A sign of hope for accountability emerged this month after two Myanmar soldiers finally admitted their crimes.
Sept. 17, 2020, 3:34 PM EDT
By Rayhan Asat, president of the American Turkic Lawyers Association
Over the past several years, the Chinese government has locked up more than a million Uighurs, including model citizens like my 34-year-old brother Ekpar Asat. A philanthropist and founder of a social media platform catering to the Uighur community known as Bagdax, he came to the United States in 2016 to participate in an exchange program sponsored by the State Department, one from which many world leaders and Chinese citizens of the majority Han ethnicity have benefited for decades. Within weeks of returning from the United States to Xinjiang in western China, he disappeared into the shadows of the internment camps.
After years of this unconscionable treatment, a sign of hope for accountability emerged this month, somewhat ironically in the form of revelations of atrocities committed against another ethnic Muslim minority in Asia, the Rohingya of Myanmar.
Authoritarian governments often emulate one another; one can find many similar practices between Myanmar and China. Both governments target and persecute ethnic minorities that do not conform to their artificial ideals. Both vehemently denythe allegations while deploying similar strategies and forms of punishment. Both authorities label their genocidal campaigns internal security matters and reject public criticism from democratic countries. Both governments have justified their actions by claiming that the ethnic minorities are extremists, legitimizing ruthless human rights violations under the guise of counterterrorism.
BBC journalist Andrew Marr confronted the Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, during a television interview Sunday over viral drone footage that appears to show the Communist government detaining hundreds of blindfolded and shaven prisoners kneeling in front of a train station in Xinjiang, China.
The footage, originally released late last year, has circulated widely online in light of increased information about Chinaâs treatment of the Uyghur minority population, over a million of whom have reportedly been subjected to forced âre-educationâ or detention camps, and in some instances forced sterilization, according to The Associated Press.
The Chinese ambassador, once again, deflects â this time, by bashing western intelligence and claiming they have lobbied false accusations against China.
Counting party members as well as their families, the ban could technically bar travel to the United States for as many as 270 million people, according to one internal administration estimate.
âThe overwhelming majority of C.C.P. members have no involvement or input into Beijingâs policymaking, so going after the entire party membership is like China sanctioning all Republicans because of frustrations with Trump,â said Jude Blanchette, a China scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. âSuch a move would inflame public opinion in China, as this would target nearly 10 percent of the entire Chinese population and would do so based on blanket assertions of guilt.â
Today, there is a lot of talk about a âNew Cold Warâ between China and the United States: a Cold War between authoritarianism and liberal democracy. But we all know that China did not become authoritarian just two years ago. The whole establishment of the United States has been very happy about Chinese authoritarianism for a long time.
Just two weeks after the June 4, 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square, on June 20, President George H. W. Bush wrote a secret letter to Deng Xiaoping. The letter said that the United States was not so mad about the Communist Party sending the army to shoot its people. Bush told Deng that the United States was only a two-hundred-years-young country, and China was a five-thousand-years-old country with great contributions to world civilization, so the Chinese leaders were wise and knew what was best for the Chinese people. Bush assured Deng that Tiananmen was not going to stand in the way of the great commercial relationship between the United States and China. If there were an ideology-based Cold War between the United States and China, it should have started thirty years ago. (...)