China will pay a price for its human rights abuses, US President Joe Biden warned yesterday in responding to questions at a televised event on Beijing’s handling of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
President Xi Jinping has drawn global criticism for holding Uygurs in internment and work camps and other human rights abuses.
“Well, there will be repercussions for China – and he knows that,” Biden said of Xi when pressed on the issue at a “town hall” event in Milwaukee televised by CNN.
The United States will reassert its global role in speaking up for human rights, Biden declared, adding that he would work with the international community to get China to protect them.
“China is trying very hard to become a world leader and to get that moniker,” Biden said, “and to be able to do that they have to gain the confidence of other countries.
“As long as they are engaged in activity that is contrary to basic human rights it is going to be hard for them to do that.”
In a two-hour phone call with Xi this month, Biden had emphasized Washington’s priority of preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region, where the United States and China are major strategic rivals.
Biden has also voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and human rights issues, such as its crackdown on Hong Kong, the Xinjiang internments and increasingly assertive actions elsewhere in Asia, including toward Taiwan.