White House: Biden Will Bring Up Chinese Human Rights Issues in Meeting With Xi

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
February 17, 2023China News
White House: Biden Will Bring Up Chinese Human Rights Issues in Meeting With Xi
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby speaks during the daily press briefing in the James S Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Feb. 13, 2023. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House said President Joe Biden will address China’s human rights record in his next meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

A meeting between the two world leaders appears to be in the works. On Thursday, Biden announced, “I expect to be speaking with President Xi.”

The Biden administration has indicated this meeting will focus on the Chinese high-altitude balloon that recently flew over the United States and reducing military tensions between the two countries. In a Friday press briefing, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told NTD News the president would also confront Xi over China’s human rights record.

“The president never fails to bring up human rights concerns. And when he met with President Xi, and in Bali, he brought it up then,” Kirby said. “And it’s not just with President Xi. The president believes that you have to lead with your values, particularly in foreign policy. He’s never shy about bringing that up.”

Kirby did not elaborate further on how Biden plans to broach the topic of human rights concerns in China and what policy changes he may seek from the communist regime.

China’s Human Rights Record

Biden met with Xi in Bali, Indonesia, in November for the first time since becoming president.

According to a White House readout of their meeting, Biden “raised concerns about [the regime’s] practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and human rights more broadly.” That White House statement also did not elaborate how Biden had addressed human rights concerns in China.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights released a report in August assessing that the Chinese government may have committed a number of “serious human rights violations” in their treatment of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, such as the Uyghur population. More than a million Uyghurs are believed to be detained in camps throughout Xinjiang.

The U.S. government recently declared, for the second year in a row, that China is committing genocide against the Uyghur population and other Turkic ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Chinese officials have claimed their detention centers in Xinjiang are education and vocational training programs and that they are part of an effort to prevent terrorism in the region.

In recent years, Chinese authorities have exerted increased control over Hong Kong. In 2020, China passed new national security laws for Hong Kong, which criminalized vaguely defined acts of subversion, secession, and foreign collusion. Those deemed in violation of the new laws could face maximum penalties of life imprisonment.

Since the passage of the new Hong Kong laws, protesters and journalists who have been critical of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have been arrested and charged with sedition.

The U.S. government and other members of the international community have also raised issue with the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. The CCP has been accused for decades of persecution targeting Falun Gong through such practices as arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, torture, forced labor, and organ harvesting.

Biden Seeking New Meeting

It’s not yet clear when Biden and Xi will meet.

“Our diplomats will be engaging further, and I will remain in communication with President Xi,” Biden said on Thursday.

Biden said the recent balloon episode “underscores the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between our diplomats and our military professionals.”

The Chinese regime criticized the U.S. decision to shoot down the balloon, which CCP officials have insisted was only collecting meteorological data and had simply blown off its intended course. U.S. military officials have said debris collected from the downed balloon included “multiple antennas” and other equipment that was “clearly for intelligence surveillance” and was “likely capable of collecting and geo-locating communications.”