President Biden: Prioritize Human Rights When Speaking to Xi Jinping during the APEC SummitComments Off on President Biden: Prioritize Human Rights When Speaking to Xi Jinping during the APEC Summit
Joseph R. Biden
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Re: Prioritize Human Rights When Speaking to Xi Jinping during the APEC Summit
Dear President Biden,
On behalf of 59 organizations and individuals devoted to improving respect for human rights in China and communities the Chinese government impacts, we write to urge you to prioritize concerns about Beijing’s lack of concrete human rights improvements in your discussions with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco.
We welcome your administration’s earlier statements that the US government will hold the Chinese government “accountable for its abuses of the international system,” and the promise that the US will impose consequences on the Chinese government for its ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in the Uyghur region.
The Chinese government is punishing human rights defenders and rights lawyers with increasing cruelty. Most independent civil society groups have been disbanded and their members jailed, tortured, or forced to continue their work underground. Numerous UN bodies have similarly raised serious concerns about arbitrary detention, forced labor, cultural and language rights, and sexual and gender-based violence.
Over the past year, your administration and multiple UN human rights bodies have raised alarm at the escalation of human rights abuses in Tibet, including the residential boarding school system that has seen at least one million Tibetan children separated from their families and communities.
In East Turkistan (which the Chinese government refers to as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region), the government continues to subject Uyghurs and other Turkic groups to widespread, systematic persecution on the basis of their ethnic and religious identity.
In Hong Kong, the promulgation of the National Security Law (NSL) by Beijing in 2020 has led to the dismantling of civil society and people’s fundamental rights and freedoms, and the targeting of academics, media outlets, and NGOs, affecting millions of Hong Kongers.
The Chinese government has used its power and influence to attempt to silence the voice of civil society outside China’s borders and has taken steps to actively undermine internationally recognized human rights norms. The government’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners remains unrelenting.
We therefore urge that you to deliver the following clear and strong messages to Xi Jinping:
- Demonstrate that human rights are a priority in the bilateral relationship by telling Xi that the US will pursue investigations into crimes against humanity and genocide in China, and the government’s transnational repression in the US and elsewhere. Ask him to release wrongfully detained individuals, including Gao Zhisheng, Peng Lifa, Yu Wensheng, Xu Yan, Huang Xueqin, Wang Jianbing, Xu Zhiyong, Ding Jiaxi, Jimmy Lai, Hang Tung Chow, Gwyneth Ho, Joshua Wong, Owen Chow, Gulshan Abas, Ekpar Asat, Rahile Dawut, the Panchen Lama (Gedhun Choekyi Nyima), Lhundrup Drakpa, Go Sherab Gyatso, and many others.
- Inform Xi that Beijing and Hong Kong authorities’ incessant violation of human rights in that territory will further harm ties and urge him to revoke the NSL.
- Tell Xi that your administration will continue to address the ongoing crimes against humanity in the Uyghur region until the Chinese government ceases its rights violations. Urge Xi to fully implement the recommendations in the August 2022 report on the region by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR.)
- Urge Xi to implement the recommendations of UN experts and treaty bodies with respect to Tibet, including immediately abolishing the coercive boarding school system imposed on Tibetan children.
- Tell Xi that your administration will continue to provide strong and steadfast support to human rights defenders and civil society activists across China and throughout the world. More broadly in your China policy, prioritize building strong ties to and among activists, independent writers, journalists, scholars, lawyers, and leaders of persecuted ethnic and religious minorities, and commit to assisting them when they are targeted for their activism.
Xi Jinping and his government are assaulting human rights on a scale unprecedented in decades. President Biden, you have a unique opportunity to send strong messages to Xi Jinping about your position on human rights, which will likely have an impact in halting – and possibly reversing – this crisis.
- Adas Israel Congregation Uyghur Crisis Response Team
- Arizona for Hong Kong (AZ4HK)
- Article 19
- Asian Lawyers Network (ALN)
- Bay Area Friends of Tibet (BAFoTTibet)
- Bitter Winter: A Magazine on Religious Liberty and Human Rights
- Boston Uyghur Association
- Campaign For Uyghurs
- China Action
- China Against the Death Penalty (CADP)
- China Aid Association
- Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD)
- Christian Coalition 4 Uyghur Freedom
- Citizen Power Initiatives for China
- Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience
- Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention
- End the Uyghur Genocide
- Filipino American Human Rights Alliance
- Freiheit für Hongkong e.V.
- Friends of Falun Gong: Supporting Falun Gong Practitioners’ Freedom of Belief
- Frontlines Of Freedom
- Hong Kong Affairs Association of Berkeley (HKAAB)
- Hong Kong Democracy Council (HKDC)
- Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles
- Hong Kong District Councillor Diaspora Network (HKDCDN)
- Hong Kong Watch
- Hong Kong Social Action Movements in Boston
- Hong Kongers in San Francisco Bay Area
- Hong Kongers in San Diego
- Human Rights in China (HRIC)
- Humanitarian China
- Institute for China’s Democratic Transition (IFCDT)
- International Campaign for Tibet
- International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC)
- International Tibet Network
- Jewish Movement for Uyghur Freedom (JMUF)
- Lady Liberty Hong Kong
- Lamp of Liberty
- Minaret Foundation
- No Business With Genocide
- New Yorkers Supporting Hong Kong (NY4HK)
- Northern California Hong Kong Club
- Peace Catalyst International
- PEN America
- PEN International
- Save the Persecuted Christians
- Scottish Hongkongers
- SEArious For HKG
- Silk Road Peace Project
- Students for a Free Tibet International (SFT)
- Texans Supporting Hong Kong (TX4HK)
- The Hong Kong Scots
- Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD)
- Torontonian HongKongers Action Group
- US HongKongers Club
- Uyghur American Association
- Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP)
- Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project
- World Uyghur Congress