President Joe Biden has quietly turned his head as the Canadian parliament declared China’s treatment of the Uyghurs a genocide.
The motion passed with a 266 — 0 vote and “was supported by all opposition parties and a handful of lawmakers from the governing Liberal Party. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and most members of his cabinet abstained,” as reported by the BBC.
Canadian lawmakers also reportedly passed an amendment requesting Canada to call on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics out of Beijing “if the Chinese government continues this genocide.”
According to a Reuters report, “China said on Tuesday that it condemned and rejected Canada’s parliament passing a non-binding motion saying China’s treatment of Uighurs is genocide.” Its report also included the fact that the foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular briefing that China had lodged “stern representations” with Canada.
President Biden, however, has done little to speak out against China’s criminal actions even as details continue to be revealed of the ongoing dehumanization of over one million people belonging to the mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic group in China’s reeducation camps.
Earlier this month, reporting by the BBC included first-hand account allegations of violent, mass systematic rape and torture in the camps.
Biden was recently criticized for his apparent lack to label China’s actions as “genocide.” He even explicitly avoided condemning the human rights violations at a recent town hall event:
“During the same town hall event, Biden stoked outrage on social media when he seemingly referred to the human rights violations against the Uyghur population in China as a “different norm.”
“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 said, according to The New York Post. “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.”
“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,” the president continued. “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 Uyghurs 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.”
Biden also reportedly refused to mention China’s human rights offenses during his virtual meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, instead saying that the two countries are coordinating “approaches to better compete with China and to counter threats to our interests and values.”
Canada’s action makes it the second country to declare China’s offenses as genocide, after the United States did so during the Trump administration.
According to The New York Times’ report on Jan. 19, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement, “I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state,” adding that Chinese officials were “engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group.”