On Tuesday, Sec. of State Antony Blinken released the " 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices." Fortunately, the report touched upon many legitimate concerns of human rights abuses around the world, including the plight the Muslim Uyghurs face at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
A relevant except of the report's "Preface" read:
Too many people continued to suffer under brutal conditions in 2020. In China, government authorities committed genocide against Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and crimes against humanity including imprisonment, torture, enforced sterilization, and persecution against Uyghurs and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.
The fact that the United States formally recognized China was committing "Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity" did not go unnoticed. Examples of news outlet coverage include:
- Peter Martin for Bloomberg's "China Tension Under Biden Underscored by Human Rights Report"
- David Lawler for Axios' "U.S. human rights report documents China's "genocide" in Xinjiang"
- Colm Quinn for Foreign Policy's "Blinken Names and Shames Human Rights Abusers"
- The Guardian's "Antony Blinken says the US will 'stand up for human rights everywhere'"
In their press release of the report, International Christian Concern wrote in part:
One issue that Blinken and the report were quite clear about was China. The Secretary reaffirmed the genocide designation of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) systematic campaign against China’s Uyghur population, a designation given by his predecessor Mike Pompeo. The report included strong language against the suppression of China’s religious minorities and reiterates the United States’ commitment to countering the abuses of the CCP.
On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued a press release addressing the report. The statement in part reads, as it pertains to concerns with China:
“And it is hard to point to a regime more nefarious than the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Tragically, American companies conducting business in China continue to be directly and indirectly complicit in its abuses. The CCP is crushing long-cherished freedoms in Hong Kong, stomping out Tibetan religion and culture, silencing dissidents and journalists, and committing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
“The CCP’s heinous crimes against Uyghurs include mass internment, forced sterilization, sexual violence, forced abortion, forced labor, and more. It is for these reasons that the U.S. Senate should quickly pass the Rubio-Merkley Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to ensure goods made with Uyghur forced labor do not enter our supply chains.
“While the report can be a depressing outlook on the state of global affairs, there are so many brave individuals risking their lives to expose corruption, peacefully protesting brutal regimes, and standing up for their people. Their courage should inspire us all. The United States must reflect on its ability to be a beacon of light to the darkest corners of the globe. We must find ways to be a voice for the voiceless and use the tools we have to hold those responsible for human rights violations accountable.
“It is no coincidence that the countries on this list also represent serious national security threats to America and our allies. America remains the greatest country on Earth, and, if we are to be that shining city on a hill that President Reagan so eloquently described during the Cold War, the time for moral leadership and courage to defend human rights everywhere is now.”
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Last week, Sen. Rubio spoke to Townhall about the legislation he introduced earlier this year.
As I previously reported:
The letter is connected to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which was reintroduced on January 27 and is co-sponsored by Sens. Rubio and Merkley, as well as several Democratic and Republican colleagues. The Act aims to "ensure that goods made with forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China do not enter the United States market, and for other purposes."
Sen. Rubio provided a statement to Townhall about such efforts. "The Trump Administration rightly determined that Beijing’s heinous acts against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities constitute crimes against humanity and genocide. It is now the time for Congress to pass meaningful legislation such as my Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to ensure the CCP does not profit from its abuses. This bipartisan bill would address the systematic use of Uyghur forced labor and create a mechanism to ensure that Americans aren’t unknowingly complicit in the consumption of goods made by forced labor," said the senator.
Nevertheless, there were still some issues to be taken with Sec. Blinken and the report. For instance, as Bloomberg reported, Blinken wrote in the report that "Recognizing that there is work to be done at home, we are also striving to live up to our highest ideals and principles and are committed to working toward a fairer and more just society in the United States."
I'll say it until I'm blue in the face, but for the United States to play into China's hands by "recognizing that there is work to be done at home" when in comparison we're talking about what the Uyghurs are going through is embarrassing. I'm sure it's downright hilarious to the Chinese, who hit the United States hard on concerns with "systemic racism" and "Black Lives Matter" during that embarrassing summit in Alaska earlier this month.
Then there's concerns with religious freedoms, as ICC also brought up throughout in their release. There's an emphasis on how "but [Sec. Blinken] leaves emphasis of religious freedom less clear" and "there are also some shortcomings in the State Department’s religious freedom priorities." The release, in closing, writes, with original emphasis:
Matias Perttula, ICC’s Director of Advocacy, said “We at ICC welcome the progress that the State Department has made on promoting religious freedom and human rights around the world. However, we remain concerned whether the Biden administration is still committed to putting religious freedom as a central principle in the United States’ foreign policy priorities. We look forward to working with the State Department in ensuring that this vital right is protected for all.”
Other reporting took notice as well of this particular focus, or lack thereof. "State Dept. Reverses Trump Policies on Reproductive and Religious Freedoms," Lara Jakes wrote for the New York Times. As she reported:
Mr. Blinken also announced that he had dismantled an advisory committee, set up by Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state at the time, that had prioritized religious liberties and property rights among universal freedoms. Critics of the panel had accused Mr. Pompeo of using it to promote his evangelical Christian beliefs and conservative politics.
On Tuesday, Mr. Blinken said his disbanding of the panel, the Commission on Unalienable Rights, was to “repudiate those unbalanced views.”
“There is no hierarchy that makes some rights more important than others,” he said.
Well, that's surely a shame. In the United States, our freedom of religion is in the First Amendment for a reason, and ought to be something worth promoting around the world, especially when it comes to standing up to China, who is hellbent on forcing its citizens to become atheists, so that they're only worshiping their State as their religion.
Think about how horrifying that is for a moment. That it's so important to "repudiate" something Sec. of State Mike Pompeo under Trump did, that Sec. Blinken is willing to risk not coming down hard enough on religious freedom abuses. Did I mention yet that China is laughing at us?
Such is not the only dig at the Trump administration, however. What Jakes also wrote makes you think Blinken was reading right off of one of those "We Believe" yard signs you'll see in your liberal neighbors' yards, with added emphasis:
The report was completed during the Trump administration and, Mr. Blinken said, did not include examples of women who were refused health care and family planning information in nearly 200 countries and territories in 2020. He has directed officials to compile that data and identify violators this year “because women’s rights — including sexual and reproductive rights — are human rights,” Mr. Blinken told reporters at the department.
ABC News' Conor Finnegann is just as straightforward with his headline of "Blinken swipes at Trump administration in unveiling human rights report." In Nahal Toosi's piece for Politico, "Blinken rejects Pompeo’s human rights rankings in rollout of global report," there is an entire section devoted to "Women's reproductive rights," which in parts lays out what the Biden administration plans to do for future reports:
Because the new report is about 2020 and most of the work on it was done before Joe Biden became president, for now, the sections on “coercion in population control” were left in. The Biden administration announced, though, that later this year it would release an addendum to the report that delves into “a broader range of issues related to reproductive rights.”
“The addendum will cover maternal health issues such as maternal mortality, government policy adversely affecting access to contraception, access to skilled healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth, access to emergency healthcare, and discrimination against women in accessing sexual and reproductive health care, including for sexually transmitted infections,” the report states. “These topics were included in previous Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, and they will be included again in future years.”
In a word, the report is going to promote abortion worldwide. While Sec. Blinken is to be comended for recognizing what is happening to the Uyghurs is, in fact, a "genocide," this administration is one to watch and keep a suspicious eye over. As I've said before and will say again, if Biden truly "had spent more time with Xi Jinping than any world leader had," he needs to act like it and use that connection to his advantage if the United States is going to take the human rights abuses China is committing seriously.