The proposed sales come as President Trump and his campaign strategists try to paint him as tough on China in the run-up to the election in November. They are eager to divert the conversation among American voters away from Mr. Trumpâs vast failures on the coronavirus pandemic and the economy, and to paper over his constant praise for Xi Jinping, Chinaâs authoritarian leader, and his earlier encouragement or tolerance of some of Mr. Xiâs most repressive policies, including in the regions of Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
Some administration officials see bolstering Taiwan as an important part of creating a broader military counterweight to China in Asia. Taiwan has strong bipartisan support in Congress, so administration officials expect lawmakers to approve the arms sales.
China appears to be expanding its network of secret detention centers in Xinjiang, where predominantly Muslim minorities are targeted in a forced assimilation campaign, and more of the facilities resemble prisons, an Australian think tank has found. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute used satellite images and official construction tender documents to map more than 380 suspected detention facilities in the far northwestern region, highlighting internment camps, detention centers and prisons that have been newly built or expanded since 2017.
The report builds on evidence that China has made a policy shift from detaining Uighurs and other largely Muslim minorities in makeshift public buildings to constructing permanent mass detention facilities.
This is despite Chinese state news agency Xinhua reporting late last year that "trainees" attending "vocational education and training centers" meant to deradicalize them had "all graduated."
Regional government chairman Shohrat Zakir was quoted as saying that foreign media reports of 1 million or 2 million people attending these centers were fabricated, though he would not provide any figures.
A sign of hope for accountability emerged this month after two Myanmar soldiers finally admitted their crimes.
Sept. 17, 2020, 3:34 PM EDT
By Rayhan Asat, president of the American Turkic Lawyers Association
Over the past several years, the Chinese government has locked up more than a million Uighurs, including model citizens like my 34-year-old brother Ekpar Asat. A philanthropist and founder of a social media platform catering to the Uighur community known as Bagdax, he came to the United States in 2016 to participate in an exchange program sponsored by the State Department, one from which many world leaders and Chinese citizens of the majority Han ethnicity have benefited for decades. Within weeks of returning from the United States to Xinjiang in western China, he disappeared into the shadows of the internment camps.
After years of this unconscionable treatment, a sign of hope for accountability emerged this month, somewhat ironically in the form of revelations of atrocities committed against another ethnic Muslim minority in Asia, the Rohingya of Myanmar.
Authoritarian governments often emulate one another; one can find many similar practices between Myanmar and China. Both governments target and persecute ethnic minorities that do not conform to their artificial ideals. Both vehemently denythe allegations while deploying similar strategies and forms of punishment. Both authorities label their genocidal campaigns internal security matters and reject public criticism from democratic countries. Both governments have justified their actions by claiming that the ethnic minorities are extremists, legitimizing ruthless human rights violations under the guise of counterterrorism.
BBC journalist Andrew Marr confronted the Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, during a television interview Sunday over viral drone footage that appears to show the Communist government detaining hundreds of blindfolded and shaven prisoners kneeling in front of a train station in Xinjiang, China.
The footage, originally released late last year, has circulated widely online in light of increased information about Chinaâs treatment of the Uyghur minority population, over a million of whom have reportedly been subjected to forced âre-educationâ or detention camps, and in some instances forced sterilization, according to The Associated Press.
The Chinese ambassador, once again, deflects â this time, by bashing western intelligence and claiming they have lobbied false accusations against China.