US President Joe Biden has raised concerns over the human rights situation in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong during a virtual meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Tuesday.

Biden and Xi Jinping held an “in-depth and constructive” meeting for over three hours and exchanged views on bilateral relations and issues of common interest.

“President Biden raised concerns about the PRC’s practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly,” the White House statement said.

In a White House statement, Biden said that he was clear about the need to protect American workers and industries from the People’s Republic of China (PRC’s) unfair trade and economic practices.

Both the leaders also discussed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and communicated the continued determination of the United States to uphold our commitments in the region, the statement read.

Beijing has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and subjecting them to abuse including forced labour. However, Chinese authorities continue to deny all charges.

President Biden has been outspoken on China’s human rights abuses against minorities.

Reports have also informed that about 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are believed to have been a part of Beijing’s camp system since 2017. The detainees are held against their will and endure inhumane treatment and political indoctrination, Radio Free Asia reported.

According to RFA sources in the region, Chinese authorities have long sought to restrict the size and influence of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, traditionally a focus of Tibetan cultural and national identity.

Chinese troops occupied Tibet in 1950 and later annexed it. The 1959 Tibetan uprising saw violent clashes between Tibetan residents and Chinese forces. The 14th Dalai Lama fled to neighbouring India after the failed uprising against Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama, the supreme Tibetan Buddhist leader, established a government-in-exile in India.

China was also accused of suppression of the democratic voices in Hong Kong by the Chinese authorities.

The US President and his Chinese counterpart held a first meeting between the two leaders since Biden has assumed office.

Biden also underscored his country’s commitment to the “one China” policy and also strongly opposed unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Reiterating the importance of freedom of navigation, Biden stressed that the US will continue to stand up for its interests and values to ensure the rules of the road for the 21st century advance an international system that is free, open, and fair.

“On Taiwan, President Biden underscored that the United States remains committed to the ‘one China’ policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances, and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the White House said in a statement.
The highly-anticipated meeting between the leaders of two global powerhouses lasted for over three hours. (ANI)