The trade war between China and the United States — and recent talk of possible compromises in the trade talks between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping — has sent markets on a roller coaster ride. But whatever Trump and Xi agree to on trade, the United States must not compromise on the challenge of Chinese human rights abuses.
Beijing’s repressive policies in Tibet have brought well-deserved criticism for decades. Now Beijing is sparking renewed outrage with its thuggish tactics in Hong Kong and its internment of at least 1 million Uighur Muslims in “reeducation centers” across China’s Xinjiang province. The crackdown on the Uighurs must count as the most scandalous human rights atrocity of our time, perhaps second only to the mass slaughter of Syrians by strongman President Bashar al-Assad.
Although more vocal than most majority Muslim nations, the United States has been relatively silent on Xinjiang. This is consistent with Washington’s long-standing and bipartisan policy of hedging, given China’s growing economic, political and military power.