(LifeSiteNews) — Democrat Governor of California Gavin Newsom met with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to China last week, but relegated discussion of the Communist regime’s human-rights abuses to a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the behest of the Biden administration.
The Daily Caller reports that Newsom was in China primarily to discuss “climate change” in his capacity as “governor of one of the largest states and one of the largest economies in the world,” he said. Newsom discussed the trip with Fox Los Angeles reporter Elex Michaelson, who asked him to elaborate on why he “didn’t bring up the issue of human rights directly to President Xi.”
“I spent an hour with the foreign minister, and that was the appropriate venue on the basis of the conversations I had with the State Department, and on the basis of the fact that that would be a better place to communicate a more nuanced and detailed explanation of our points of view on the issue of human rights and democracy, on issues related to Taiwan, issues related to international and foreign policy more broadly,” Newsom said.
When it came to direct time with Xi, “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity in those 20 minutes to reinforce the reason I was there,” he continued. That reason, he said, was to “focus on low-carbon green growth” and “influence this foundational agenda, which is bigger than any situational agenda in our lifetime.”
I ask @GavinNewsom why not bring up human rights directly w Pres. Xi?
He says the State Department advised he bring it up with China’s VP & Foreign Minister so he could focus on climate change w Xi.
“I had the opportunity to talk about the most important issue in our lives!” pic.twitter.com/qtlWs4xJar
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) October 30, 2023
The advice Newsom followed reflects President Joe Biden’s prioritization of a left-wing environmental agenda above almost all other issues – in September he said the “only existential threat humanity faces even more frightening than a nuclear war is global warming going above 1.5 degrees in the next 20, 10 years” – and his historic aversion to forcefully confronting China’s Communist leaders.
In 2011, during a diplomatic trip as vice president for former President Barack Obama’s administration, Biden assured Chinese leaders that he “fully underst[ood]” and was “not second-guessing” the country’s then-policy of limiting families to one child apiece through forced abortion and sterilization, stating only that it was “not sustainable.”
The trip also presented another opportunity to raise the national profile of Newsom, who is widely speculated to be in contention to replace Biden as Democrats’ 2024 nominee given persistent concerns about the president’s age and electability. Newsom is currently denying suggestions that he will be anything but a vigorous supporter of Biden’s reelection, but over the summer he held events in red states ostensibly promoting Biden, which observers have suggested serve a secondary function of building his own name recognition outside of California for a candidacy of his own.