In some of his last official remarks as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on Tuesday lashed out a final time both at China and the incoming Biden administration.
He said China's communist government is committing ongoing "genocide" targeting its minority-Muslim Uighur population in the Xinjiang region while underscoring that Biden policies are likely to only embolden China. It's a significant eleventh-hour declaration against Beijing using the strongest language thus far on the issue (namely, the genocide label).
"If the Chinese Communist Party is allowed to commit genocide and crimes against humanity against its own people, imagine what it will be emboldened to do to the free world, in the not-so-distant future," Pompeo said in the statement.
"While the CCP has always exhibited a profound hostility to all people of faith, we have watched with growing alarm the Party’s increasingly repressive treatment of the Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups," Pompeo added.
The issue has been highlighted in multiple reports both by international human rights organizations as well as in press reports. In particular over the past year there's further been detailed descriptions of 're-education' and forced labor camps in Xinjiang.
Pompeo went on in his statement, describing Chinese authorities, to say:
"Their morally repugnant, wholesale policies, practices, and abuses are designed systematically to discriminate against and surveil ethnic Uyghurs as a unique demographic and ethnic group, restrict their freedom to travel, emigrate, and attend schools, and deny other basic human rights of assembly, speech, and worship."
And further: "The governing authorities of the second most economically, militarily, and politically powerful country on earth have made clear that they are engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group, even as they simultaneously assert their country as a global leader and attempt to remold the international system in their image," he said.
A so-called vocational training center in Xinjiang many are reportedly across the region where Chinese Muslims are sent for alleged 're-education' programs:
Interestingly the Trump administration has waited to level the genocide label till now, a mere day before Biden's inauguration, as perhaps a final major effort to "box Biden in" when it comes to China. The issue of whether China's treatment of Uighurs constitutes genocide had been studied and under intensive review by the State Department since at least last month.
Any Biden reversals in terms of the Trump's targeted sanctions on Chinese officials - particularly related to the Hong Kong issue - will make the Democratic administration look "soft". But this is precisely what such statements as Pompeo's latest are designed to do.