It seems that China has taken full advantage of the windup of the Trump-led administration in the United States.
The battle of wits between those serving in the Trump administration, especially Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been very vocal on China during his tenure, was an endless sling of matches.
Before the end of his term, Pompeo had succeeded in further angering China with the Hong Kong threat and his plan to send an envoy to Taiwan.
This was met with anger and threat of retaliation from Beijing; Pompeo had also called out China as a perpetrator of genocide and crimes against humanity.
The allegations on Pompeo’s part were in reference to alleged abuses against Muslim minority groups in China’s Xinjiang region; Pompeo accused China on his final full day in the office and said that the former had committed genocide against its Uighur Muslims.
On 8th January 2021, Pompeo had also said that he was ‘appalled’ by the arrest of an American citizen in a crackdown by Chinese authorities adding `such acts will not be tolerated against United States citizens’.
Pompeo had also accused China, saying that there was “enormous evidence” that the Coronavirus pandemic originated in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Though he did not present any facts to support his claim, he did, however, also accused the Chinese government of stonewalling any investigations and refusing to cooperate with experts.
There was a widescale and open accusation levied by both the then President Donal Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the initial days of the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak.
Beijing had, of course, denied and fully ‘rubbished’ the so-called accusations.
Even as the war of words escalated and tension mounted between the two countries, the world watched, horrified at the thought of a pandemic at hand and mounting tension between two of the world’s most powerful nations.
China draws Blood
China has been quick to draw blood and have the final word by imposing sanctions on the outgoing Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and 27 other top officials under Donald Trump just minutes after Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the U.S.
Beijing has gone far and wide. The sanctions against the ex-officials also include their immediate family members and have been banned from entering mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, or doing business with China.
On Wednesday, Beijing said it wanted to cooperate with President Joe Biden’s new administration while calling the outgoing Mike Pompeo “lying and cheating,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the sanctions in a statement on its website same time as Biden was taking the presidential oath.
Beijing did not back down and neither minced words against the outgoing Mike Pompeo. China’s Foreign Ministry described him as a “doomsday clown” and commented on his accusations of genocide and crimes against humanity on the part of China as merely “a piece of wastepaper.”
“In our view, Pompeo’s so-called designation is a piece of wastepaper. This American politician, who is notorious for lying and deceiving, is turning himself into a doomsday clown and joke of the century with his last madness and lies of the century,” said Hua Chunying, spokesperson, told reporters on his daily briefing with the reporters.
Pompeo and others had “planned, promoted and executed a series of crazy moves, gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs, undermined China’s interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-US relations.
The U.S. has previously spoken out and had also taken actions on Xinjiang that included a range of sanctions against senior Chinese Communist Party leaders and state-run enterprises that, according to the U.S., fund repressive policies.
Last week, the Trump administration announced it would halt imports of cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang, suspecting it was produced with forced labor.
During the last few days of office, the Trump administration’s steps were seen as ramp up pressure on China over human rights and spreading of the Coronavirus pandemic to Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea.
According to U.S. officials and human rights groups, China has imprisoned more than 1 million people, vastly from ethnic groups including Uighurs and Muslim ethnic groups, in vast prison-like political indoctrination camps.
It has also accused China of subjected the people to torture, sterilization, and political indoctrination in addition to forced labor as part of the assimilation campaign in a region whose inhabitants are ethnically and culturally different from the Han Chinese majority.
But it is to be noted that several press reports have indeed reported on the issue of widespread forced birth control among the Uighurs, which also touched based upon the mass sterilization of Muslim women.
Uighur forced labor has been associated with several products imported to the U.S., including clothing and electronic goods.
China has, of course, denied all such accusations and allegations. Still, James Leibold, a specialist in Chinese ethnic policy at La Trobe in Melbourne, Australia, said – international pressure appears to have affected Chinese policies in Xinjiang. It resulted in prompting the government to release information about these camps and probably reducing mass detentions.
China has also been continuously questioned on its policies towards Tibet and Taiwan.
China had strongly objected to and expressed its displeasure when Donald Trump administration had announced that it had signed into law measures to bolster support for Taiwan and Tibet, which had been included in a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package.
The alarm in the Chinese authorities was apparent as the U.S. stepped up its backing for Chinese – claimed Taiwan and its rule in remote Tibet.
The announcement had further strained the relationship, which was already under immense pressure in regards to trade, human rights violations, and other issues.
Speaking on the issue, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had then said that China was “resolutely opposed” to both acts.
In the present, it seems that China has finally taken its pound of flesh by imposing sanctions on the outgoing officials; it has let the dragon loose and shown the exiting officials that once you are out of the office and no longer in power, the tactical strike takes a much meaner and lethal contortion.
Finally, China has drawn blood even while congratulating the new administration under Joe Biden and hoping for improved relations between the two most powerful nations of the world.