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Exiled Uyghur leader 'deeply concerned' Biden will abandon Trump support for persecuted Muslims

Prime Minster of East Turkistan Government-in-Exile fears Biden might adopt the "same position as the Obama administration, which is a position of just silence."

Updated: December 26, 2020 - 10:14am

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The exiled prime minister of the persecuted Uyghur Muslim minority in China says he is worried that an incoming Biden administration will be less aggressive in pushing back against the Chinese government for its human rights abuses than the Trump administration has been.

"We're deeply concerned that they might reverse the policies that the Trump administration has done, and that they might take the same position as the Obama administration, which is a position of just silence," Salih Hudayar, the prime minister of the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile, told "Just the News AM" television program on Monday. 

Hudayar noted that the Biden team had made an announcement during the 2020 presidential election saying that Joe Biden recognized the treatment of the Uyghurs as a genocide. The Chinese Communist Party has reportedly imprisoned more than a million Uyghurs in reeducation camps.

"However, since the election process, now that it's about to transition, they have been largely silent," Hudayar said. "In fact, Newsweek has reached out to them, even we reached out to them, and they haven't reached back out to us."

The East Turkistan Government-in-Exile, which is not recognized by the Chinese government, claims to represent over a million Uyghurs in exile and between 35 and 40 million people in the Xinjiang Chinese province. It was organized in 2004, and Hudayar was elected as its fourth prime minister.

Hudayar said part of the reticence on the part of Biden could be that his son, Hunter Biden, has been invested in a Chinese company that was involved in the mass surveillance of Uyghurs. Media outlets like the Wall Street Journal have confirmed that Hunter Biden invested in a Chinese tech startup called Megvii. Megvii and tech giant Huawei have reportedly tested a facial recognition system that could be used to detect Uighurs. 

"We've raised that concern [about Hunter Biden] numerous times before, but this round, we just were talking about them to follow up on their promise of recognizing the genocide, to speak out, to urge Congress to pass the Forced Labor Prevention Act, which has been stuck  in the Senate," Hudayar said. "And we haven't gotten a response, Newsweek hasn't gotten a response, either."

"The American audience needs to know that what's happening to the Uyghurs is nothing less than a genocide," Hudayar said. "The Chinese government in recent years has locked up millions of people in concentration camps and prisons and using them as slave labor, to [work] as slaves and on cotton fields, to [work] in factories producing products that are then sent here to the United States for consumption by the American consumers."

Hudayar praised the Trump administration for spotlighting the Uyghurs' plight beginning in 2017. Prior to that "many people never heard of the Uyghurs," he said. "President Trump and the administration have been raising the issue nationally and internationally. And because of Secretary Pompeo's outspokenness, people know who the Uyghurs are."

However, the publicity hasn't translated into better outcomes for the Uyghurs, according to Hudayar.

"This [publicity] obviously has angered China, but things have not gotten any better," Hudayar said. "In fact recently, just yesterday the Chinese government announced that it's going to continue its policies to 'fight against terrorism,' to push back against Uyghurs, saying that the Chinese government is not doing anything wrong, and it's just trying to ensure political stability."

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