The United States has accused China of committing “genocide and crimes against humanity” against Uighurs in an annual human rights report that also raised concerns about Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and Venezuela.
State Department Human Rights Report 2020 called China an “authoritarian state” that more than deprived of its liberty 1m Uighur and other Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang and participate in abuses, including rape, forced sterilization and forced abortion, as well as torture and forced labor.
While Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, had previously invited repression of the Uyghur “genocide”, the language in the report marked for the first time that the Biden administration had made an official statement.
The report was released a week after the US, EU, UK and Canada coordinated impose sanctions about Chinese officials because of the situation in Xinjiang, which is attracting more and more attention as Beijing prepares to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
“We are not trying. . . contain China or keep it. We are committed to advocating for basic principles, fundamental rights and a rules-based international order, ”Blinken said, presenting the report on Tuesday.
Beijing has denied widespread accusations of treating Uighurs and encouraged boycotts against foreign companies such as H&M that have taken a stand on the use of forced labor in the region.
Tensions between Washington and Beijing continue to rise, and President Joe Biden has embraced it much sharper attitude towards China than many experts expected.
The report also sharply criticized China for the situation in Hong Kong, following last year’s decision to impose a national security law on the territory.
Some of the law-enforcement security institutions were said to have engaged in abuses, including police brutality against pro-democracy protesters, arbitrary arrests ia suppression about the media and freedom of speech.
Blinken said the United States will use “a wide range of other tools to stop abuses” around the world, including possible sanctions approved by Hong Kong’s Human Rights and Democracy Act.
The top U.S. diplomat also dismissed suggestions that Washington should refrain from criticizing other countries for domestic problems, including “systemic racism.”
“We do not pretend that these problems do not exist or we try to sweep them under the rug. . . deal with them in daylight, with full transparency, ”he said.
The report did not refer to coup in Myanmar last month, but noted “extreme repression and discrimination” against the Rohingya Muslim minority, along with alleged torture and sexual violence by security forces in the western state of Rakhine.
Blinken said that the army carried out brutal actions against civilians, including the recent one killing more than 100 people, was “for condemnation.”
For Saudi Arabia, the State Department cited reports that Riyadh or its agents committed illegal killings, including efforts to assassinate Saad al-Jabri, a former senior Saudi intelligence official based in Canada.
The report adds that the Saudi government has occasionally failed to maximally punish people for committing human rights violations, creating an “environment of impunity.”
Five government agents charged with murder Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, the sentences were commuted from death to a maximum of 20 years in prison.
The report also mentions Venezuela, where the U.S. has refused to recognize Nicolás Maduro as the country’s legitimate leader since early 2019.
Although extrajudicial killings and torture continued, the report said, Maduro the regime was overthrown on freedom of expression and the press and “routinely” blocked signals or turned off privately owned television or radio stations. It also “basically criminalized” freedom of speech, the State Department said.