Why Xinjiang is central to US cold war on China


A member of Uighur minority wears a face mask displaying a flag of east Turkestan as they demonstrate to ask for news of their relatives and to express their concern about the ratification of an extradition treaty between China and Turkey, on February 22, 2021 near China consulate in Istanbul. PHOTO/AFP/Ozan Kose

As China seizes the tech innovation initiative, US has mobilized a rights-related diplomatic weapon to fight back

On March 22, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken authorized sanctions against Wang Junzheng, the secretary of the Communist Party of China’s Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), and Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB).

These sanctions, Blinken said, were because Wang and Chen are accused of being party to “genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.” The US Treasury Department followed suit with its own sanctions.

Wang and Mingguo responded by condemning these sanctions, which were not only imposed by the US but also by Canada, the UK and the European Union. Wang called the sanctions “a gross slander,” while Chen said he was “very proud of being sanctioned by these countries.”

In October 2011, then-US secretary of state Hillary Clinton announced a “pivot to Asia,” with China at the center of the new alignment. Clinton said many times – including in Hawaii in November 2011 – that the administration of former president Barack Obama wanted to develop “a positive and cooperative relationship with China,” the US military buildup along Asia’s coastline told a different story.

The 2010 US Quadrennial Defense Review noted “China’s growing presence and influence in regional and global economic and security affairs” and called it “one of the most consequential aspects of the evolving strategic landscape.” In 2016, US Navy Admiral Harry Harris, head of the Pacific Command, said the United States was ready to “confront China,” a statement given strength by the US military buildup around China.

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