Already strained relations between China and the US were yesterday further muddied after the US Congress overwhelmingly approved a bill targeting Beijing’s mass crackdown on ethnic Muslim minorities, less than one week after US President Donald Trump signed separate human rights legislation on Hong Kong.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has long regarded Hong Kong and Xinjiang as crucial areas for asserting territorial sovereignty, and has responded with fury to what it considers foreign meddling.
“Xinjiang is China’s Xinjiang,” said a statement from the Chinese State Ethnic Affairs Commission, echoing another government mantra: “Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong.”
The Uighur Human Rights Policy Act denounces the detention of an estimated 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and others in Xinjiang, home to the predominantly Muslim minority groups.
It would require the US Department of State to evaluate whether Chinese officials would meet the criteria for sanctions for their roles in enacting oppressive policies.
The bill “disregards the facts and mixes up black and white,” said the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) in one of a slew of strongly worded rebukes from government departments.
“It is regrettable that US Congress has not only turned a blind eye to Xinjiang’s efforts to combat terrorism and protect human rights in accordance with laws and regulations, but also to Xinjiang’s current economic development, social stability, national unity and religious harmony,” the NPC commission said.
Former detainees and their family members have said that they were arbitrarily held in heavily secured, prison-like camps where they were pressured to renounce their faith and express gratitude to the CCP.
A leak last month of classified Chinese government documents revealed a blueprint for rewiring the thoughts of ethnic minorities who had not committed any crimes.
Beijing has said that the measures are necessary to combat terrorism and eradicate religious extremism, calling the facilities “vocational training centers” for those who lack employable skills.
“The US bill smears our efforts in counterterrorism and deradicalization, which only reveals America’s double standards on counterterrorism and further exposes to the Chinese people its hypocrisy and malicious intentions,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) told a regular media briefing in Beijing.
Tensions over the US bills have cast doubt over the potential for a trade deal between the two countries, which have been embroiled in a 16-month tariff dispute.
Trump on Tuesday said that he has “no deadline” for striking an agreement and that he might wait until after the US presidential election in November next year, triggering a sell-off in global markets.
Asked about Trump’s comments, Hua yesterday said that Beijing too had no timeline for ending the protracted trade dispute.
“We will not set any time limit on when the deal will or will not be reached,” Hua said.
“This agreement and these negotiations must be based on equality and mutual respect,” she said.
“If we are faced with the pressure of unilateralism, protectionism, and trade bullying, we will have no choice and must take resolute and decisive measures to defend our legitimate and lawful interests,” Hua added.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted