In one of his final acts as US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo this week branded the Chinese regime’s treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority as “genocide”—a false and hypocritical statement that is part of the propaganda of US imperialism as it prepares for war against China.
The new Biden administration has all but officially endorsed this highly provocative language. In the course of Biden’s presidential election campaign, as he sought to demonstrate that he would be tougher on China than Trump, he already branded the actions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against the Uyghurs as “genocide.”
Likewise, in the course of his Senate nomination hearing this week, Biden’s choice for secretary of state, Anthony Blinken expressed support for Trump’s aggressive confrontation against China. He specifically agreed, when asked, with Pompeo’s statement lashing out at China over the supposed genocide of the Uyghurs.
These statements are a sure demonstration that the Biden administration will escalate the war drive against China, which began with the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia” and was accelerated under the Trump administration. The American political establishment as a whole, even as it is enmeshed in the profound economic, political and social crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, is determined to prevent, by all available means, China from challenging US global hegemony.
Without providing a shred of evidence, Pompeo declared in his statement that the “Chinese party-state” was engaged in ongoing genocide and “the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs.” He accused Beijing of crimes against humanity, including the arbitrary detention of more than one million civilians, forced sterilisations, torture and heavy restrictions on other democratic rights.
None of these claims has ever been proven. The US figures on the number of forced detentions in Xinjiang has risen and risen without the slightest explanation or evidence. The annual China report published last week by the Congressional Executive Commission run by anti-China hawks such as Senator Marco Rubio puts the figure at 1.8 million—a number plucked from thin air without any indication as to how the total jumped from one million.
The statements by Pompeo and other anti-China propagandists, recycled endlessly and uncritically in the US and international media, are based on the dubious research of right-wing, anti-communist academics and unsubstantiated claims of prominent, and often wealthy, Uyghur exiles who run the American Uyghur Association and World Uyghur Congress, both of which receive funding from the CIA front body, the National Endowment for Democracy.
One such “expert,” German academic Adrian Zenz, who is repeatedly cited, is a denizen of a network of right-wing think tanks in Europe and the United States, including the European School of Culture and Theology in Germany and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, which specialises in the concoction of anti-communist propaganda. Zenz’s tendentious papers form much of the so-called evidence referenced in the latest Congressional report.
The Beijing regime is notorious for its police-state methods, and is undoubtedly responsible for the abuse of democratic rights in Xinjiang as it seeks to suppress separatist sentiment among Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. Its extensive state apparatus is above all directed at crushing any opposition in the working class as the pandemic continues to take its toll, including in China, and raises social tensions.
However, Blinken and Biden, following on from Trump and Pompeo, have not the slightest concern for the democratic rights of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and certainly not for Chinese workers, whose exploitation is a source of huge profits for American corporations. Rather this US “human rights” campaign, like the many others, is aimed at furthering the economic and strategic interests of US imperialism.
US administrations have repeatedly drummed up allegations of human rights abuses to justify regime-change operations, as well as neo-colonial wars, while turning a blind eye to the atrocities of allies and strategic partners such the autocratic monarchical regime in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, no one in Washington has been held accountable for monstrous crimes such as the slaughter of a million Iraqi citizens in its illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.
The accusation of “genocide” is particularly grotesque. Whatever the abuses being carried out by the CCP in Xinjiang, it is not engaged in mass murder or the destruction of the Uyghur population. To describe the alleged human rights violations as genocide is to trivialise the term and belittle the monstrous crimes of the 20th century, such as the Nazi holocaust, to which it can be applied.
The charge of “genocide” is tantamount to a declaration of war. Indeed, in 1999, the US and its NATO allies used false accusations of Serbian “genocide” of Kosovars as the pretext for launching a months-long bombing that rained death and destruction on Serbia and its people. Its purpose was to ensure American hegemony in the key strategic Balkans region.
Likewise, the US decision to focus attention on the Uyghur population of Xinjiang, rather than as in the past on Tibetans, is bound up with strategic considerations. China’s westernmost province is adjacent to the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia as well as having energy resources of its own. Xinjiang is also the route for many of the transport and communication links associated with President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at countering US attempts to encircle China.
More broadly, the US is pushing its phony human rights campaigns not only with regard to Xinjiang but also Hong Kong, Tibet and Mongolia, in a bid to undermine and ultimately fracture China.
The confrontation that began under the Obama administration was intensified across the board by the Trump administration—including the imposition of sweeping trade war measures against China, a rising number of US naval provocations in the South China and East China seas, closer ties and increased arms sales to Taiwan and moves toward a quadrilateral military alliance of “democracies,” embracing the US, Japan, Australia and India. The deployment of 60 percent of the US naval and air assets to the Indo-Pacific, first mooted under Obama, has been completed.
Far from overturning any of these measures, Biden has made clear that he intends to further consolidate alliances and partnerships to confront China head-on. The reckless foreign policies that characterised the Obama and Trump administrations will continue under Biden, intensifying the danger of all-out war between nuclear-armed powers and global catastrophe.