China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi warned the Biden administration not to cross Beijing’s “red line” in a half-hour speech on the evening of Feb. 1.
“The United States should stop interference in the affairs of Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang,” Yang said, calling the issues regarding the three regions China’s “internal affairs.” He made the remarks while speaking at a virtual event hosted by New York-based nonprofit the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
Yang added: “They constitute a red line that must not be crossed. Any trespassing would end up undermining China-U.S. relations and the United States’ own interests.”
He also told the United States that it should “strictly abide by the One China principle” with regards to Taiwan, a self-ruled island that Beijing claims is part of its territory.
The Trump administration confronted China on its human rights violations against Falun Gong adherents, Hongkongers, Muslim minorities, Tibetans, and Uyghurs, by imposing visa restrictions and sanctions against Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials responsible for the abuse.
The Chinese regime has often deflected international criticism against its own policies by claiming that certain issues, including its militarization efforts in the South China Sea and coercion tactics against Taiwan, are “internal affairs.”
Yang called on the Biden administration to “restore” the China-U.S. relationship to a “predictable and constructive track of development.”
He named areas in which he said the two countries could cooperate, including drug control and cybersecurity.
China is the largest source of illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-like substances in the United States, according to a 2018 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more powerful than heroin. As little as two milligrams is considered a lethal dosage for most people.
Under the Trump administration, the Justice Department brought more indictments related to China’s trade secrets theft and related crimes in 2019 than during the eight years of the Obama administration.
Yang also criticized the Trump administration, saying that its “misguided policies” had led the bilateral relationship to “its most difficult period” since the two countries established diplomatic ties.
Washington ended its diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing in 1979 but has maintained a robust relationship with the island based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). Under the Trump administration, the Taiwan-U.S. relationship warmed considerably, most evident by Pompeo’s decision to lift restrictions on how U.S. officials should interact with their Taiwanese counterparts.
Jacob Gunter, senior policy and communications manager at the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China took to Twitter to give his summary of Yang’s speech.
“Trump bad, it’s all his/your fault, and let’s just go back to the 2015 status quo,” he wrote. “The lack of even feigned introspection isn’t even surprising anymore.”
Scott Kennedy, senior adviser and Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics at the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), also commented on Yang’s speech.
“Bottom line: Beijing is ready [to] cooperate only on China’s terms,” he wrote.
U.S.-based China affairs commentator Tang Jingyuan said in a phone interview that the Chinese regime was using both soft and hard tactics to pressure the administration, in the hopes of restarting official talks with the United States.
His speech could be read as an indication that the Chinese regime would be willing to make concessions if the United States would promise not to cross the “red lines.”
Ultimately, Tang believes the Chinese regime wants to “revert back to a time when human rights and commerce were decoupled from each other” during negotiations, so that the regime could continue to do business with the United States, while ignoring human rights issues.
Nicole Hao contributed to this report.
HOUSTON—President Joe Biden’s administration has deported hundreds of immigrants in its early days despite his campaign pledge to stop removing most people in the United States illegally at the beginning of his term.
A federal judge last week ordered the Biden administration not to enforce a 100-day moratorium on deportations, but the ruling did not require the government to schedule them. In recent days, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has deported immigrants to at least three countries: 15 people to Jamaica on Thursday and 269 people to Guatemala and Honduras on Friday. More deportation flights were scheduled Monday.
It’s unclear how many of those people are considered national security or public safety threats or had recently crossed the border illegally, the priority under new guidance that the Department of Homeland Security issued to enforcement agencies and that took effect Monday.
Some of the people put on the flights may have been expelled—which is a quicker process than deportation—under a public health order that former President Donald Trump invoked during the coronavirus pandemic and that Biden has kept in place.
In the border city of El Paso, Texas, immigration authorities on Friday deported a woman who witnessed the 2019 massacre at a Walmart that left 22 people dead. She had agreed to be a witness against the gunman and has met with the local district attorney’s office, according to her lawyers.
Rosa was pulled over Wednesday for a broken brake light, detained based on previous traffic warrants, then transferred to ICE, which deported her before she could reach her attorney, said Melissa Lopez, executive director of the nonprofit Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, which represents her.
Rosa is being identified only by her first name because she fears for her safety in Juarez, a city across the U.S.-Mexico border from El Paso that’s known for violence and gang activity.
Jail records confirm that Rosa was booked into the El Paso jail on Wednesday for the warrants and left Friday. ICE had issued what’s known as a “detainer,” seeking to hold her on immigration violations the day she was arrested, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
The El Paso district attorney’s office confirmed in a statement Monday that it had given Rosa’s attorneys the documentation needed to request a U.S. visa for crime victims. But the statement also said Rosa “is not a victim of the Walmart shooting case.” The district attorney did not immediately respond to follow-up questions.
Her lawyers say Rosa pleaded guilty in 2018 to driving under the influence and ICE later released her, underscoring that authorities under Trump previously found she wasn’t a threat to the public, Lopez said.
Both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris vocally opposed the Trump administration’s immigration priorities during the presidential campaign.
“It’s important that President Biden and Vice President Harris realize that despite their very clear desires about how immigrants are treated, we continue to see on a local level immigrants being mistreated and disregarded,” Lopez said.
ICE said Friday that it had deported people to Jamaica and that it was in compliance with last week’s court order. The agency did not respond to several requests for further comment on additional deportation flights or Rosa’s case.
Officials in Honduras confirmed that 131 people were on a deportation flight that landed Friday. Another flight that landed in Guatemala on Friday had 138 people, with an additional 30 people expected to arrive Monday, officials there said.
The White House referred questions to the Department of Homeland Security, but a spokesman did not return requests for comment.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas, whose district includes El Paso, said her office had flagged Rosa’s case to the White House.
“My concern is that ICE will continue to move quickly before the Biden administration has an opportunity to make assessments and provide further directives,” Escobar said Monday.
Two legal experts say that regardless of the judge’s order on the deportation moratorium, ICE could release immigrants with deportation orders, keep people detained, or otherwise delay the deportation process.
“Scheduling deportations is still a matter of discretion for the agency,” said Steve Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell University.
U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton last week granted a temporary restraining order sought by Texas that bars enforcement of a 100-day deportation moratorium that had gone into effect Jan. 22. Tipton said the Biden administration had violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act in issuing the moratorium and had not proven why a pause in deportations was necessary.
Tipton on Friday said he would extend his order through Feb. 23. The Justice Department has not yet asked Tipton or a federal appeals court to block the order.
The White House on Friday reissued a statement saying it believed a moratorium was “wholly appropriate,” adding that “President Biden remains committed to taking immediate action to reform our immigration system to ensure it’s upholding American values while keeping our communities safe.”
Biden is expected to issue a series of immigration-related executive orders Tuesday amid the expected confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas as Homeland Security secretary.
By Nomaan Merchant
While a federal judge in Texas on Jan. 26 blocked the order from going into effect, if it does ultimately survive court challenges, it would stop immigration officers from deporting about 85 percent of illegal immigrants, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) found. Sex offenders, domestic abusers, and fraud criminals would be among those avoiding removal from the United States.
“Essentially, this memo is an attempt to abolish immigration enforcement,” Jessica Vaughan, who performed the CIS’s analysis, told The Epoch Times.
The memo directs immigration enforcement agencies to focus on people who recently crossed into the United States illegally, who are suspected of terrorism or espionage, or who were convicted of an aggravated felony. Vaughan said the percentage of criminal aliens who actually will be targeted will, in reality, be less than 15 percent because of so-called sanctuary jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The order, signed by Acting Department of Homeland Secretary David Pekoske, will “result in a very sharp decrease of deportations compared to “those under former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama,” according to Vaughan.
“I was surprised at how far he decided to go because he had been talking as if he wanted to pursue a moderate course, obviously different policies, but claimed to not want to in a radical way,” she added. “But this is really a reckless and extreme order.”
The Biden administration didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee, blocked the policy from going into effect for two weeks, after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenged it in court. The judge said Biden’s administration didn’t give “any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that the order halting deportations for some immigrants “will allow the administration to review and reset enforcement policies and ensure that resources are dedicated to the most pressing challenges, and that we have a fair and effective enforcement system rooted in responsibly managing the border and protecting our national security and public safety.”
In another briefing on Jan. 25, Psaki said the message to migrants at the border “is that this is not the right time to come.”