Continuing the hostile rhetoric against Beijing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken slammed China on Tuesday for a series of alleged human rights abuses while announcing the release of the State Department’s annual report on global human rights.
In the summary of the massive China section in the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the US accuses Beijing of carrying out a “genocide” against the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, reaffirming that the Biden administration agrees with a last-minute designation of the Trump administration.
The designation of genocide in Xinjiang relies largely on claims of forced sterilization from a paper by German researcher Adrien Zenz. A report from The Grayzone that took a close look at Zenz’s work found the paper relied on data manipulation and fraudulent claims to reach its conclusion.
While it’s tough to know what’s happening inside Xinjiang, the incendiary claims from the US are being used as a pretext for intervention. Last week, the US, EU, UK, and Canada imposed coordinated sanctions against Chinese officials over allegations in Xinjiang.
The Trump administration had pursued similar anti-China policies, but the ability of the Biden administration to get its allies to play along is escalating tensions. At his first press conference last week, President Biden vowed to not allow China to become the world’s “leading” country. He portrayed the US-China relationship as a battle between democracies and autocracies.
A reporter asked Blinken on Tuesday if he feared the US was creating blowback, or an “alliance of autocracies,” by rallying against China. Blinken responded by insisting that the US was not trying to be confrontational with Beijing.
“We’re not trying to, for example, contain China or keep it down. What we are about is standing up for basic principles, basic rights, and a rules-based international order that has served us and countries around the world very, very well,” he said.
While Blinken claims the US is not trying to “contain” China, the view from Beijing looks very different. Besides rallying allies to coordinate on sanctions, the US is also looking to boost military cooperation in the region, and the Pentagon is seeking an additional $27 billion in funding for the Indo-Pacific. Included in the military’s wishlist for the Indo-Pacific is a new network of long-range missiles near China’s coast.