Chamath Palihapitiya, a Silicon Valley-based Sri Lanka born American venture capitalist, has retracted from the statements he made over the weekend that “nobody cares” about the genocide of Uyghur Muslims in China and nor does he.
Chamath, who owns a minority stake in the NBA’s Golden State Warriors basketball team and who operates a venture capital fund whose mission is ‘to advance humanity by solving the world’s hardest problems’, triggered a massive outrage with his callous and unsympathetic remarks for the Uyghurs.
Following the controversy, Chamath took to Twitter to issue a statement. “In re-listening to this week’s podcast, I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy,” Palihapitiya tweeted. “I acknowledge that entirely.”
Important issues deserve nuanced discussions. Some clarifying comments: pic.twitter.com/St2jccsu05— Chamath Palihapitiya (@chamath) January 18, 2022
“As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience. To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere. Full stop,” he added.
While the 45-year-old American billionaire backtracked from his apathetic comments for the Ughyur Muslims detained at internment camps in China, he refrained from mentioning them specifically in his statement and tried to draw a moral equivalence between the United States and China. Far from offering an honest and unconditional apology, Chamath’s anodyne tweet appeared to be a delicate balance aimed at taming the spiralling outrage as well as keeping oneself in CCP’s good books.
Chamath Palihapitiya says nobody cares about what’s happening to Uyghurs in China
The controversy erupted during the discussion of President Biden’s efforts to address the plight of Uyghurs in China and its impact on the polls back in the United States. On the “All In’ podcast, on which Palihapitiya is a co-host, the American billionaire said nobody cared about the condition of Uyghurs Muslims in China.
“Let’s be honest, nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs,” Palihapitiya said. “You bring it up because you really care, and I think that’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care. I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, it is below my line.”
When @NBA says we stand for justice, don’t forget there are those who sell their soul for money & business like @chamath the owner of @warriors,— Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) January 17, 2022
who says “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs”
When genocides happen, it is people
like this that let it happen
Chamath said his concern was more for various domestic inconveniences.
“I care about [empty shelves at grocery stores]. I care about the fact that our economy could turn on a dime if China invades Taiwan. I care about that. I care about climate change. I care about America’s crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure,” he added.
“But if you’re asking me do I care about a segment of a class of people in another country? Not until we can take care of ourselves will I prioritize them over us. I think a lot of people believe that and I’m sorry if that’s a hard truth to hear. But every time I say that I care about the Uyghurs, I’m really just lying if I don’t really care,” Chamath elaborated.
China’s continuous subjugation of Uyghur Muslims
Uyghur Muslims are being subjected to unspeakable atrocities by the Chinese Communist Party. From the last few years, several reports have emerged detailing the cruel treatment meted out to Uyghur Muslims living in the restive province of Xinjiang. According to a 2017 report by the head of the Institute of Sociology at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing considers the increasing Muslim population in Xinjiang a threat to its political hegemony.
They are penned in internment camps that are euphemistically described as “re-education” centres. However, experts are of the view that it is a strategy of the Communist Party of China (CCP) to strip Uyghurs of their religious and ethnic identity and assimilate them into the dominant Han Chinese ethnicity. While Uighur Muslims are often subjected to re-educational programs, forced labour, and digital surveillance, their children are indoctrinated in orphanages.
Reportedly, Uighur Muslims have been the subject of a massive crackdown since 2017. They were held up in prisons for praying, travelling abroad, or even using social media under the pretext of containing ‘ religious extremism’. According to researcher Zenz, two counties and townships have directed authorities to leave no ‘blind spots’, contain illegal births, and decrease fertility levels.