Washington, March 11: As Beijing continues to impose crackdowns on Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the United States on Wednesday (local time) called on China to grant access to the UN and international observers to detention centres in Xinjiang where tens of thousands of Uyghurs are being held.
"We are determined to put Human Rights and Democracy back at the centre of our Foreign Policy," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said when asked about China's abuses in Hong Kong and against Uyghurs. Blinken was testifying to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. US Secretary of State Tony Blinken Says Donald Trump Was Right to Take Tougher Approach on China.
"I think it would be very important if China claims that there is nothing going on, then it (must) give access to the international community, to the United Nations. If they have nothing to hide, show it to us; show the world and we will be calling for that," he said.
Blinken said that the US must make sure that they are not exporting and others are not exporting to China any products that can be used for the repression of their people.
"The first step is for us is to speak up and speak out. We want to make sure that we are building coalitions of like-minded countries who share these deep concerns about human rights abuses in China," he said.
The top US diplomat also said that the United States will continue to take action against individuals responsible for human rights violations in Hong Kong. "We need to advise our businesses as well that there are sanctions on the books, that they need to be mindful of if they're operating in Hong Kong, there are certain risks that come along with that," Blinken said.
He added, "We will continue to do that and speak out and take action against egregious violations of democracy and human rights in Hong Kong." According to Sputnik, Blinken said during a congressional hearing that he will raise concerns over the treatment of Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang province during a meeting with Chinese officials in Alaska next week.
"We will certainly be raising them again in Alaska," Blinken said on Wednesday when asked if he and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will raise the issue concerning Uyghurs during a meeting with Chinese counterparts on March 18.
China has long denied claims of genocide or mistreatment of the Uyghur people, and most recently the country's foreign minister addressed those accusations in a press conference Sunday.
"The so-called existence of genocide in Xinjiang is absurd. It is a complete lie fabricated with ulterior motives," Wang Yi said as reported by The Hill, adding that supposed "anti-China forces" were attempting to "undermine the security and stability of Xinjiang and hinder China's development and growth."
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party's brutal crackdown on the ethnic community.
Meanwhile, China imposed the draconian National Security Law in Hong Kong last year. The law criminalises secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces and carries with it strict prison terms. It came into effect from July 1. Since then, a number of former pro-democracy lawmakers have been arrested.
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