Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Yasushi Tomiyama

【#549】U.S. Politicians Share Tough Stance against China

Yasushi Tomiyama / 2018.10.16 (Tue)

October 15, 2018

     On October 10, a U.S. bipartisan congressional commission that monitors human rights conditions in China released an annual report denouncing the Chinese government’s repression of Uighurs and other Muslims as “crimes against humanity.” The report followed Vice President Mike Pence’s speech on October 4 criticizing exhaustively China’s domestic, foreign, economic and military policies, indicating that the U.S. administration and Congress have fallen in line with each other in taking a tough stance against China.

North Korean-level human rights abuse
     The bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which was created in 2000 and now comprises nine senators (five Republicans and four Democrats) and six representatives (three Republicans and as many Democrats), adopted the report unanimously. Its current chairman is Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL.), who fought a good fight with Donald Trump in the Republican Party’s presidential primary in 2016.
     Among key developments involving China’s human rights situation in the past year, the report highlighted the detention of more than one million Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in western China. Quoting an expert as describing the autonomous region as “a police state to rival North Korea, with a formalized racism on the order of South African apartheid,’’ the report emphasized that the “unprecedented repression of ethnic minorities” is going on in the region.
     The U.S.-China trade war that has become the focus of the bilateral relations has been orchestrated by President Donald Trump. But the Pence speech and the latest congressional report indicate the entire U.S. political world shares a severe perception of China that makes no secret of its ambition to become a superpower outdoing the U. S. The perception would be taken over in the post-Trump U. S.

Japan cannot be allowed to remain silent
     Some analysts in the U. S. express a sense of crisis that the liberal global order emphasizing freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights has been exposed to challenges as President Trump’s “America First” policy refuses to lead the free world. Recent developments involving human rights include not only China’s political and racial repression but also Russia’s alleged attempt in the United Kingdom to poison a double agent. Most recently, a Saudi Arabian dissident journalist has disappeared at Saudi Arabia’s consulate-general in Istanbul, leading to a suspicion that the Saudi government has killed him.
     The United States that should be the leader of the free world is not alone in being urged to address human rights problems worldwide. Japan also cannot be a bystander. Especially when the U.S. administration and Congress jointly criticize China’s human rights abuse, the Japanese government and the Diet cannot be allowed to remain silent.
     The U.S. congressional commission’s report calls on the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for the mass detention of Uighurs and other Muslims and develop a multilateral strategy on human rights problems in China with other countries. Even before being asked by Washington for cooperation, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should take up the human rights abuse involving Uighurs and others during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping planned for late October.

Yasushi Tomiyama is Senior Fellow and Planning Committee Member at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.