Kerry Signals Lane Change on China

November 12, 2021

It's a cry that rings out behind the barbed wire towers so frequently the Chinese guards are numb to it. "Don't do this -- please, don't do this!" This time, it was a fresh blood -- a Uyghur just hauled into headquarters named Abduweli Ayup. He was crying with terror as police started in, sexually torturing him until he passed out. When he woke, he says he remembers the strangest things, like the flies buzzing around the room. For once, he wished he was one of them. "Because no one can torture them. No one can rape them."

Abduweli's eyes look away, remembering. He still has trouble sleeping, tormented by nightmares. His story, told in a harrowing account by CNN last month, is one of millions. The savage tactics used on Uyghurs are an open secret, thanks to whistleblowers like Jiang, who shudders to think of what he saw as a police detective. Every night, his teams -- armed with assault rifles -- would fan out, knocking on the doors of Uyghurs. "Everyone had a target," he explains. "We took [them] all forcibly overnight... It's all planned, it all has a system." If they resisted, he said, we would threaten to shoot them. Handcuffed and hooded, they'd be taken to headquarters, where police would "kick them, beat them [until they're] bruised and swollen... Until they kneel on the floor crying." Young men would be sodomized, repeatedly. Everyone new was beaten, he said somberly, even teenagers.

Jiang's memories -- of "tiger chairs," of hanging people from the ceiling, electrocutions, gang rapes, wrecking bars, and whips -- will never leave him. Or his victims. These are the grim testimonies that have mobilized the world. It's the same suffering and dehumanization that led the United States to officially declare the situation "genocide" under Donald Trump -- a label the Biden administration seems intent to disregard.

Earlier this week, when a Chinese official revealed that he'd met with Biden's climate negotiator, John Kerry, as many as 30 times already, people were stunned. In the course of all of these conversations, a reporter asked Kerry if he'd ever bothered to bring up the Uyghurs? Slave labor? His response: "That's not my lane."

Excuse me? As a former Secretary of State of the world's greatest religious freedom advocate in the world, how is the systematic torture and imprisonment of two million people not in his "lane?" "We're honest about the differences," he shrugged, "and we certainly know what they are. And we've articulated them. But that's my lane here."

What a contrast in administrations! Under President Trump, America made religious freedom and human rights the top foreign policy priority. The Biden administration? All that matters is the elusive issue of climate change, which the Left treats as a religion.

As representatives of the United States of America, human rights is in everyone's lane. Kerry is a top emissary of the Biden administration and a former diplomat, which means that his comments are not only shameful -- they carry weight. And what he's just signaled to the entire world is that America is insincere about holding China accountable for anything, even the most sadistic violence since the holocaust.

But sadly, this is what we've come to expect from an administration as desperate to partner with China as Biden's. As Kerry hammers through the climate agreement with his Chinese counterpart, NRO's Jimmy Quinn points out, he's tried to show his goodwill by quietly trying to kill the Uyghur Forced Labor bill behind the scenes. "According to multiple accounts, [Kerry] attempted to block legislation that would bar imports from Xinjiang as the products of forced labor..." That Biden himself won't lend his support for the legislation suggests one of two things: that Kerry has a mandate to pursue this China approach as he sees fit, "or that other officials who care more about human rights are powerless to stop him."

Meanwhile, as Biden's team continues to treat China like the affable partner it is not, the regime spends its time openly mocking the American president. When Congress passed the controversial infrastructure bill last week, the communists' media arm laughed, calling it a "feeble imitation" of China. If the U.S. thinks it can compete with us on large-scale infrastructure projects, the outlet said, "it is tantamount to a fairy tale." And how does the American president respond? With more weakness, more groveling, and with an absolute refusal to confront the non-negotiable standard of human dignity.

But then, what do we expect from a president who once said he wouldn't "second guess" China's policy to forcibly sterilize women for having more than one child -- or abort children against their mothers' will? To Biden and Kerry, anything is acceptable as long as the two countries are collaborating on this White House's most radical priorities. "This is a climate crisis," the former secretary said this week. "It's perhaps one of the most compelling issues we face as a planet, if not the most."

Tell that to Abduweli Ayup, to Jiang, to anyone who's seen the empty eyes and scars of the Uyghurs. The Chinese climate of hate and brutality is the crisis. And any administration who says otherwise is wildly adrift -- and taking the country with it.