The US president’s highlighting of the Uighurs comes at a time of strong tension between Washington and Beijing.
“Together with our partners, the United States stands in solidarity with Muslims who continue to face oppression, including Uighurs in the People’s Republic of China, Rohingya in Burma, and other Muslim communities facing persecution around the world,” Biden said in a statement on Thursday. Myanmar was formerly known as Burma.
“During this sacred time of reflection, the United States also reaffirms our support to Muslim communities suffering hardships and devastation,” Biden said, referring to earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria, and flood victims in Pakistan.
“Today especially, we remember the universal human right to practice, pray, and preach our faiths peacefully and openly.”
Biden’s highlighting of the Uighurs – who the US government says are being subjected to genocide by the Chinese communist authorities – came at a time of strong tension between Washington and Beijing.
According to rights groups, Uighurs are subjected to mass imprisonment in forced labour camps and banned from expressing their culture. Beijing says the ethnic minority is not being repressed and that any security measures in their northwestern region of Xinjiang are a response to a terrorism threat.