When Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a press conference April 22 on the State Department’s release of its 2023 country reports on human rights practices, he said China was engaging in genocide in Xinjiang province. 

“The report documents atrocities reminiscent of humanity’s darkest moments,” Blinken said in Washington. “In Sudan, both the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces have committed war crimes. Rohingya [were targeted] in Burma, Uyghurs in Xinjiang—each victims of genocide and crimes against humanity.” 

“The United States will continue to raise our deep concerns directly with the governments responsible,” Blinken said. 

Since 2020, every annual State Department report on human rights in China has unambiguously stated that the communist regime running the country was committing genocide. 

“The People’s Republic of China is an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party is the paramount authority,” said the 2020 report. 

“Genocide and crimes against humanity occurred during the year against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” it said. 

The first sentence of the 2023 report, which the State Department released April 22, declares: “Genocide and crimes against humanity occurred during the year in China against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.” 

The second sentence cites many other human rights abuses this communist regime had perpetrated. These include “arbitrary or unlawful killings by the government; enforced disappearances by the government; torture by the government” and “involuntary or coercive medical or psychological practices.” 

The State Department report also says the government of China was guilty of “arbitrary interference with privacy including pervasive and intrusive technical surveillance and monitoring” and “serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media freedom, including criminal prosecution of journalists, lawyers, writers, bloggers, dissidents, petitioners, and others.” 

The new report also says this communist regime continued to carry out a coercive population-control policy. 

“Enforcement of the decades-old population-control policy, which originally limited parents to one child, relied on social pressure, education, propaganda, and economic penalties, as well as on measures such as mandatory pregnancy examinations, forced contraception, forced sterilizations, and coerced abortions,” says this new report. 

Blinken flew to the city of Shanghai, China, the day after holding his press conference, releasing the human rights report, and personally describing China’s Uyghur population as “victims of genocide and crimes against humanity.”

Over the course of three days, the secretary of state met with multiple leaders of China’s communist regime. In public statements he made in China on April 24, 25, and 26, he never specifically cited the genocide he had noted April 22 in Washington. 

On the night of April 24, after he arrived in Shanghai, Blinken attended the Chinese Basketball Association playoff game between the Shanghai Sharks and the Zhejiang Golden Bulls, according to the State Department. 

The next morning, Blinken met with Shanghai Chinese Communist Party Secretary Chen Jining in Shanghai. Before going into this meeting, he and Chen made public statements. The Communist Party secretary took note of what Blinken had done the previous night. 

“Last night I watched the news, and I saw that you went to our Yu Garden to enjoy our local delicacy, and you also watched our basketball match,” Chen told Blinken, according to a transcript published by the State Department. 

In his own remarks, Blinken talked about building “cooperation” with this communist government. 

“I think the direction from President [Joe] Biden and President Xi [Jinping] was to continue to build those lines of communication, to sustain, and again, to deal directly with our differences as we also seek to build cooperation,” Biden’s secretary of state said. 

Blinken then met with business leaders in Shanghai, where he talked about Biden’s meeting with Chinese Xi in California last November—and about America’s purchasing of Chinese imports. 

“And one of the things that President Biden and President Xi agreed when they met in San Francisco was that we have to—we need to find ways to put as much stability as possible into the relationships to make sure that we’re managing the relationship responsibly, which we’re committed to doing,” Blinken said. “And a big part of that is making sure that the economic relationship is working in ways that it should work to mutual benefit.” 

“We have, as you know, a relationship that has us as the largest market for products that are made in China. That remains the case,” Blinken said. 

In 2023, according to the Census Bureau, the United States purchased $427.22 billion in imports from China, while China purchased only $147.80 billion from the United States—resulting in a trade deficit of $279.42 billion. 

Blinken met April 26 with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

“Overall, the China-U.S. relationship is beginning to stabilize,” Wang said before the two officials went into their meeting. “Across the areas, our two sides have increased dialogue, cooperation, and the positive side of the relationship.” 

Blinken then said Biden had given him a specific instruction for this trip to Beijing: “to work on moving forward on the agreements that our two presidents reached in San Francisco at the end of last year: resuming cooperation on counternarcotics; restarting our military-to-military conversations; looking together at the future of artificial intelligence—its risks and safety issues; and trying to strengthen our people-to-people connections; but also, critically, managing responsibly our differences.” 

After meeting with Wang, Blinken met with Public Security Minister Wang Xiaohong. Then he met with Xi himself. 

“Now, even as we seek to deepen cooperation where our interests align, the United States is very clear-eyed about the challenges posed by the PRC [People’s Republic of China] and about our competing visions for the future,” Blinken said in a press conference after the meeting. “America will always defend our core interests and values.” 

The U.S. secretary of state then did mention Xinjiang, citing what he called “human rights abuses” there, not genocide. 

“I also raised concerns about the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and democratic institutions as well as transnational repression, ongoing human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet, and a number of individual human rights cases,” Blinken said. 

Blinken should have unambiguously condemned Xi for the genocide his communist regime has perpetrated. 


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