On Friday, Oct. 23, the White House called the internment centers in Xinjiang, in northeast China, “concentration camps,” since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has deprived more than a million Uighur Muslims of their freedom.
“There is no credible justification I can find in Chinese philosophy, religion, or moral law for the concentration camps inside your borders,” said President Trump’s Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger.
As the Washington Examiner noted, Pottinger has been leading the Trump administration’s foreign policy issues with the CCP. His recent remarks were made at a British think tank and his speech, delivered in Mandarin, was addressed to Chinese leaders.
The Trump administration’s rhetoric toward the CCP has been intensifying in recent weeks.
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, on Friday, Oct. 16, said of the Uighur situation, “If not a genocide, something close to it [is] going on in Xinjiang.”
O’Brien also mentioned the seizures by U.S. Customs of “massive numbers” of hair products made from human hair from Xinjiang, according to Reuters.
So far the CCP has denied any form of abuse and has claimed that camps in Xinjiang provide vocational training and help combat extreme terrorism.
As the human rights and religious freedom magazine Bitter Winter pointed out, internment camps are subject to political re-education aimed solely at eliminating the culture, language, and tradition of the Uighurs.
Congressional-Executive Commission on China stated that the CCP has forcibly detained more than 1 million Uighurs, most of them have not committed any crime and have no charges against them. Nor do they have legal representation.
At the end of August, during a press conference at the Institute of International Relations in Paris, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi ignored the existing concerns of different European countries about human rights abuses and urged them not to meddle in China’s internal affairs.
Last June, President Donald Trump signed a Uighur human rights policy after facing criticism from former National Security Adviser John Bolton who accused him of allegedly supporting Xi Jinping’s decision to create detention camps.
President Trump said he had not mentioned the current situation of Uighur detainees due to efforts to secure a trade agreement with China, according to the Washington Examiner.
If anything, the Trump administration has so far taken various steps to condemn the CCP’s treatment of Uighurs. Recently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the Vatican to take a bold stand against the CCP and refrain from renewing the 2018 diplomatic agreement.
As well as Uyghur Muslims, different religious communities that are violated by the Chinese Communist have received the attention of the United States government, pushing for an end to the repression of human rights.
Last July, in a statement commemorating the 21st anniversary of the persecution of members and supporters of the ancient Chinese spiritual discipline, Falun Gong, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the Chinese Communist Party to definitively end the repression of this discipline that has been ongoing since 1999.
“Extensive evidence shows the PRC government [the CCP] continues to repress and abuse this community to this day, including reported torture of Falun Gong practitioners and detention of thousands.,” Pompeo said.