By Tahir Imin Uyghurian
During a CNN town hall on Feb. 16, host Anderson Cooper asked Biden if he had discussed the Uyghur issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping. "Culturally, there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow," Biden said as part of his response.
Cooper: "What about the Uyghurs? What about human rights abuses in China?”
Biden: "We must speak up for human rights. It's who we are. We can't — my comment to him was — and I know him well, and he knows me well. We're — a two-hour conversation.
Cooper: "You talked about this to him?”
Biden: "I talked about this, too.”
Biden also said
"If you know anything about Chinese history, it has always been the time when China has been victimized by the outer world is when they haven't been unified at home ... to vastly overstate it. The central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does base on that. I point out to him, no American president can be sustained as a president if he doesn't reflect the values of the United States. And so the idea I'm not going to speak out against what he's doing in Hong Kong, what he's doing with the Uyghurs in western mountains of China, and Taiwan, trying to end the One China policy by making it forceful, I said — by the way, he said he gets it. Culturally, there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow."
U.S. officials on both sides of the political aisle have been outspoken about China's treatment of the Uyghurs. On his final day as Secretary of State under President Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo called the situation a "genocide" and a "crime against humanity." In his confirmation hearing, Biden's secretary of state, Tony Blinken, used the term "genocide" to describe the treatment of the Uyghurs.
Pompeo responded to Biden’s remarks by saying that Biden is "echoing Chinese propaganda."