House Majority Whip James Clyburn declined Tuesday to say if China committed genocide against their minority population of Uighur Muslims.
In an appearance on Fox News’ “America Reports” Clyburn was asked by host Sandra Smith to give his reaction to the formal declaration by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the Chinese Communist Party is committing “genocide” against the Uighur Muslims.
“I don’t know. You know, I try to stay out of these foreign affairs matters,” Clyburn stated. “I have not made that a particular endeavor of mine here in the Congress. I listen to these things and I usually reserve comment when they are bordering on international issues, and I will today as well.”
Pompeo made the declaration Tuesday, causing the U.S. to be the first country to formally declare China’s actions a genocide. The declaration came after a year-long review by the State Department.
Pompeo specifically cited unjustified imprisonment, forced labor and sterilization and the torture of millions as genocidal actions carried out by the CCP.
Many abuses have been documented in the region of Xinjiang, where most of China’s Uighurs live. There are currently over 1 million Uighurs being held in mass detention centers and re-education camps, with many being subject to forced labor, torture, and forced sterilization.
Smith pressed Clyburn on the issue and asked if he supported the declaration.
“I don’t know. I have not studied it. I don’t react to headlines. I tend to see exactly what leads to these headlines. You know, what’s gotten us into so much trouble in this country today is sound bites, people reacting to sound bites, and then when you look at them you see that that’s not what the substance is, so I’ll have to see what the substance of it is,” Clyburn responded.
Smith went on to say that she had been getting reactions from “various lawmakers” who supported the action, and then played a video clip of Pompeo speaking to Fox News’ John Roberts about the declaration. After the clip she asked Clyburn if Chinese President Xi Jinping was guilty of genocide.
“Once again, I’m going to stay out of these international issues. Pompeo has not been one of my favorite people, and doing something like this on the last day in office, I wish that transition had taken place in the normal way so that the Biden administration would be a part of these kinds of issues,” Clyburn said. “To do these kinds of things on the last day in office, putting people in real sensitive positions and trying to make it difficult for the incoming administration, I’m just not going to get into that.”
Smith tried once more by asking, “Do you believe that he [Jinping] is guilty of genocide knowing what you know today? It’s incredibly important that we know where the incoming administration stands on that as well.” (RELATED: Biden Expected To Be Tougher On China Than Previous Democratic Administrations)
“You can ask me as many times as you wish. I am not going to get into that. I’m going to wait and see what an administration that I trust and what conclusions they come up with before I get into it. I’m not going to pass judgement on that,” Clyburn concluded.