Several influential Republican lawmakers have urged US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to tell China that its “blatant aggression” against Taiwan and India is “unacceptable” and that it cannot keep abusing human rights.
The lawmakers have written a letter to Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen ahead of their trip to Beijing.
The Senators told the top officials to hold the Communist Party of China accountable for widespread human rights abuses, unfair trade practices as well as aggression towards allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
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China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, disregarding claims from Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam. Beijing also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea.
Clash with India
China has clashed with Indian troops in the disputed Himalayan region. And the Chinese military has increasingly taken a belligerent stand against Taiwan, which it has vowed to merge with the mainland.
China, the Senators wrote, has stepped up aggression in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
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Signatories to the letter include Marco Rubio, Chuck Grassley, Bill Cassidy, Eric Schmitt, Dan Sullivan, Kevin Cramer, Ted Budd, Rick Scott, Marsha Blackburn, Lindsey Graham, Shelley Moore Capito, Pete Ricketts, John Hoeven and Bill Hagerty.
“As we have seen recently, General Secretary Xi (Jinping) has engaged in unacceptable and provocative behaviour in the Taiwan Strait and along the Himalayan border with India,” the letter said.
“Beyond the Indo-Pacific, the CCP has … intelligence collection outposts in the United States, Japan and throughout Europe to suppress dissidents and keep tabs on those who Beijing deems a threat.
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“It is evident that General Secretary Xi is determined to use coercion and aggression against the US and our allies and partners to achieve his geopolitical goals.
“Deterring the CCP from achieving these goals, therefore, must be our top priority,” the Senators said.
The Senators accused the Chinese regime of blatantly breaching human rights vis-à-vis Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups.
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The government measures include mass surveillance and internment, denial of individuals rights to practice their religion, forced labour, sexual violence, forced abortion and forced sterilisation of women.
Beijing also denies human rights to other groups such as Tibetans, Christians and Falun Gong practitioners, the Republican said.
China was also responsible for fuelling the fentanyl crisis in the US which continues to kill Americans.
US citizens detained
The Senators accused China of wrongfully detaining US citizens and their family members.
“You must make clear that the United States will not cooperate with a regime that uses hostages as bargaining chips,” the letter said.
The Senators spoke of unfair trade practices and industrial espionage by China.
“Over the last several decades, China has engaged in a methodical campaign to steal American intellectual property and research, often redirecting the acquired technologies to military ends.
“It has repeatedly abused its privileges in the world trading system to exploit our nations open economy and establish itself a leader in critical industries, including pharmaceuticals, rare-earth minerals, and commodities such as steel.”
(With input from Agencies)