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Blinken Raises US Concerns With China Over Xinjiang and Hong Kong | Coronavirus pandemic News

“Genocide and crimes against humanity”, erosion of “democratic standards” cited by Washington in appeal with Beijing.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a phone call with China’s top diplomat, reiterated US concerns about the “ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing” against Muslim Uighurs in the region China’s far west of Xinjiang and “the deterioration of democratic standards” under Chinese rule in Hong Kong.

Secretary Blinken met with Yang Jiechi, the Communist Party of China top foreign affairs official, on Friday to discuss a range of thorny issues facing the two great powers, including North Korea’s nuclear program. , said a State Department spokesperson.

Blinken’s comments to Yang follow the June 10 publication of an Amnesty International report showing that Xinjiang has become a “dystopian hellish landscape” where Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities face challenges. “Mass internment and torture amounting to crimes against humanity”.

Blinken’s conversation with Yang comes as challenges posed by China feature in ongoing discussions among leaders of the Group of Seven Industrialized Democracies in the UK attended by President Joe Biden.

China cracked down on democracy advocates in Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under an agreed “One China, Two Systems” principle that was meant to maintain democratic freedoms in Hong Kong.

In addition to “the need for the United States and the PRC to work together for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Blinken and Yang discussed other “shared global challenges,” including Iran, Myanmar and the crisis. climate change, State Department spokesman Ned Price said. in a report.

Blinken called for more “cooperation and transparency” from Chinese authorities in the World Health Organization’s ongoing investigations into the origin of the COVID-19 virus.

During the call, Yang expressed to Blinken Beijing the grave concern of some people in the United States who were spreading the “absurd story” of the coronavirus escaping from a laboratory in Wuhan, Chinese state media said. .

Beijing strongly opposed what Yang called “heinous actions” regarding the pandemic, which it said were being used to slander China, state broadcaster CCTV said, according to Reuters news service. .

The top US diplomat called on Beijing to “cease its campaign of pressure against Taiwan and to resolve the cross-strait issues peacefully,” Price said. Yang told Blinken that Washington should handle Taiwan-related issues “carefully and appropriately,” CCTV reported.

Washington should work with Beijing to restore relations, Yang said, according to CCTV.

The United States and China have been engaged in increasingly tense diplomatic exchanges since Blinken and Yang met face to face in Alaska in March. At the time, the United States expressed “deep concern” about China’s actions, and China reacted as “strongly opposed to US interference in China’s internal affairs.”

Bonnie Glaser, Asia expert at the German Marshall Fund think tank, told Reuters that while the agenda included potential areas of cooperation, the conversation seemed dominated by contentious issues.

She said Yang’s call in Washington to work with Beijing to get relations back on track indicated that China still held responsibility for the problems in the relationship on the United States.

Diplomatic tensions notwithstanding, China’s largest rideshare company Didi Chuxing on Thursday filed an initial public offering of shares in U.S. financial markets in what is expected to be the world’s largest IPO this year, Reuters reported. .

The company is backed by Asia’s largest technology investment firms – SoftBank, Alibaba, and Tencent. Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters it could raise around $ 10 billion and seek a valuation of nearly $ 100 billion.

At that valuation, Didi’s listing would be the largest offering of Chinese equities in the United States since Alibaba raised $ 25 billion in 2014.

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