Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Thursday while on a trip to the United Kingdom that while China is committing genocide against Uyghurs, the “overriding” issue at hand is climate change.
“With their military aggression in the South China Sea, with their continuation of genocide with the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, with their violation of the cultural, religious priority of Tibet, with their suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and other parts of China as well, they’re just getting worse in terms of suppression and freedom of speech,” Pelosi said while speaking at the Cambridge Union Society Moderated Conversation.
Pelosi: Yes, China’s committed “genocide” against the Uighurs; “having said that,” the bigger, “overrriding” issue is “working together on climate” pic.twitter.com/xfk2jPgXTH
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 16, 2021
“So human rights, security, economically. Having said all of that,” Pelosi continued, noting she has relations with China, “We have to work together on climate. Climate is an overriding issue and China is the leading emitter in the world, U.S. too, developed world too, but we must work together. So we have to have a level of communication on whether it’s COVID-19, whether it’s terrorism, whether it’s climate. We still have to have some communication and dialogue with China on that.”
Pelosi isn’t the only prominent Democrat to seemingly look past human rights abuses in order to focus on climate change. Special Climate Envoy and former Secretary of State John Kerry said in April while the U.S. may have “differences on human rights” with China but the two must work together to fight climate change.
China’s 2019 greenhouse gas emissions exceeded those of the U.S. and the rest of the developed world combined for the first time, with the nation responsible for 27% of global emissions. The U.S. came in second at 11% while India came in third at 6.6%, according to Rhodium Group. The group expects China to lead 2020 emissions but data has not been finalized.
The communist nation has set up internment camps to hold mainly Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities. The camps are surrounded by concrete walls and patrolled by armed guards. Axios estimates China has detained up to two million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in so-called “re-education camps.” China claims the camps are detention centers used in part for their “war on terror,” claiming threats of Uyghur separatism and Islamist terrorism. (RELATED: Senate Votes To Ban Imports From Xinjiang Over Human Rights Abuses Against Uyghurs)
One teacher at the Dabancheng center, however, called the facility “worse than hell” and described hearing sounds of people being tortured with electric batons and iron chairs, The Associated Press reported.
Both the Biden administration and Trump administration have confirmed China is engaging in genocide against the Uyghur Muslims, noting China is involved in “imprisonment, torture, rape, forced sterilization … [and] draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movmement.”
Pelosi is in the United Kingdom to participate in the G7 Heads of Parliament Conference which begins Friday.