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The Biden administration’s efforts to sustain a dialogue with Beijing must be questioned in light of the Chinese regime’s gross and consistent human rights violations against its own people.

While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) consistently violates human rights and has done so since it came to power in 1949, the intense focus on Islam is part of a new wave of repression against religious freedom in China. Communist leader Xi Jinping has launched a campaign to “Sinicize” and “deradicalize” religions in China, that is, to pressure organized religions to conform to “Xi Jinping Thought” and the CCP’s demands. This is part of the sharp crackdown against Chinese citizens and enforced compliance with Xi’s oppression. Xi’s regime is characterized by universal human rights violations, but he has a particularly intense and targeted pattern of human rights abuses against religion. Last year, the United Nations condemned the regime for its abuses against Muslims in Xinjiang as a “crime against humanity.”

In the most recent outrage, the Chinese police demolished a mosque in Najiaying village in Yunnan Province. Thousands of the 11-million-strong Hui Muslim minority in China attempted unsuccessfully to stop the destruction of the mosque. Over the last few years, the CCP has removed overtly Islamic architecture in China. This has included destroying domes and minarets from more than a thousand Hui mosques across the country.

The pattern of cultural destruction and genocide against Muslims in Xinjiang appears to be spreading to Hui Muslims in Yunnan. As it first occurred in Xinjiang, the brutal coercion is now spreading to Yunnan. Beijing has moved to restrict the religious practices of Hui Muslims across China, including closing Islamic schools, terminating Arabic language classes, enforcing edicts on facial hair, and hindering Islamic religious education and practice.

While this is occurring, the Biden administration is attempting to promote engagement with China. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin attempted to meet with Li Shangfu, China’s new defense minister, on the sidelines of the annual Shangri-La Security Dialogue in Singapore, which started on June 2. It was one of Austin’s several efforts to meet with his Chinese counterpart but was rebuffed each time by China. Austin’s failed efforts follow an earlier meeting in May when national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with his Chinese counterpart in Vienna and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met with her Chinese counterpart, Wang Wentao, in Washington. The meeting in Beijing with Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not been rescheduled despite U.S. efforts to do so. The scheduled meeting was postponed due to the outrage over the Chinese spy balloon.

The outreach to Beijing is not in the U.S. national interest; it is unseemly and illustrative of the triumph of the failed engagement policy that, with the exception of the Trump presidency, has governed U.S. policy toward China for a generation.

Given the CCP’s gross human rights abuse against its own citizens, immediate steps are necessary to be taken by the Biden administration, key U.S. allies and partners like India and the European Union, human rights organizations, and especially by Islamic states.

First, the Biden administration must pressure the CCP by canceling Blinken’s trip to Beijing. No U.S. secretary of state should meet with Chinese officials while the regime persecutes its population. The genocide of Chinese Muslims compels a response from the international community, and the Biden administration has the opportunity to lead and mobilize the world’s population against the CCP. Immediate measures must be employed against the regime to end its actions and ensure the persecution does not escalate.

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