Friday, May 10, 2019

Mike Pompeo and Washington's Hypocrisy Regarding Human Rights Issues in China

During a recent press conference with Randall G. Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, a report on military and security developments in China and its goals of being a player in a new multipolar world revealed this:

"It's also important to note, as our report does, that last year the Chinese Communist Party's Central Military Commission took sole authority of the People's Armed Police. The People's Armed Police, of course, is the primary force for internal security.  And, of course, our concerns are significant when it comes to the ongoing repression in China.  The Communist Party is using the security forces for mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps." (my bold)

This comment led to this exchange:

"Question: mentioned the -- the Chinese were using concentration camps.  Could you explain why you used that -- the terminology?

MR. SCHRIVER:  ...the detention camps, given what we understand to be the magnitude of the detention, at least a million but likely closer to 3 million citizens out of a population of about 10 million, so a very significant portion of the population, what's happening there, what the goals are of the Chinese government and their own public comments make that a very, I think, appropriate description." (my bold)

Obviously, the use of the term "concentration camp" is an explosive one given that most people associate the term with the German National Socialist party's use of such camps for its program of ethnic cleansing of Europe.  According to Amnesty International, these camps are located in the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous in China's far west as shown on this map 

Amnesty International believes that up to 1 million Uighurs are being detained in what China terms "re-education" camps as part of its "Regulations on De-extremification" which were adopted in March 2017.  Under these regulations, people in the region are not allowed to openly or privately display religious or cultural affiliation including the following:

"(1) Advocating or spreading extremist thinking;

(2) Interfering with others' freedom of religion by forcing others to participate in religious activities, forcing others to supply properties or labor services to religious activity sites or religious professionals;

(3) Interfering with activities such as others' weddings and funerals or inheritance;

(4) Interfering with others from having communication, exchanges, mixing with, or living together, with persons of other ethnicities or other faiths; or driving persons of other ethnicities or faiths to leave their homes

(5) Interfering with cultural and recreational activities, rejecting or refusing public goods and services such as radio and television.

(6) Generalizing the concept of Halal, to make Halal expand into areas other beyond Halal foods, and using the idea of something being not-halal to reject or interfere with others secular lives;

(7) Wearing, or compelling others to wear, burqas with face coverings, or to bear symbols of extremification;

(8) Spreading religious fanaticism through irregular beards or name selection;

(9) Failing to perform the legal formalities in marrying or divorcing by religious methods;

(10) Not allowing children to receive public education, obstructing the implementation of the national education system;

(11) Intimidating or inducing others to boycott national policies; to intentionally destroy state documents prescribed for by law, such as resident identity cards, household registration books; or to deface currency;

(12) Intentionally damaging or destroying public or private property;

(13) Publishing, printing, distributing, selling, producing, downloading, storing, reproducing, accessing, copying, or possessing articles, publications, audio or video with extremification content;

(14) Deliberately interfering with or undermining the implementation of family planning policies;

(15) Other speech and acts of extremification."

These laws were put into effect as part of China's moves to "...prevent extremist violations, and bring about social stability and lasting peace and order."

With that background, let's take a moment and look at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent appearance on CBS's Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan.  Watch how he tap dances around the number of people in China's and his description of the camps which he absolutely refuses to call "concentration camps", unlike the spokesman for the Department of Defense:

"MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about China. Chinese officials are headed here to Washington for trade talks. We heard from a Pentagon official on Friday, a pretty stark description of what is underway right now in China. He- he said that there are 3 million Muslims being rounded up into concentration camps in China. Why hasn't the administration taken any kind of action or sanction against Beijing for this?

SEC. POMPEO: Oh goodness. The- President Trump has pushed back against China in a way that no previous president had--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Concentration camps--

SEC. POMPEO: --they'd- they'd given- they- they had given the Chinese a free pass in every dimension. President Trump is now pushing back on the enormous trade abuses. You've seen me personally speak out about the same situation that you're describing, this- this number certainly up to a million people held in reeducation campsThe Trump administration is going to hold every nation accountable--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You're okay with that term, reeducation camps, not concentration camps, which the Pentagon used?

SEC. POMPEO: We can- we can use lots of different terms to describe what's taking place. This is an enormous human rights violations. I've spoken about it repeatedly--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why the difference between--

SEC. POMPEO: --the entire administration has spoken on it repeatedly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You just said a million minorities.


MARGARET BRENNAN: The Pentagon says 3 million.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Is there a discrepancy within the administration--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --on what to do about this and what's actually happening?

SEC. POMPEO: There- there- there- there's not. Don't- don't don't play ticky tac. There's no discrepancy. This administration this- this--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Concentration camps is a loaded term, sir.

SEC. POMPEO: Ma'am--

MARGARET  BRENNAN: And three million Muslims being rounded up is something that many would expect the United States to raise--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --at the highest levels.

SEC. POMPEO: And- and we've done so.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So- sanctions--

SEC. POMPEO: So it sounds like you're satisfied with that.


SEC. POMPEO: Right, we- we've done so, right? And so- don't- don't- don't- don't- don't make--"

He refuses to discuss his one million number versus the DoD's number of three million and his use of the term "re-education camps" versus the DoD's use of the term "concentration camp" despite the fact that both are extremely important points.  This begs the question: "Why is he tap-dancing around what should be a key issue?".

On the upside, as you can see in this exchange, most importantly, Mr. Pompeo is reassuring Corporate America that their intellectual property rights will be protected and that we can be assured that China's human rights issues will be addressed:

"MARGARET BRENNAN: But why use sanctions? Should we expect that? Be- because the accusation as you know, sir, is that the trade talks are causing the US to choose its own financial interests over its values. Are you saying that's not the case and there will be actions taken?

SEC. POMPEO: Thanks for the clarification of your question, I- I appreciate that. This administration can do more than one thing at a time. We're working to stop the intellectual property theft that has destroyed millions of jobs in the United States. We're working to stop the foreign technology transfer - foreign technology transfers that have taken place. We've got the largest defense budget in history in place, part of which will go to ensuring we counter Chinese military power. We're working on these human rights violations as well. This administration takes a backseat to no one in our efforts and our outcomes in achieving a more rational relationship with China. The previous administration put us in a bad place and we're working to fix it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Were you just saying human rights are going to be included in the trade deal?

SEC. POMPEO: No human- human rights are- are going to be addressed.


SEC. POMPEO: And we've done so. I've raised it in multiple conversations with my counterpart their foreign minister and with others." (my bold)

As has been proven time and time again, Washington really doesn't care about human rights violations, it selectively uses the narrative when it is to its benefit, in this case, during trade negotiations with China.  If Mr. Pompeo really cared about human rights, he would talk to his counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Israel and other American-friendly nations about their breaches of human rights treaties not to mention America's very own concentration camp at Guantanamo and at various CIA black sites around the world as shown on this map:

But, on the upside, that nasty illegal copying of DVDs will come to an end, protecting the billions of dollars that Hollywood has invested in America's entertainment business.

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