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Rep. Clyburn refuses to comment on State Dept. saying China is committing ‘genocide’ against Uighur Muslims

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Following the U.S. State Department on Tuesday publicly accusing China of committing “genocide” against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) refused to comment on the declaration issued by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, saying he doesn’t “react to the headlines.”

When asked for his reaction to the declaration during a Fox News interview, Clyburn said: “I try to stay out of these foreign affairs matters. I have not made that a particular endeavor of mine in the Congress. I listen to these things and I usually reserve comment when they are bordering on international issues, and I will today as well.”

Fox News anchor Sandra Smith then asked if he supported the declaration, to which Clyburn replied, “I don’t react to the headlines,” going on to complain about how politics is too soundbite-driven, eventually saying, “I’ll have to see with the substance of [the declaration] is.”

Smith offered some more context about the declaration to South Carolina Democrat, bringing up President-elect Joe Biden‘s treasury nominee Janet Yellen who said on Tuesday at her confirmation hearing that China is guilty of “horrendous human rights abuses” when she was asked if President Xi Jinping committed genocide.

Smith then asked Clyburn the same question and he reiterated that he’s going to “stay out” of international affairs. He also said that Pompeo “has not been one of my favorite people” and criticized the departing secretary of state for making such a move on his last day of office.

Smith pressed Clyburn some more, asking him if he thinks President Xi and China committed genocide.

“You can ask me as many times as you wish,” he replied. “I’m going to wait to see what an administration I trust, what conclusions they come up with. I’m not going to pass judgment on that.”

The statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo comes less than 24 hours before Biden becomes president, making this declaration one of Pompeo’s final acts as secretary of state. His statement also forces the incoming president to decide whether or not to maintain the declaration.

In the statement published Tuesday, Pompeo accused the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of committing “crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang” as far back as March 2017.

These crimes, the United States’ chief diplomat said, include “the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians, forced sterilization, torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained, forced labor, and the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement.”

Moreover, Pompeo’s move is the latest in a series of actions against China by the Trump administration, with tensions between the U.S. and China having escalated over the past year.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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New documents show China trying to establish ‘satellite state’ in Caribbean

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China has been “exploiting a fragile security environment and taking advantage of the region’s need for economic investment to gain influence and advance its malign agenda” in a move that challenges U.S. hegemony in the Americas, U.S. Southern Command Comm. General Laura Richardson recently told Congress in written testimony.

The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, located about 220 miles from the U.S. Virgin Islands, is where China is planning to establish a special Chinese-run economic zone, according to documents reviewed by Newsweek

Just The News  reports that per the documents, the area will have its own customs and immigration facilities, a shipping port and it will even issue passports. China will also establish different kinds of businesses that will specialize in things from facial surgery to virology, the latter of which is closely associated with the research in Wuhan that is the suspected source of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for SOUTHCOM said that the U.S. military is “aware that China may use its commercial and diplomatic presence for military purposes. In Asia, Africa and the Middle East, China has already abused commercial agreements at host-country ports for military aims; our concern is they may do the same in this region.”

More than two-thirds of the 31 nations under SOUTHCOM’s responsibility have signed onto China’s belt-and-road initiative, which is Beijing’s program to lend money to developing nations to use for infrastructure projects, according to Just The News.

Several nations have had problems with repaying such loans, resulting in Beijing seizing the country’s assets. For example, Sri Lanka struggled to pay back Beijing in 2017 and instead signed off the rights to a strategic port, according to Foreign Policy.

Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., a member of the House Oversight Committee proving China’s incursion inside the U.S. sphere of influence, told Just the News on Monday night that Beijing’s aggression in the Caribbean reminded him of the Soviet’s intervention in Fidel Castro’s Cuba more than a half century earlier.

“It reminds me of Russia’s involvement in Cuba, just 220 miles off the shore of the US Virgin Islands. We have Antigua. It used to be considered the United States back yard. Unfortunately, today, it’s China’s front yard,” Burlison told the “Just the News, No Noise television show. “And China has used the united front to enter into loan agreements and contracts to create trade zones within Antigua in order to gain a foothold into the Caribbean.”

“And this is just part of their efforts around the globe, whether it’s in African countries or Laos. They’re they’re creating a network to try to undermine the U.S. dollar and try to end run around some of our tariffs and other programs,” he warned.

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