US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has, in a 60 Minutes interview, accused China of acting “repressively at home and more aggressively abroad,” emphasizing it as a “fact.”
He repeated unfounded claims that “1 million” Uyghurs are being interned in facilities in China’s western region of Xinjiang and referred to it as “genocide.”
He also referred to what he and the US establishment regularly call a “rules-based” international order and insisted that the United States is not trying to “contain” China, but merely upholding this “order” he claims China is challenging.
Secretary Blinken would also claim that the US is not seeking conflict with China and that it doesn’t serve US interests to even head in that direction.
In reality – US policies of containing China have been ongoing for decades and it could easily be argued that the US is already at conflict with China.
The accusations made by the US are a form of projection – the taking of one’s own unacceptable qualities or feelings and “projecting” them onto others – but on a geopolitical level.
Secretary Blinken unflinchingly made these claims about China even as the US wages multiple illegal wars of aggression and enduring military occupations around the globe including in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, while also backing several more proxy conflicts including in Yemen – a conflict the UN itself has claimed is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
Claims of “1 million” Uyghurs being interned within China – even if it were true – would pale in comparison to the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq alone, in which a million Iraqis died.
In the lead up to the US invasion of Iraq the US maintained crippling economic sanctions on Iraq. In another 60 Minutes interview – this time with then US Ambassador to the UN Madeline Albright – she was asked if she had heard half a million children died because of US sanctions and if that price was worth it. Albright would respond by claiming, “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.”
The US military intervention in Libya – transforming one of the wealthiest and most developed nations on the African continent into a divided failed state – is another showcase of US – not “Chinese” aggression.
Far from “whataboutism,” there is nothing that China has even been accused of doing this century that is even remotely comparable.
The Chinese presence in the South China Sea cited by Blinken, is countering the uninvited presence of US warships. It can hardly be considered “aggression” rather than the logical, defensive response to the military presence of a foreign nation already in the middle of multiple wars of aggression around the globe including one directly on China’s own borders.
Indeed, US troops are still occupying Afghanistan – a nation that actually shares part of its border with China. And whether US forces withdraw or not – the US fully plans to maintain military contractors and intelligence operators within the country for many more years to come – a war by any other name.
The US presence in Afghanistan has deliberately fanned the flames of extremism across Central Asia and has been one of several vectors of extremism flowing into China’s western region of Xinjiang.
Blinken – in his 60 Minutes interview – would claim the US “doesn’t see” the terrorist threat Beijing has cited as the impetus for security operations and deradicalization programs implemented in Xinjiang.
But a causal search through even the West’s own media in previous years indicates not only a genuine terrorism problem – but one many times more widespread than alleged terrorism targeting the West.
One 2014 BBC article titled, “Why is there tension between China and the Uighurs?,” would list a multitude of terrorist attacks over just two years (emphasis added):
In June 2012, six Uighurs reportedly tried to hijack a plane from Hotan to Urumqi before they were overpowered by passengers and crew.
There was bloodshed in April 2013 and in June that year, 27 people died in Shanshan county after police opened fire on what state media described as a mob armed with knives attacking local government buildings
At least 31 people were killed and more than 90 suffered injuries in May 2014 when two cars crashed through an Urumqi market and explosives were tossed into the crowd. China called it a “violent terrorist incident”.
It followed a bomb and knife attack at Urumqi’s south railway station in April, which killed three and injured 79 others.
In July, authorities said a knife-wielding gang attacked a police station and government offices in Yarkant, leaving 96 dead. The imam of China’s largest mosque, Jume Tahir, was stabbed to death days later.
In September about 50 died in blasts in Luntai county outside police stations, a market and a shop. Details of both incidents are unclear and activists have contested some accounts of incidents in state media.
Some violence has also spilled out of Xinjiang. A March stabbing spree in Kunming in Yunnan province that killed 29 people was blamed on Xinjiang separatists, as was an October 2013 incident where a car ploughed into a crowd and burst into flames in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
The terrorism is part of a separatist movement the US – through its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – has openly supported. The US NED’s own webpage for programs it funds in Xinjiang (also referred to by the separatist nomenclature, “East Turkestan”) lists the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) as US government funding recipients. The WUC openly advocates separatism on its official website.
Backing separatism in China – something the US would most likely consider an act of war were China openly doing it to the US – is not the United State attempting to “avoid” conflict – but obviously already well in the middle of it.
Between the US military presence on China’s furthermost western border and tens of thousands of US forces present in Japan and South Korea to China’s immediate east – the US is also involved in multiple proxy conflicts and destabilization campaigns across the whole of Southeast Asia targeting some of China’s closest allies in the region.
Both Thailand and Myanmar current face US-backed anti-government protests with US-backed subversion in Myanmar quickly escalating into armed conflict. US-backed opposition groups in both countries have – for years – opposed and have attempted to stop joint infrastructure projects proposed by China as part of its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.
The US funds these opposition groups through a variety of organizations, foundations, and agencies including the NED.
Matthew Twining, president of NED subsidiary – the International Republican Institute (IRI) – would admit the US government’s role and NED specifically in building up opposition groups in Southeast Asia, installing them into power and how these client regimes would then block Chinese-led infrastructure investments.
At a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) talk titled, “Supporting Democracy in Challenging Times,” Twining would admit – regarding Malaysia specifically:
…for 15 years working with NED resources we worked to strengthen Malaysian opposition parties and guess what happened two months ago ? After 61 years they won. I visited and I was sitting there with many of the leaders – the new leaders of this government. Guess what the first step – really one of the first steps the new government took? It froze Chinese infrastructure investments.
US foreign policy stretching back from an openly detailed containment strategy referenced in the 1969-leaked “Pentagon Papers” – to the current Biden administration under which Blinken serves – is fully committed to the containment of China. Claiming during his 60 Minutes interview that the US is not trying to contain China is just one of many outright lies the US has increasingly needed to buttress its foreign policy objectives with.
Not only do more and more people in the world see the US and its containment strategy against China – including the demonstrable threat to global peace and stability it is creating – they now see the US openly lying about it.
If there is a “rules-based” international order – the US had demonstrated that it itself is the greatest danger to it – and not by attacking it front on as they claim China is doing – but by hiding behind it and undermining whatever principles it is supposedly predicated upon. An “international order” that is unable to hold a nation like the United State accountable is an “international order” that at the very least requires revision – but most likely needs to be displaced entirely by competing visions of multipolarism and the idea of a global balance of power to keep abuses in check versus an American empire disguised as a self-appointed arbiter “policing” the world.