China highlights America's genocide toward tribes on the geopolitical stage
After U.S. diplomats boycotted the Beijing Olympics citing Chinese human rights abuses, China's U.S. embassy releases policy paper highlighting American Indian genocide.
Need more cognitive dissonance in your Sunday reading? Look no further.
The U.S. Embassy of the People's Republic of China, for its own geopolitical purposes, is using the U.S. government’s historical genocide of American Indians as a tool to call out American diplomats’ largely symbolic boycott of the Beijing Olympics due to concerns about China’s treatment of ethnic minorities.
In a policy paper released March 2, titled, “The American Genocide of the Indians—Historical Facts and Real Evidence,” the Chinese Embassy makes an implicit argument for why it believes America’s labeling of China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim population as genocide to be a hypocritical and incorrect definition.
Key summary from the paper:
[S]uccessive U.S. administrations have not only wiped out a large number of American Indians, but also, through systematic policy design and bullying acts of cultural suppression, thrown them into an irreversible, difficult situation. The indigenous culture was fundamentally crushed, and the inter-generational inheritance of indigenous lives and spirits was under severe threats.
The slaughter, forced relocation, cultural assimilation and unjust treatment the United States committed against American Indians have constituted de facto genocides.
These acts fully match the definition of genocide in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and have continued for hundreds of years to this day.
It is imperative that the U.S. government drop its hypocrisy and double standards on human rights issues, and take seriously the severe racial problems and atrocities in its own country.
Chinese diplomats have at the same time argued that the Communist country’s treatment of its Uyghur population does not approach the human rights abuses of the American government towards its own Indigenous people, nor does the situation succinctly align with the United Nations definition of genocide.
Smithsonian Magazine provides some context: “The story of what the Uyghurs have experienced in Xinjiang, from detainment to mass surveillance to forced sterilization, has trickled out slowly due to the stringent control China exerts over its media. But over the past ten years, as documents have been leaked to the press and more Uyghur activists have escaped the country, a bleak picture has emerged, leading some observers — including the U.S. — to classify China’s ongoing human rights abuses as genocide.”
Still, China maintains that the Uyghur people have not faced genocide, and it concurrently ramps up efforts to amplify the widely-agreed upon genocide of American Indians in North America.
China has a history of highlighting America’s abuses of its Indigenous population when it suits China’s needs.
"The two-century long American history is tainted with the blood and tears of Native Indians, who were originally master of the continent," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chinying told reporters in 2019 after the U.S. House passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, which was critical of China’s treatment of the Uyghur population.
"However, starting from the 19th century, the U.S. Army occupied millions of square kilometers of land and grabbed countless natural resources by expelling and slaughtering native Indians through the Westward Expansion," Chinying added.
"Apart from that, the U.S. also conducts forced assimilation of Native Americans, killing, expelling and persecuting them and denying them their due civil rights. Today, they only account for 2.09 percent of the total U.S. population. They are facing numerous difficulties, including backward infrastructure in reservations, shortage of water and electricity, lack of Internet access, unemployment, poverty, diseases and poor living conditions. In front of all these shocking facts, can the U.S. politicians feign ignorance? Where is their conscience?"
Also in 2019, China issued a report on the U.S. human rights record involving American Indian voter disenfranchisement and the Missing Murdered Indigenous Women crisis.
Are contemporary American Indians happy that China is using American Indian genocide as a way to obfuscate its own potential abuses?
“But China's embassy did a good job of laying out the evidence of #NativeAmerican #genocide by the U.S,” the organization says about the Chinese Embassy’s new policy paper, offering a link to it. (Shannon Keller O’Loughlin, chief executive with the Association on American Indian Affairs, is noted as saying in the paper that the greatest aspiration of Native Americans is to attain social recognition. She is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation.)
If the case has to be made by Chinese diplomats, so be it, appears to be the rationale of some Indigenous advocates.
Full policy paper is pasted below:
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Indigenous Wire to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.