, but goodness gracious, what’s all the fuss about?” Pompeo told host Maria Bartiromo.

“The truth of the matter is they are trying to wipe out an entire people,” he said.

On top of that, Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his confirmation hearings in January agreed with the then-outgoing Pompeo about China’s actions against the Uighurs being a “genocide.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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U.S. Commerce Department: Chinese firms are supplying Russian entities

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On Tuesday, the United States Commerce Department said several companies in China are supplying Russia’s military. The announcement was made alongside a “new round of blacklist restrictions for foreign firms aiding Moscow’s war against Ukraine” reports National Review.

“These entities have previously supplied items to Russian entities of concern before February 24, 2022 and continue to contract to supply Russian entity listed and sanctioned parties after Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine,” stated an official Commerce Department notice posted to the Federal Register.

“Commerce also blacklisted several Chinese companies and Chinese government research institutes for their work on naval-technology and supplying Iran with U.S. tech in a way that harms America’s national security” adds National Review.

Six companies that are helping further the Russian invasion are also based in Lithuania, Russia, the U.K., Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

National Review reports:

The Commerce Department stopped short of blaming the Chinese government for the sanctions-evasion activity it identified today. Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo previously said that there doesn’t appear to be any “systemic efforts by China to go around our export controls.” The Biden administration has publicly and privately warned Beijing against supporting the Russian war, with White House officials even leaking to the press about an effort to present China’s ambassador in Washington with information about Russian troop movements ahead of the invasion.

While Beijing has not expressed outright support for the invasion, it has used its propaganda networks to back Moscow’s narrative. Meanwhile, top Chinese and Russian officials have moved to solidify the “no-limits” partnership they declared in early February. General secretary Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin held a call this month, marking the construction of a new bridge between their two countries, during which they reiterated their support for the burgeoning geopolitical alignment.

National-security adviser Jake Sullivan said last month that the U.S. has no indications that Beijing has provided Russia with military equipment. A Finnish think tank, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, estimated on June 12 that Chinese imports of Russian oil since the outset of the conflict have amounted to $13 billion, making China the biggest consumer of the country’s oil exports. Previously, it was Germany. “While Germany cut back on purchases since the start of the war, China’s oil and gas imports from Russia rose in February and remained at a roughly constant level since,” the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission noted.

Official advisor Anton Gerashchenko tweeted incredible video of Ukrainian soldiers sweeping through fields, writing “this is how our fields are de-mined so that farmers can harvest crops.”  On Monday a Russian missile struck a mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, where over 1,000 civilians were inside.

“Almost two dozen people were still missing Tuesday one day after a Russian airstrike struck a Ukrainian shopping mall and killed 18 civilians inside…On top of the 18 dead and 21 people missing, Ukrainian Interior Minster Denis Monastyrsky said 59 were injured. Several of the dead were burned beyond recognition” reported the New York Post.

 

 

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