01/20/2021, 09.55
USA-CHINA
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Pompeo: Uyghurs victims of genocide by Beijing. His successor concurs

The outgoing secretary of state attacks the Chinese for the repression of Muslims in Xinjiang. His accusations confirmed by the UN, independent researches and various media. The Chinese respond with irony. Antony Blinken: Trump's "tough" policy towards China corrected.

Washington (AsiaNews) - The repression of Uyghurs and other Islamic minorities living in Xinjiang "is genocide," affirmed outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday. It was his last act before the handover of the Trump administration to the Biden administration, later today.

Pompeo stated the world " we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state". However, his declaration was not followed by the imposition of new sanctions on Beijing.

China is widely accused of having organized a system of internment camps to keep the Uyghur and Kazakh populations under control. According to expert data, confirmed by the United Nations, over a million Uyghurs and other Turkish-speaking minorities of Islamic faith are arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang, which the local population calls "East Turkestan".

Recent press revelations have also highlighted the existence of labour camps in Xinjiang, where hundreds of thousands of Muslims are reportedly employed by force, especially in the cotton harvest. China produces 20% of the world's cotton, most of it in this north-western region.

German researcher Adrian Zenz reported that the Chinese government is also conducting a forced sterilization campaign to control the growth of the population of Uyghur origin. His work is based on official data, government documents and direct testimony.

AsiaNews also collected testimonies on the treatment reserved for Xinjiang Muslims. Last March, Uyghur dissident intellectual Abdürreşit Celil Karluk said that the Chinese government had interned several of his family members to silence him: one of his brothers was paralyzed by the torture he suffered in captivity.

The Chinese deny all charges, arguing that the Xinjiang camps are vocational training centres and poverty reduction projects. State media responded to Pompeo's allegations by claiming that the Trump government is responsible for genocide against the US population, having handled the pandemic in a disastrous way.

Other attacks also came from the "wolf warriors", the new and more aggressive Chinese generation of diplomats. Li Yang, consul general of Beijing in Brazil used sarcasm. He called Pompeo the best secretary of state in history, capable of "destroying the image" of the United States and making China even "greater".

The Asian giant will soon realize that the changing of the guard in Washington will not lead to a change in attitude. For analysts, Pompeo’s exit now puts pressure on Joe Biden, who will have to articulate a concrete political position on Xinjiang. Antony Blinken, the new head of US diplomacy, said he concurred with Pompeo's statement.

During his confirmation hearing in the Senate, he said he believed Trump's harsh approach against China was "right": While the substance is retained, he stressed, the way of doing relations with Beijing will change.

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