Chamath Palihapitiya says ‘no person cares’ about Uyghur genocide in China

WASHINGTON – Billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya triggered a backlash on social media after saying during a recent episode of his podcast that “nobody cares” about the ongoing human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in China.

During a 90-minute episode, Palihapitiya told co-host Jason Calacanis on their “All In” podcast that he would be lying if he said that he cared about the Uyghurs, an ethnic Muslim minority in China’s northwest region of Xinjiang.

“Every time I say that I care about the Uyghurs, I’m really just lying if I don’t really care. And so, I’d rather not lie to you and tell you the truth, it’s not a priority for me, ” said Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist who owns 10% of the NBA team the Golden State Warriors.

The team wrote in a statement on Twitter Monday that Palihapitiya “does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization.” The Golden State Warriors’ statement did not mention the Uyghurs or China.

Calacanis and Palihapitiya began talking about the Uyghurs when Calacanis praised President Joe Biden’s foreign policy approach to China.

The Biden administration has described the abuse of Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities in the region as “widespread, state-sponsored forced labor” and “mass detention.” The Biden administration has also warned businesses with supply chain and investment ties to Xinjiang that they could face legal consequences.

In July, that warning manifested as a joint advisory from the Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security and Labor, along with the Office of the US Trade Representative. The most-pointed line from the Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory states that “businesses and individuals that do not exit supply chains, ventures, and/or investments connected to Xinjiang could run a high risk of violating US law.”

The Chinese government has previously denied any wrongdoing or human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

About 15 minutes into the podcast, Calacanis pointed to the Biden administration’s steps to curb and address China’s sweeping human rights abuses when the following conversation ensued:

Calacanis: His [President Biden’s] China policy, the fact that he came out with a statement on the Uyghurs, I thought it was very strong.

You know, it’s one of the stronger things he did, but it’s not coming up in the polls.

Palihapitiya: Let’s be honest, nobody, nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay? You bring it up because you really care. And I think that’s really nice that you care but…

Calacanis: What? What do you mean nobody cares?

Palihapitiya: The rest of us don’t care. I’m just telling you a very hard truth.

Calacanis: Wait, you personally don’t care?

Palihapitiya: I’m telling you a very hard truth, okay? Of all the things that I care about. Yes, it is below my line. Okay, of all the things that I care about it is below my line.

Calacanis: Disappointing.

Palihapitiya went on to say that he cared about supply chain issues, climate change, America’s crippled health-care system as well as the potential economic fallout of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

He later clarified his remarks in a Monday evening tweet, saying he recognizes that he came across as “lacking empathy.”

“As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience,” said Palihapitiya, who was born in Sri Lanka. “To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere. Full stop.”

Last month, the White House announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.”

Governments, civil society groups and United Nations officials have previously expressed concern about Beijing’s harsh measures of repressing those who criticize the Chinese Communist Party.

Overview: America struggles to reconcile the Tulsa genocide | Arts & Leisure

“The Groundbreaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice” by Scott Ellsworth (Dutton)

Nobody really knows what 19-year-old Dick Rowland did or said to Sarah Page in Tulsa, Oklahoma when he took the elevator to the fourth floor of the Drexel building, the closest to Rowland’s shoe shine, which has a black one Person standing could use the washroom. But the 17-year-old Page yelled, Rowland ran, and the police were called. Page declined to press charges, but police arrested Rowland anyway the next day.

Soon a white mob appeared in the prison, eager to carry out their justice through a rope hanging from a tree.

But Greenwood blacks rushed to defend Rowland, and that was enough to spark a torrent of falsehoods, especially blacks plotting a rebellion.

As Scott Ellsworth notes in his book “The Groundbreaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice,” radio had not yet come to Tulsa, and in the absence of fact, fiction took over. Within a few hours, thousands of white Tulsans mobilized to exterminate Greenwood.

And that night they killed, looted and burned in the shops, hotels, churches, houses – all in the black community.

The fire brigade rolled to the scene, but only to protect nearby white houses.

Almost immediately, Tulsa’s white community recognized the looming public relations threat posed by the massacre. In the coordinated campaign that followed, references to the killing and destruction of Greenwood were removed – from everything.

This conspiracy of silence went on for a long time.

Jeff Williams, who now lives and works in Long Beach, California, recalls that the massacre was never mentioned while attending Tulsa high school in the 1980s.

This month, Tulsa will finally acknowledge its sins of May 31st and June 1st, 1921 in Remember & Rise observations of the day 36 blocks were wiped out.

How many were killed may never be known. Mass graves are only now being exhumed.

Ellsworth’s book contains an engaging, painful-to-read account of a mass crime that, to our eternal shame as Americans, escaped justice. Few appear to have objected to the deliberate abandonment of any ideal our nation stands for.

The Ellsworth book offers us a clear story of the Tulsa massacre and, with that account, the chance to reconcile one of our darkest hours as a nation.

The readers of this book will fervently hope that we will take advantage of this opportunity.

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