In a surprising move, the Biden administration has decided to remove a Chinese institute from a trade sanctions list in exchange for help from Chinese President Xi Jinping in combatting the deadly fentanyl crisis. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science had been slapped with sanctions in 2020 due to concerns about human rights violations against Uyghurs and other religious minorities in China. However, it seems that President Biden is more concerned about the fentanyl crisis than the plight of the Uyghurs, as the decision to ease off the institute has sparked outrage among Republicans and activists.
Biden removes Chinese institute from sanctions list in exchange for fentanyl cooperation https://t.co/66o1FvzIp8
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) November 17, 2023
According to reports, the institute’s removal from the sanctions list was made in exchange for Chinese assistance in cracking down on the shipments of chemical precursors used to make fentanyl. While some may see this as a positive step in addressing the overdose crisis, others are criticizing the administration for prioritizing one issue over another. Human rights lawyer Rayhan Asat, who has Uyghur heritage, pointed out that the U.S. has a legal obligation to address atrocity crimes, questioning whether addressing the fentanyl crisis should take precedence over the genocide of the Uyghurs.
Furthermore, the Uyghur Human Rights Project raised concerns about the institute’s involvement in collecting the DNA of millions of Uyghurs without adequate consent, highlighting the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government. Despite these alarming revelations, the Biden administration still chose to make concessions in exchange for Chinese cooperation on fentanyl.
The decision to remove the institute from the sanctions list underscores the Biden administration’s focus on combating the fentanyl crisis, which has been devastating American communities. While China had previously agreed to halt the shipment of finished fentanyl to the U.S. under pressure from the Trump administration, precursor chemicals from China continue to flow to Mexico, where they are used by drug cartels to produce deadly counterfeit pills. President Biden’s agreement with President Xi includes measures to crack down on these chemical shipments and to target pill presses made in China.
As the Biden administration celebrates this deal as a major victory in the fight against fentanyl, questions remain about the potential ramifications of making concessions to China. The Washington Times has reached out to the White House for comment on the decision to remove the institute from the sanctions list and to inquire about any other concessions made in exchange for Chinese cooperation on the fentanyl crisis.