The below article was written by Rebecca Burnett and published by the WDVM. Photo credit: WDVM
WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Just hours before the U.S. presidential transition of power, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hit China with new sanctions by declaring China’s treatment of Uyghurs as “genocide.”
The East Turkistan Government in Exile has been advocating for the designation for years. Its prime minister, and hundreds of its members, have families who are locked in concentration camps in China. Over 1 million people are imprisoned, tortured, forcefully sterilized, and forced to work.
Last week, the Trump administration announced it would halt imports of cotton and tomatoes from the region if suspected of being produced with forced labor. The Trump administration also blocked imports from individual companies linked to forced labor.
Prime Minister Salih Hudayar says the Government in Exile was concerned about President Joe Biden’s stance on China until his nominee, Antony Blinken, testified at his confirmation hearing.
“He actually supported the genocide designation and some of the policymakers that have been nominated for key National Security Council positions, they hold a pretty tough stance on China,” Hudayar said.
The U.S. has a long way to go, says Hudayar. The Government in Exile is calling on the Department of Justice to implement its genocide code and prosecute China’s U.S. diplomats. Hudayar is urging President Biden to encourage U.S. allies to make the designation, too.
He also wants the Biden administration to take “a more proactive approach” in understanding why the genocide is happening in the first place.
“Simply it’s because China has been occupying East Turkistan,” Hudayar said. “We want the U.S. government to recognize East Turkistan as an occupied country and to at least treat our issue on par with the Tibetan issue.”
Hudayar is inviting Biden to meet with the Government in Exile. The Trump administration met with the Tibetan Government in Exile, or the Central Tibetan Administration, in November.