Source: Jeremy Goldkorn | SupChina
Countries supporting China’s Xinjiang policies (red) and criticizing them (blue) in joint statements at the UN this week. Graphic via Nathan Ruser on Twitter.
For over two years, a major task for Chinese diplomats at the United Nations has been to rally support for China’s policies in Xinjiang, and respond to criticism from the U.S. and other Western countries. That high-level diplomatic war of words has continued in the past weeks, but first, here is a brief timeline of relevant events at the United Nations:
Last week, more countries criticized China. Germany, on behalf of 39 countries, delivered a statement on October 6 that:
Separately, Turkey expressed concern about Xinjiang and the “human rights situation” in the region. Turkey’s statement is significant because of its especially large Uyghur refugee population, and because the country has wavered in recent years on how to approach the Uyghur issue.
But China rallied support from nearly 70 countries
As with previous waves of criticism, China rallied a group of countries to issue a response. Cuba, on behalf of 45 countries, read a statement “supporting China’s counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang.”
China accused the “U.S., Germany, the U.K. and a few other countries” of making “groundless accusations” and “provoking confrontation among member states” in a statement by the Chinese mission to the UN.
What does this all mean?
Chinese diplomats have ramped up their rhetoric another notch in defending Xinjiang policy in this latest round of UN diplomacy. This makes sense, as just last month, Chinese leader Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 publicly defended his policies in Xinjiang as “completely correct.”
What we concluded from Xi’s comments then is the same conclusion now: China appears set to totally ignore international criticism, even as the condemnations get louder and include more explicit references to genocide. However, as that criticism grows, it becomes more likely that the U.S. and its allies will boycott the Beijing 2022 Olympics. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, for instance, has said he would not rule out such a boycott.
The question to ask now: How many of the 39 countries signing the joint statement last week will seriously consider boycotting the Olympics?