Donald Trump met various victims of religious persecution from around the world on Wednesday, including four people from China: among them were Falun Gong practitioner Yuhua Zhang, Tibetan Buddhist Nyima Lhamo, and Jewher Ilham, the daughter of jailed Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti.
South China Morning Post reports:
“That’s tough stuff,” said Trump on Wednesday in response to an account by Jewher Ilham of the network of camps in Xinjiang and the ongoing imprisonment of her father, the prominent Uygur scholar Ilham Tohti.
Note: “Tough stuff” is the exact phrase U.S. Vice President Mike Pence used to describe America’s own concentration camps at its southern borders.
Trump appeared not to know in detail about the internment camps in Xinjiang – which are believed to have begun in early 2017 – asking Ilham where in China the camps were located.
Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, “has warned that the U.S. risks losing its moral authority to speak out against violations of religious freedom elsewhere in the world if it does not hold China accountable for its policies targeting Uyghurs,” according to Radio Free Asia.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today “called China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority the ‘stain of the century’ and accused Beijing of pressuring countries not to attend a U.S.-hosted conference on religious freedom,” reports Reuters.