How Mike Pompeo’s ‘genocide’ label for China over Xinjiang may set tone for Joe Biden


The outgoing US government’s assessment that China has committed “genocide and crimes against humanity” in Xinjiang was among the last acts of the Donald Trump administration that observers said could cement its legacy on Beijing and reduce Joe Biden’s ability to change course.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has used his final days in office to define the ruling Chinese Communist Party as the “central threat of our time”, crediting the Trump administration for “changing the global conversation on China”.

Pompeo announced on Tuesday that Beijing’s policies against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang constituted genocide, following days of placing sanctions on mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials for the political crackdown in Hong Kong, restricting visas for Chinese individuals responsible for militarisation of the South China Sea, and removing restrictions on US officials engaging with Taiwanese counterparts.

Beijing has bristled at Pompeo’s statements, with Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying calling his legacy one of “lying diplomacy” that has “not only bankrupted his own reputation but also rendered irreversible damage to the national image and interests of the United States”.