Uyghurs Condemn ‘Weak’ Biden U.N. Speech for Failing to Mention China’s Genocide

The East Turkic government-in-exile, which represents the majority of the Turkish population of the Chinese-occupied Asia region, condemned President Joe Biden on Wednesday for failing to call China’s genocide of their people genocide during his speech to the United Nations general that day Assembly.

Biden spoke a day late on the platform and dedicated most of his speech to the eight-year war between Russia and Ukraine. Towards the end of his speech, he mentioned China’s genocide in East Turkistan – using the Communist Party’s name for the region, Xinjiang – but did not call it a “genocide.”

“Human rights are the basis for everything we want to achieve. And yet today, in 2022, fundamental freedoms are at risk in all parts of our world,” Biden said, “by the violations of — in Xinjiang — detailed in recent reports by the United Nations Office — the U.S., reports of the United States [U.N.] High Commissioner, on the horrific abuses against pro-democracy activists and ethnic minorities by the military regime in Burma, on the increasing oppression of women and girls by the Taliban in Afghanistan.”

Biden addressed US-China policy elsewhere in his speech, but not in relation to the Uyghur genocide.

For decades, the Chinese Communist Party has oppressed the people of East Turkistan, once an independent republic currently administered by Beijing as the “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” Human rights activists and researchers, with the help of genocide survivors, have extensively documented a campaign under dictator Xi Jinping that incarcerated locals in concentration camps, mass-sterilized entire villages, killed, enslaved, and tortured locals, and subjected every resident to high-tech surveillance. The Uyghur Tribunal, an independent organization of international legal experts, concluded that China was guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” of genocide against the Uyghur, Kazakh and Kyrgyz populations of East Turkestan, citing in particular the scale of the forced sterilization campaign as evidence meet the definition of the crime.

Both the administrations of President Donald Trump and Joe Biden have formally declared the abuses against indigenous peoples in the region as genocide.

“President Biden’s speech to the UN General Assembly was weak,” East Turkestan government-in-exile Prime Minister Salih Hudayar said in a statement on Wednesday. “He has failed to effectively highlight and condemn China’s ongoing genocide of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan.”

Government-in-exile President Ghulam Yaghma described the wider exile community as “very disheartened” by Biden’s comments and the missed opportunity his speech represented.

“The global diaspora of East Turkestan is deeply discouraged by President Biden’s failure to adequately address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in East Turkestan at the UN General Assembly,” Yaghma said. “We call on ALL nations to stop downplaying China’s ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in occupied East Turkestan as mere ‘human rights abuses’.”

While Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken categorically called the Uyghur genocide a “genocide,” Biden made bizarre comments during his presidency that suggested a lack of urgency in addressing the matter. For example, during a CNN town hall last year, Biden appeared to claim that Washington must respect “other norms” responsible for Xi’s brutality — and that to the extent that he mentions human rights abuses in conversation with Xi, Xi “gets.” that Biden does not actually want an end to the violence.

“The idea that I’m not going to speak out against who he is [Xi] what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uyghurs in the western mountains of China and Taiwan is trying to end the One China policy by enforcing it by force.” Biden said, “[h]We get it. Culturally, there are different norms that each country and they – their leaders – are supposed to follow.”

The Uyghur genocide, while arguably the world’s most serious ongoing human rights abuse, was not a prominent issue at the United Nations, where China has spent years illicitly buying influence and placing allies in top positions. The Chinese communist regime, which has yet to stand on the podium at the General Assembly, has invested to counter reporting facts about the genocide with state propaganda, which the UN provides a platform for. On Thursday, the World Uyghur Congress, an organization that advocates for the Uyghur diaspora, highlighted an event by the Chinese regime at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, where residents of East Turkestan insisted the region was peaceful and free. China is a member of the Human Rights Council.

East Turkestan’s government-in-exile also expressed particular disgust at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of the world’s most populous and prominent Turkish state. Erdogan called the attacks against Uyghurs in China in 2009 “genocide” but has all but stopped discussing the issue after signing lucrative trade deals with Beijing.

“We condemn in the strongest terms Turkish President Erdogan’s damaging statement before the UN General Assembly,” Vice President Abdulahat Nur said in a statement. “East Turkestan is an occupied country; Restoring East Turkestan’s legitimate independence is the only way to ensure the livelihood, fundamental rights and freedoms of the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples.”

Erdogan said in his speech to the General Assembly that he was “sensitive to protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of Muslim Uyghur Turks without compromising China’s territorial integrity, its understanding of one China and its sovereignty rights.”

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