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Blinken introduces the report. Photo: Mandel Ngan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The U.S. accused China of carrying out an ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in an annual human rights report released on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Introducing the report, Secretary of State Tony Blinken said President Biden would put human rights at the center of U.S. foreign policy in dealing with friends and foes alike. He also announced that an effort to redefine human rights by his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, would be disbanded.

  • Pompeo’s “Commission on Unalienable Rights” had elevated values like religious freedom and over others, like LGBTQ and reproductive rights. Blinken said the Biden administration would “repudiate” such "unbalanced statements.”
  • He also acknowledged that the U.S. had “work to do at home” on human rights, including in combating systemic racism, but would face those challenges “in the daylight,” unlike autocratic countries.

What they’re saying: Blinken highlighted human rights violations last year by the governments of Russia, Uganda, Venezuela and Belarus, as well as abuses by the warring parties in Ethiopia and Yemen.

  • “The trendlines on human rights continue to move in a negative direction… in every region of the world,” Blinken said.

Zoom in: The report finds that more than one million mainly Muslim Uyghurs were held in detention camps in China’s Xinjiang region, with some subjected to forced sterilization, rape, forced labor and torture.

  • Another two million Uyghurs were “subjected to daytime-only ‘re-education training,’” according to the report.
  • The report notes that the camps were expanded in 2020, and the abuses are ongoing.
  • Of note: The Trump administration, in its final days in office, declared China's actions against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang a "genocide."

Go deeper: Read the full State Department report.

Go deeper

FIFA's corruption and authoritarian regime problems

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Over the decades, several authoritarian regimes have hosted the World Cup, using the global spotlight to burnish their image. And FIFA, which is plagued by corruption, continues to give World Cup bids to countries with records of human rights abuses.

Why it matters: The Chinese government's ongoing genocide against Uyghurs may not stand in the way of Beijing's goal of hosting the World Cup by 2030.

Bernie Sanders: U.S. must recognize that "Palestinian rights matter"

Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photo: Stefani Reynolds via Getty Images

The United States must encourage an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East and adopt an "evenhanded approach" that recognizes Palestinians and Israelis have a right to "live in peace and security," Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wrote in a New York Times opinion on Friday.

Driving the news: Violence escalated this week after Israelis intensified efforts to evict Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. Hamas fired rockets and Israel massed troops, leaving more than 125 Palestinians and seven people in Israel dead.