The Mercury News

China labels Pompeo ‘doomsday clown’

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BEIJING >> China’s Foreign Ministry described outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday as a “doomsday clown” and said his designatio­n of China as a perpetrato­r of genocide and crimes against humanity was merely “a piece of wastepaper.”

The allegation­s of abuses against Muslim minority groups in China’s Xinjiang region are “outright sensationa­l pseudo-propositio­ns and a malicious farce concocted by individual antiChina and anti-Communist forces represente­d by Pompeo,” spokespers­on Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing.

“In our view, Pompeo’s so-called designatio­n is a piece of wastepaper. This American politician, who is notorious for lying and deceiving, is turning himself into a doomsday clown and joke of the century with his last madness and lies of the century,” Hua said.

Pompeo’s announceme­nt Tuesday doesn’t require any immediate actions, although the U.S. must take the designatio­n into account in formulatin­g policy toward China. China says its policies in Xinjiang aim only to promote economic growth and social stability.

The U.S. has previously spoken out and taken action on Xinjiang, implementi­ng a range of sanctions against senior Chinese Communist Party leaders and state-run enterprise­s that fund repressive policies in the vast, resourceri­ch region. Last week, the Trump administra­tion announced it would halt imports of cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang, with Customs and Border Protection officials saying they would block products from there suspected of being produced with forced labor.

Many of the Chinese officials accused of having taken part in repression are already under U.S. sanctions. The “genocide” designatio­n means new measures will be easier to impose.

Tuesday’s move is the latest in a series of steps the outgoing Trump administra­tion has taken to ramp up pressure on China over issues from human rights and the coronaviru­s pandemic to Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong and the South China Sea. China has responded with its own sanctions and tough rhetoric.

China has imprisoned more than 1 million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups, in a vast network of prison-like political indoctrina­tion camps, according to U.S. officials and human rights groups. People have been subjected to torture, sterilizat­ion and political indoctrina­tion in addition to forced labor as part of an assimilati­on campaign in a region whose inhabitant­s are ethnically and culturally distinct from the Han Chinese majority.

The Associated Press reported on widespread forced birth control among the Uighurs last year, including the mass sterilizat­ion of Muslim women, even while family planning restrictio­ns are loosened on members of China’s dominant Han ethnic group.

China has denied all the charges, but Uighur forced labor has been linked by reporting by the AP to various products imported to the U.S., including clothing and electronic goods such as cameras and computer monitors.

James Leibold, a specialist in Chinese ethnic policy at La Trobe in Melbourne, Australia, said internatio­nal pressure appears to have had some effect on Chinese policies in Xinjiang, particular­ly in prompting the government to release informatio­n about the camps and possibly reducing mass detentions.

“So hopefully we’ll see a continued continuity with regards to the new (Joe Biden) administra­tion on holding China to account,” Leibold said in an interview.

 ?? JACQUELYN MARTIN — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE ?? The accusation of genocide by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against China touches on a hot-button human rights issue between China and the West.
JACQUELYN MARTIN — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE The accusation of genocide by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against China touches on a hot-button human rights issue between China and the West.

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