Of all the fiction in Joe Biden's press conference Thursday (and there was a lot), one of the most ridiculous allegations was about the Trump administration supposed indifference toward China's Uyghurs. With as many connections to China as he has, the president ought to know that Donald Trump, along with Mike Pompeo and the leaders of the State Department, not only helped the Uyghurs, but led a global coalition to crack down on China's abuse of the population.
"I made it clear that no American president -- at least one did -- but no American president ever backs down from speaking out [about] what's happening to the Uyghurs," Biden said. "The moment a president walks away from that, as the last one did, is the moment we begin to lose our legitimacy around the world."
The Left blames Donald Trump for a lot of things, but one thing that will never stick is his apathy toward religious persecution of any kind. During his four years at the helm, he exhausted every power at his disposal to pressure China on the Muslim minority -- and helped propel Congress to do the same. His State Department declared the abuses "genocide," a stinging and bold step that carries plenty of harsh enforcement mechanisms. Biden, on the other hand, tried to excuse the systematic rape, torture, and killing of two million minorities as "a different norm" just last month. Surprising everyone who's followed the atrocities of the internment camps, Biden waved away the abuses, saying, "Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow."
The former administration took China's crimes against humanity seriously. The Biden team, until Monday's global summit, refused to even address the crisis or take a clear line against the communist regime and their abuse of religious minorities. Maybe the president, who is easily confused, mistook his own position for that of Donald Trump's. Either way, it was a low blow even for this White House. As Rich Lowry argued, "This performance [at the press conference] would be roasted from beginning to end by fact-checkers -- if they had any integrity."
In the meantime, Adrian Zenz, one of the foremost experts on the Uyghurs, said Biden's position has been almost incoherent. "There was a lot of back and forth about some comments he made about cultural relativism," he pointed out on Thursday's "Washington Watch." He will be forced to act, Zenz agrees, because of the international pressure that's built from the E.U., Canada, and United Kingdom, which resulted in economic sanctions on Monday. "What we saw [then] was a very definite initial success. Whether it will be successful or not, I think that's more or less the only chance that we have in the West. We have to work together. China is a big country. It is a very successful country. It has a rising military. Even the United States by itself, I think, is hard-pressed to contain China in a number of ways..."
But the important thing, he says -- as much to the Biden administration as anyone -- is that "we can't compromise on China over human rights -- trading it with something else like climate change goals. [We have to continue] working together with allies and building strong alliances... My priority would be to say forced labor is the number one issue where we can exert pressure on the Chinese, where we can at least accept a cost, a penalty for doing such evil. [But] further steps need to be taken. Of course, the biggest step needs to be taken by the Senate now with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act... Here, Biden's climate goals are actually running into some moral problems because much of the world's raw material for solar panels produced in Xinjiang and with forced labor."
How Biden handles that conflict, everyone agrees, will tell the world a lot about where his priorities are. If he prioritizes his extreme agenda over the humane treatment of any minority, it will only be par for the White House course.