China on Friday accused the United States of “ignoring the suffering” of Muslims after Washington blocked a scheduled UN Security Council meeting aimed at addressing an intensifying conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
China itself has been accused by many, including the US, of genocide over its policies regarding Muslims and ethnic minorities in the western Xinjiang province.
The US, Israel’s diplomatic shield at the UN, blocked an originally scheduled Friday session despite ongoing violence — but eventually agreed to move it to Sunday, diplomats said.
As the crisis has unfurled, China has taken up the Palestinian cause at the Security Council, a venue where it frequently plays its veto card to block motions against its allies.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters the US had single-handedly obstructed the Security Council from speaking out on the crisis, “standing on the opposite side of the international community.”
“What we can feel is that the US keeps saying that it cares about the human rights of Muslims… but it was ignoring the suffering of the Palestinian people,” Hua added.
She contrasted America’s reluctance at the Security Council with calls by the US, Britain and Germany for China to end repression of its Uighur Muslim minority — an incendiary issue in US-China relations.
“The US should realize that the lives of Palestinian Muslims are equally precious,” she said.
China has imprisoned more than 1 million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups, in a vast network of concentration camps, according to US officials and human rights groups. People have been subjected to torture, sterilization, and political indoctrination in addition to forced labor as part of an assimilation campaign in a region whose inhabitants are ethnically and culturally distinct from the Han Chinese majority.
The US, Israel’s key ally, has defended the Jewish state’s airstrikes in the coastal enclave, which came in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian terror group Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip.
But US President Joe Biden’s administration has also voiced alarm over civilian casualties and earlier pushed Israel to hold off on evictions of Palestinians in Jerusalem, the immediate trigger for the flare-up.
Hua said Friday that efforts should be made to lower tensions and prevent the crisis from escalating.
She restated that China will push the Security Council to take action soon, as well as reiterate its firm support for a two-state solution.
Security Council sessions, held by videoconference due to the pandemic, require the support of all 15 members.