Secretary of State Blinken highlights ongoing genocide claims against Uyghur Muslims ahead of China visit

April 23, 2024 by No Comments

Ahead of a planned visit to China this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is reported to have alleged that Beijing continues committing genocide against Uyghur Muslim minorities. The comments in the State Department’s annual report on human rights around the world echoed language from previous years concerning China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the western province of Xinjiang. However, the comments are notable now given the timing of Blinken’s trip, where he is expected to hold delicate talks with his counterparts on several key topics, including the ongoing war in Ukraine and global trade. In a preface the State Department’s report, Blinken said the findings document “ongoing grave human rights abuses in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).” He alleged that in Xinjiang, China is carrying out “genocide, crimes against humanity, forced labor, and other human rights violations against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups.” The report’s section on China details the detention of more than one million people in camps and prisons and the use of re-education camps in Xinjiang, among other abuses committed against the broader Chinese population.China for its part, has denied these allegations for years, saying these supposed concentration camps are “vocational training centers” to curb terrorism, separatism and religious radicalism.When he took office in 2021, Blinken endorsed a determination by his predecessor that China’s actions amounted to genocide, and he has raised the issue in meetings with Chinese officials.A senior State Department official briefing reporters last week on Blinken’s trip said human rights would be among the issues raised by Blinken with Chinese officials, but did not mention the situation in Xinjiang. Reuters contributed to this report.