Joe Biden has appeared to downplay China’s genocide of Uighur Muslims, saying “culturally there are different norms” in every country.
Mr Biden made the comments during a CNN town hall on Tuesday night, where he was asked by host Anderson Cooper about his recent conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In that conversation, the newly elected President reportedly pressed his counterpart over human rights abuses in Hong Kong and the northwestern Xinjiang province, where more than one million Uighur men and women have reportedly been detained in a sprawling network of “re-education” camps.
Mr Biden answered by relaying Mr Xi’s justification for the abuses, saying the Chinese President “gets it”.
“You know, Chinese leaders, if you know anything about Chinese history, it has always been, the time when China has been victimised by the outer world is when they haven’t been unified at home,” he said.
“So the central – it’s vastly overstated – the central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China, and he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that.”