Advocates fear US weighing climate vs. human rights on China

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US envoy John Kerry’s diplomatic quest to prevent worst-case scenarios of global warming is facing resistance from China, the world’s biggest climate polluter, which remains adamant that the United States minimizes confrontation over other matters If it wants Beijing to ramp up its climate efforts.

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Rights advocates and Republican lawmakers say they see signs, including soft language and talk of heated internal debate among Biden administration officials, that China’s pressure to push the United States to China’s mass detention, forced sterilization and its main apparently prompting us to step back on criticism of other abuses. Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang region.

But the White House took a move last week that could deepen the US-China divide, creating a security alliance with Britain and Australia that would mean greater sharing of defense capabilities, including allowing Australia to become nuclear-armed. Includes helping to equip powered submarines.


President Joe Biden grew stronger from the start of his presidency with sanctions on China’s abuse of Uighurs, and his administration this spring called it genocide. But America’s desire for rapid climate progress versus China’s desire to back down on issues like human rights and religious freedom is creating a conflict between two top Biden goals: removing the world from the climate abyss and China’s growing influence. to reduce

“Tone down, let the Chinese manipulate the issue that would be disastrous in the long run for the United States government,” said Nuri Turkel, a Uighur advocate and deputy chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Panel that makes policy recommendations to the White House and Congress.

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Kerry told reporters in a call that Chinese leaders repeatedly linked the climate change issue and their complaints over the alleged US confrontation on human rights and other issues during Kerry’s recent visit to China this month.

The Chinese in particular complained about the administration-imposed restrictions on China’s globally dominant solar panel industry, which the US and rights groups say runs partly on the forced labor of imprisoned Uighurs.

“My response to them was, ‘Hey, look, the climate isn’t ideological, it’s not partisan, it’s not a geo-strategic weapon or tool, and it’s definitely not, you know, day-to-day politics, Kerry said. He told reporters in a call after the talks that he could only communicate China’s complaints about sanctions to Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

China inhaled 27% of the smoke from climate-destroying fossil fuels in 2019, more than the rest of the developed world combined. The United States is the second worst offender at 11%.

This puts China at the center of the world’s rapidly evaporating hopes of cutting fumes from petroleum and coal use before catastrophic climate change becomes inevitable and irreversible.

Kerry, former secretary of state and Biden’s global climate envoy, has led repeated calls, online meetings and visits to Chinese officials ahead of November’s UN climate summit in Scotland. He urged China to move swiftly on steps such as cutting down its buildings, financing and using coal-fired power plants.

He and others see that summit as the last opportunity to make significant emissions cuts in time. Climate effort will also be a topic of leaders at the United Nations General Assembly this coming week.

China, led by President Xi Jinping, has said it will tackle extreme climate pollution by the end of this decade and then neutralize China’s climate pollution by 2060, a decade after the US and other countries have pledged.

As China asserts its economic influence and territorial claims, and tensions and competition with the United States increase, Xi and his officials have shown no willingness to follow the US line on climate or anything else. .

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a US diplomat in a video meeting on Kerry’s latest visit to China that “Sino-US cooperation on climate change cannot be separated from the overall state of Sino-US relations.”

According to a State Department statement, Wang said, “The United States should take affirmative action to get Sino-US relations back on track.”

“The Chinese believe that the US needs more cooperation than China, China needs the United States,” said Bonnie Glaser, an expert on Asia and Asia security affairs in German, and that the United States, like others, now needs more cooperation. seen as weak. Marshall Fund of the United States.

In that context the US global climate objective is another “vantage point, and they are trying to use that to get the United States to roll back some policies they find particularly objectionable,” Including US pressure on human rights, Glaser said.

Kerry has said that no country is as committed to human rights as the United States and that her climate discussions with China’s leaders have been constructive.

But there is talk that China’s pressure on the human rights-climate front is having an effect.

An account circulated in China’s policy and human rights circles in Washington claimed that Kerry had vigorously debated the matter with other administration officials before his recent visit to China. Some claim the administration’s effect on Uighur forced labor in a bipartisan bill that stalled the House after easily passed the Senate.

The State Department declined to comment on the two cases.

Uyghur and human rights advocates say they believe administration officials are softening their tone on social media and in other public comments on China and human rights.

They point to a White House statement on a call between Xi and …


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