In the end, that politicians from both parties have paid such little mind to the Uighurs for so long says more about U.S. intentions vis-à-vis Chinese human rights than this recent flurry of purported interest. If the Trump administration decides to ratchet up the pressure on Beijing, it will be a significant development and a sign of wide-ranging shifts in how Trump means to deal with China going forward. Otherwise, the Uighurs will continue to be mostly ignored by actors inside America, regardless of how blatant, widespread, and horrific their treatment in Xinjiang becomes.
Peter Harris is an assistant professor of political science at Colorado State University.
Image: Chinese soldiers participate in an anti-terror drill in Hami, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, July 8, 2017. Picture taken July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer