China Fires Back at Blinken’s Condemnation Regarding Uighurs: ‘No Genocide – Period’
A rare display of exasperation from China’s Foreign Ministry followed the newly sworn-in secretary of state’s assertion that Beijing has engaged in genocide against the Uighur minorities.
By Paul D. Shinkman Senior Writer, National Security • Jan. 28, 2021, at 10:40 a.m.
China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday offered a rare display of exasperation, hours after newly sworn-in Secretary of State Antony Blinken found common ground with his immediate predecessor in condemning Beijing’s treatment of the minority Uighur people.
“China has no genocide; China has no genocide; China has no genocide, period,” spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters early Thursday, saying, “the most important thing should be repeated three times.”
Beijing had previously expressed outrage at then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s determination days before President Joe Biden‘s inauguration that “China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China, targeting Uighur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups.”
The latest indignation followed similar assertions from Blinken, who in his first press conference late Wednesday said that, as the newly sworn-in secretary, he agreed with that assessment.
“My judgment remains that genocide was committed against the Uighurs and that hasn’t changed,” Blinken told reporters in response to a question about similar comments from his colleague Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s pick for U.N. ambassador, at her confirmation hearing earlier in the day.
China’s treatment of the Uighurs returned to front pages this week following International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday. Activists compared that 20th century crime against humanity to reports of Beijing’s systematic detention and forced relocation of as many as 1 million people in the far Western reaches of the country – what the Chinese Communist Party calls vocational education and training centers in the Xinjiang region.