UNITED NATIONS, March 20: The United States accused China on Friday of committing “genocide and crimes against humanity” against Uighur Muslims and other minorities, and China accused the US of discrimination, hatred “and even savage murder of people of African and Asian descent.”

The clash came at the UN General Assembly’s commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and was sparked by one line in the speech by US Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, who talked about being a descendent of slaves, growing up in the segregated South, and surviving racism including being called “an N-word.”

It came after the top US and Chinese diplomats wrapped up two days of contentious talks in Alaska, the first high-level face-to-face meeting since President Joe Biden took office.

In rare public comments, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi traded sharply-different views of each other’s country and the world.

Thomas-Greenfield was unusually outspoken about US history, saying, “Slavery is the original sin of America. It’s weaved white supremacy and black inferiority into our founding documents and principles,” she said.

Thomas-Greenfield said slavery has existed in every corner of the globe, “and sadly still exists today,” and so does racism, which “continues to be a daily challenge wherever we are.”

For millions, she said, it’s even deadly, including in Myanmar where Rohingya Muslims and others “have been oppressed, abused and killed in staggering numbers.”

“Or in China, where the government has committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Uighurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

China’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dai Bing, who wasn’t on the original speakers list, took the floor near the end of the commemoration to reject what he called the politically-motivated US allegation, calling it “an act of rumour-mongering through and through, and a bare-faced lie.” He accused the US of interfering in China’s internal affairs and said that “lies are just lies and truth shall prevail eventually.”

Referring to Thomas-Greenfield’s speech about her African descent, Dai said the US Envoy, “in an exceptional case, admitted to her country’s ignoble human rights record, but that does not give the country license to get on the high horse and tell other countries what to do.”– AP