President Joe Biden held a press conference on Wednesday evening in which he described his hours-long meeting with People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping, but made no mention of discussing with Xi the genocide that Biden’s White House and State Department have said the Chinese regime is perpetrating.
Biden did make a fleeting and vague reference to “human rights” in describing his discussion with Xi — but he did not focus on it.
“And as I always do, I raised areas where the United States has concerns about the PRC’s actions, including detained and ex- — and exit-banned U.S. citizens, human rights, and corrective — coercive activities in the South China Sea,” Biden said, according to the White House transcript of the press briefing and the CSPAN video.
“We discussed all three of those things,” said Biden. “I gave them names of individuals that we think are being held, and hopefully we can get them released as well. No agreement on that. No agreement on that.”
When the Biden State Department released its annual country reports on human rights on March 20 of this year, Secretary of State Antony Blinken published a preface to the reports in which he stated that China was committing genocide against the Uyghur people and “other ethnic and religious minority groups” in its Xinjiang province.
“In Xinjiang, in the People’s Republic of China,” Blinken said in the preface posted on the department’s website, “the country report describes how genocide and crimes against humanity continued to occur against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and member of other ethnic and religious minority groups.”
The report itself noted that the PRC is an “authoritarian state” run by the Communist Party and that Xi himself is its most powerful official.
“The People’s Republic of China is an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party is the paramount authority,” said the State Department report. “Communist Party members hold almost all top government and security apparatus positions.”
“Xi Jinping continued to hold the three most powerful positions as party general secretary, state president, and chairman of the Central Military Commission,” it said.
“Genocide and crimes against humanity occurred during the year against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” the State Department report said.
“These crimes,” it said, “were continuing and included: the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians; forced sterilization, coerced abortions, and more restrictive application of the country’s birth control policies; rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence; torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained; and persecution including forced labor and draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of express, and freedom of movement.”
In December 2021, Congress passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which, its summary stated, “imposes importation limits on goods produced using forced labor in China, especially in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” At that time, then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement that said: “We agree with Congress that action can must be taken to hold the People’s Republic of China accountable for genocide and human rights abuses and to address forced labor in Xinjiang.”
On Sept. 19 of this year, Rep. Mike Gallagher, the chairman of the House Select Committee on China, sent a letter to Secretary of State Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging them to “rigorously enforce the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (UHRPA) and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). The UHRPA, according to its summary, “imposes sanctions on foreign individuals and entities responsible for human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
In this September letter, Gallagher cited what he called the “PRC government’s ongoing genocide.”
“The previous administration as well as the Biden administration have determined that the PRC government’s actions against the Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in the XUAR amount to genocide,” Gallagher wrote.
“In March 2023, this Committee held a hearing to further expose the PRC government’s ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs and invited Uyghur genocide and forced labor victims to testify before Congress,” wrote Gallagher.
“In May 2023,” Gallagher wrote, “Wang Huning, a member of the standing Committee of the Politburo, the top decision-making body of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reiterated the ‘importance of complete and accurate implementation of the Party’s Xinjiang policies in the new era to build a solid foundation for long-term security and stability in Xinjiang.’
“Wang’s comment,” said Gallagher, “signaled the CCP’s determination to continue to double down on its ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.”
“The PRC government’s ongoing genocide should not go without consequence,” wrote Gallagher.
At his Wednesday press briefing following his summit with Xi, President Biden described their discussion in positive terms.
“I just concluded several hours of meetings with President Xi and I believe they were some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had,” Biden said at the beginning of the briefing.
“Our meetings have always been candid and straightforward,” said Biden. “We haven’t always agreed, but they’ve been straightforward.”
In his statement at this briefing, Biden said that he and Xi discussed China’s production of the precursor chemicals used to make the deadly drug fentanyl, restarting military-to-military communications between the United States and China, Russia’s war in the Ukraine and “the conflict in Gaza.”
Then, Biden made his brief, generalized reference to “human rights.”
“First,” Biden said near the beginning of this briefing, “we are restarting cooperation between the United States and the PRC on counternarcotics.”
“With this new understanding,” he said, “we’re taking action to significantly reduce the flow of precursor chemicals and pill presses from China to the Western Hemisphere. It’s going to save lives, and I appreciate President Xi’s commitment on this issue.”
“Secondly,” said Biden. “and this is critically important, we are reassuming military-to-military contact—direct contacts.”
“And thirdly, we’re going to get our experts together to discuss risk and safety issues associated with artificial intelligence,” Biden said.
“President Xi and I also exchanged views on a range of regional and global issues, including Russia’s…brutal war of aggression against Ukraine and—and the conflict in Gaza,” said Biden.
Then, as quoted above, Biden stated that he had expressed U.S. “concerns” about “human rights.”
At the very end of the press briefing, a reporter asked Biden if he would still call Xi a “dictator”—and Biden said he would.
“Mr. President,” the reporter asked, “after today, would you still refer to President Xi as a ‘dictator’? This is a term that you used earlier this year.”
“Well, look, he is,” Biden responded. “I mean, he’s a dictator in the sense that he—he is a guy who runs a country that—it’s a communist country that is based on a form of government totally different from ours.
“Anyway,” said Biden, “we made progress.”
The White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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