The mass internment being carried out against the Uighur population in China is merely a “different norm,” Joe Biden said during his CNN town hall on Tuesday.
Biden also said he would not "speak out" against China's brutal crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
Asked about his recent conversation with Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping, Biden started his response by relaying Xi’s justification for the communist nation's brutal human rights abuses.
“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,” Biden began. “So the central — well, vastly overstated — 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 based on that.”
China, under fire for its refusal to accept responsibility for negligence and a lack of transparency at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, has not let global tensions stop its mass internment of Uighurs in Xinjiang province, where over 1 million Muslims are being held in concentration camps.
“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,” Biden said. “And so the idea is that I am not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uighurs in western mountains of China and Taiwan — trying to end the one China policy by making it forceful … [Xi] gets it.”
“Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow,” Biden added.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Biden was echoing Chinese propaganda.
“That language that it’s just a set of different norms, that’s the Chinese propaganda line, they want you to think this is just a quiet nation [that] may have a little bit of a different system, but goodness gracious, what's all the fuss about?” Pompeo said on Fox News's “Mornings with Maria."
“The truth of the matter is they are trying to wipe out an entire people,” Pompeo said.
The so-called “norms” in China that Biden was talking about, as shown in a recent BBC News exposé, include torture and rape occurring in Uighur concentration camps.
Following the release of the BBC report, China banned the outlet in its territory.
Asked during the town hall whether there would be repercussions for the CCP over the genocide, Biden sidestepped the question, saying the U.S. would “reassert our role as spokespersons for human rights at the UN and other agencies.”
“Well, there will be repercussions for China and [Xi] knows that. What I’m doing is, making clear that we, in fact, are going to continue to reassert our role as spokespersons for human rights at the UN and other agencies that have an impact on their attitude,” Biden said.
Biden went on to add: “China is trying very hard to become the world leader. And to get that moniker and be able to do that, they have to gain the confidence of other countries. And as long as they are engaged in activity that is contrary to basic human rights, it’s going to be hard for them to do that. But it’s much more complicated than that, I shouldn’t try to talk China policy in 10 minutes on television here.”