The administration of US President Donald Trump has named an American Uighur Muslim academy as director of China's National Security Council, a symbolic move that could affect negotiations and relations between the two countries.
Ellenegar Tiber, a graduate of Harvard University, the daughter of a leading Uighur thinker and journalist, was recently appointed to the White House, former and current officials told Foreign Policy. Under President Donald Trump, there is a tendency not to announce appointees to the National Security Council.
Elenegar will be responsible for assisting in Chinese politics, which are now the top priorities for the Trump administration, including trade, military and human rights issues. The Ilnegar family is from northwest China's Xinjiang region, where Beijing faces accusations that it is committing cultural genocide against the Muslim majority of the Uighur population.
In recent years, China has detained between 800,000 and 2 million Uighurs, from the ethnic Kazaks and other ethnic minorities, in concentration camps, according to the US State Department. These detainees were subjected to prolonged imprisonment without trial, torture, and other forms of abuse.
Elenegar received her undergraduate studies at George Washington University and Harvard before receiving her PhD in International Security and Economic Policy from the University of Maryland in 2015. Elingar did not respond to requests for comment and the National Security Council did not comment.
Senior Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reiterated their condemnation of the Chinese government's behavior against Uighurs. "China is the bastion of the worst human rights violations of our time," Pompeo said at a religious freedom conference last month, criticizing China for its ill-treatment of Uighurs. "It is really a disgrace to our civilization."
But the Trump administration has marginalized the issue in relation to other priorities with China. At the end of last year, the administration marginalized plans to impose sanctions on China, fearing it could affect important and sensitive trade negotiations.
In June, Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to announce sanctions against Chinese watchdogs involved in human rights abuses, but Bloomberg said the sanctions were lifted by Trump, so as not to upset his Chinese counterpart ahead of their summit meeting. The 20 countries later in the month.
Trump met with victims of religious persecution from several countries last month. Johar Ilham, the daughter of a prominent Uighur scholar, told him she had not seen her father since 2013, and that between one and three million of her fellow countrymen were in concentration camps. Where in China? ”But he later added,“ It's hard ”for family members to disappear in Shenyang.
China has in recent years arrested between 800,000 and two million Uighurs.