Gavin Newsom Says Biden Admin Told Him Not To Bring Up Human Rights Abuses With Xi, Focus On Climate Change

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the State Department advised him not to bring up human rights abuses with Chinese President Xi Jinping while he was visiting the country this past week, according to an interview shared on X, formerly Twitter.

While Newsom told Elex Michaelson of FOX Los Angeles that he was able to mention human rights abuses with Chinese Vice President Han Zheng and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, he suggested that the State Department advised him to avoid bringing the topic up when he met with Jinping. Instead, he was instructed to keep the topic of discussion focused on climate change, which was the primary purpose of his visit, he suggested during the interview, a snippet of which Michaelson posted to X on Monday.

“You didn’t bring up the issue of human rights directly to President Xi. You brought it up to the foreign minister … you know there are folks, both on the left and the right, who are disappointed by that, you clearly made a strategic choice to do that,” Michaelson said. “What was your thinking there?”

“With the foreign minister, it was in the meeting with Xi,” Newsom replied. “I spent an hour with the foreign minister, and that was the appropriate venue on the basis of the conversations I had with the State Department, and on the basis of the fact that that would be a better place to communicate a more nuanced and detailed explanation of our points of view on the issue of human rights and democracy, on issues related to Taiwan, issues related to international and foreign policy more broadly.”

“I didn’t want to miss the opportunity in those 20 minutes to reinforce the reason I was there, not as president of the United States, not as Secretary of State, but as a governor of one of the largest states and one of the largest economies in the world. To focus on low-carbon green growth … to influence this foundational agenda, which is bigger than any situational agenda in our lifetime,” Newsom continued, referencing his brief sit-down with Jinping.

Newsom was expected to mostly avoid discussing thorny subjects, including the ongoing genocide against Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region, while on his visit. While in China, Newsom took a test drive in a $160,000 hybrid electric vehicle that was manufactured by a company that he once gave a massive contract for COVID-19 masks, despite the company’s lack of experience manufacturing such products.

Numerous senior officials from the Biden administration have recently travelled to China despite rising tensions between Beijing and Washington. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen each made summer trips to China to find common ground on shared interests, but those talks do not appear to have achieved much in the way of positive results.

CCP-linked hackers breached the email accounts of Raimondo and several key State Department employees this year ahead of Kerry’s visit.

The State Department, White House and Newsom’s office all did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

Nick Pope on October 30, 2023

Daily Caller News Foundation

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