Concerns Kerry downplayed China human rights abuses for climate deal

House Republicans are elevating issues about John Kerry, President Biden’s particular climate envoy, over current remarks he made on reaching a possible climate deal with China — saying he trivialized the severity of the human rights abuses inflicted on Uyghur Muslims within the communist nation. 

The criticisms of Kerry’s rhetoric come within the wake of his current interview with Foreign Policy, the place he stated: “We have differences on economic rules, on cyber. We have other differences on human rights, geostrategic interests, but those differences do not have to get in the way of something that is as critical as dealing with climate.” 

Lawmakers on each side of the aisle have repeatedly condemned China’s forced labor camps, which have focused Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang area, with Congress having moved on a number of resolutions geared toward pushing again in opposition to the abuses.

Uighur security personnel
Uyghur safety personnel patrol close to the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in western China’s Xinjiang area.

But a number of Republicans on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs stated they interpreted Kerry’s feedback as a willingness to disregard the genocide of Muslim ethnic minorities to strike a climate deal. 

“Demanding the CCP stop committing genocide doesn’t ‘get in the way’ of climate change negotiations, and to imply climate issues are more critical than the lives of millions of oppressed people living in China is insensitive and improper,” Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-Texas) advised The Post in a press release.  

“I would urge Secretary Kerry to reconsider his priorities if he is going to continue to negotiate behind closed doors with human rights abusers and U.S. adversaries.”

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) referred to as the feedback “pathetic,” slamming the Biden administration’s climate plan as giving China an financial edge and doubtlessly weakening the United States’ standing. 

“It is pathetic John Kerry is excusing the Chinese Communist Party’s disgusting enslavement and murder of the Uighurs to make this slimy climate arrangement possible,” he stated. 

“The CCP are cheaters who never play by the rules, that is a fact. Our country should not get involved in a one-sided, disastrous climate plan that we know the CCP won’t follow and will weaken any economic leverage we have with China.”

Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas) echoed Burchett’s sentiments, referring to Kerry’s feedback as “disgusting and morally wrong.”

“Right now, communist China is actively committing genocide by forcing millions of Uighur Muslims into labor camps and subjecting many to crimes against humanity,” he stated. 

“The United States cannot turn a blind eye and brush off these abuses.”

A guard tower and barbed wire fences are seen around a facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux
A guard tower and barbed wire fences are seen round a facility within the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux

And freshman Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) accused Kerry of being hypocritical together with his rhetoric because the President Biden has vowed to be robust on China, calling on him to reevaluate his priorities. 

“In two sentences, John Kerry managed to list every single reason why the U.S. should not be engaging with China, an abusive and corrupt regime, on unfair and costly climate agreements,” she stated.

“The administration cannot claim to stand for human rights or religious freedoms while continuing to overlook China’s brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide against its indigenous Uighur Muslim population.,” 

People walk by a police station by the front gate of the Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Center
China’s Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Center.

While Kerry has come beneath fireplace from Republicans for his remark, a State Department spokesperson dismissed accusations it’s keen to miss China’s human rights abuses, stating that the administration has referred to as for Beijing to “end these atrocities immediately” and has vowed to work with allies to fight China’s human rights abuses whereas nonetheless engaged on their climate targets.

“As Special Presidential Envoy Kerry has noted, climate is a critical standalone issue. Other aspects of the U.S.-China relationship — including U.S. interests and values like human rights – will not be traded for climate progress,” the spokesman stated in a press release. 

“We can compete with the PRC and call out their egregious actions, including their widespread human rights abuses, while at the same time working to tackle the climate crisis.”

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