San Francisco: An Influential US lawmaker has slammed top American firms for showing up for events which Xi Jinping held on the sidelines of the APEC Summit here, saying corporate toasting of the Chinese president contradicts America’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law.
“It is absolutely shameful that American business leaders, including executives from some of the nation’s largest corporations—Apple, Black Rock, Boeing and Pfizer, among others—gave not one, but two standing ovations in a banquet in San Francisco for Xi Jinping,” Congressman Chris Smith said, Smith is the Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Global Human Rights Subcommittee, Xi, he alleged, is responsible for the repression of predominantly Muslim Uyghurs, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners, underground Christians, and human rights activists in China, and for cracking down on freedom in Hong Kong.
“He has created a massive surveillance state that spies on its own people while threatening Taiwan and neighbours in the South China Sea militarily. And, his henchmen have set up shop in US cities harassing dissidents and human rights advocates for whom we have provided refuge,” Smith said.
“At a time when China’s repression has deepened within and beyond its borders, the corporate toasting of Xi Jinping drastically contradicts America’s important commitment to human rights and the rule of law,” he said.
“The CECC will continue its work to ensure accountability for any American corporation’s involvement in forced labour, targeted collection of DNA from ethnic minorities, and other human rights violations,” Smith said.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in a separate statement strongly condemned US corporations for continuing to conduct business in China while ignoring the country’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, including mass extralegal detention, forced labour, and sexual violence, and egregious religious freedom violations against Uyghur and other Muslims, underground Catholics, house church protestants, Falun Gong practitioners, and many others.
“The US business community must never put its faith in a ruthless communist regime which violates international law and its own law, while actively engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations and other atrocious human rights abuses,” said USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel.
“Instead of a standing ovation for a dictator, US companies should comply with US laws—including the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act—and work with the US government to carry out human rights due diligence and to ensure their operations in China and here in the United States do not contribute to more human rights abuses,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congressman Gregory W Meeks, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Ami Bera, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific, said they were glad to see President Joe Biden host Xi for a Summit in San Francisco, where the President had convened dozens of world leaders at the sideline of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Week.
"As we compete with the People's Republic of China (PRC) and stand up for American interests, we also need to engage in diplomacy to stabilise the relationship and ensure that we do not inadvertently slide into conflict,” they said in a joint statement.
"President Biden’s decision to combine vigorous competition with sustained diplomacy is not just prudent, it is paying off for the American people. We welcome the announcement that the two nations have agreed to resume high-level military-to-military and defence talks,” the two lawmakers said.
“Critically, the two nations also agreed to resume cooperation to combat the manufacturing and trafficking of illicit drugs such as fentanyl, which is killing Americans on a daily basis. As the PRC takes concrete steps to crack down on the diversion of precursor chemicals and pill presses, it will save lives in America and around the world," Bera and Meeks said.