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US ambassador, Chinese diplomat clash over racism at UN General Assembly

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield and a Chinese diplomat clashed on Friday after Greenfield, who is Black, described her own experience with racism during a U.N. General Assembly meeting.

Thomas-Greenfield said at the meeting, meant to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, that while she has faced racism in her life, racism in countries like China has proven deadly.

«I know the ugly face of racism. I lived racism, I have experienced racism and I have survived racism,» she said.

«Racism is the problem of the racist. And it is the problem of the society that produces the racist. And in today’s world that is every society,» she continued.

«Racism was and continues to be a daily challenge wherever we are. And for millions, it’s more than a challenge. It’s deadly.»

She pointed to Myanmar, «where Rohingya and others have been oppressed, abused, and killed in staggering numbers,» and China, «where the government has committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Uighurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,» a region in northwest China.

China’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Dai Bing took issue with Thomas-Greenfield’s comments and noted that despite her having «admitted to her country’s ignoble human rights record,» it «does not give her country the license to get on a high horse and tell other countries what to do,» according to Reuters.

«If the U.S. truly cared about human rights, they should address the deep-seated problems of racial discrimination, social injustice and police brutality, on their own soil,» Dai reportedly told the General Assembly.

Thomas-Greenfield in her remarks recalled her own personal experiences with racism in the U.S., but said Americans are working to address such instances.

«We have flaws. Deep, serious flaws. But we talk about them. We work to address them. And we press on, in hopes that we can leave the country better than we found it,» she said.

Thomas-Greenfield also mentioned the recent shooting spree that took place in Georgia, in which eight people were killed, six of whom were of Asian descent.

The clash between the diplomats highlighted tensions between the U.S. and China that seemed to swell as President Biden’s administration held its first in-person meeting with Chinese officials since Biden took office.

Chinese Communist Party Yang Jiechi on Thursday questioned the state of U.S. democracy, stating that «many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.» 

Contenido publicado en The Hill

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