What are some of the issues that the leader of the free world should have raised more forcefully but didn’t?
The Tibetan issue is one. The plight of the minority Turkic-speaking Uyghur people in the Western Xinjiang region is another. Both Tibet and Xinjiang with their very different and very religious ethnic groups sit uneasily in China which has had in place an unofficial policy to drown their cultures through migration of majority Han Chinese into their regions since the 1950s. Dissidents from both regions have termed this “cultural genocide”.
Tibetans and Uyghurs were not looking for President Obama to support independence in either region; most of their leaders are realists. But they probably expected him to speak more strongly in support of better treatment and more autonomy for them within China; to stand up for their rights as fellow human beings; to speak out against indiscriminate arrests, imprisonment and even the death penalty used against those who dare to question Beijing’s rule. But he didn’t.