Silicon Valley billionaire blasted for 'nobody cares' remark about Uyghur plight

Silicon Valley billionaire blasted for 'nobody cares' remark about Uyghur plight
Silicon Valley billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya has been criticised for saying that he 'doesn't care' about China's Uyghur minority, who have been subjected to an ongoing campaign of persecution and genocide
2 min read
19 January, 2022
Silicon Valley billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya said that he didn't care about persecution of China's Uyghur minority [Getty]

Billionaire Silicon Valley investor Chamath Palihapitiya has been condemned for an on-air remark in which he said that "nobody cares" about China's persecution and genocide against its Muslim Uyghur minority.

Palihapitiya, a part-owner of the NBA's Golden State Warriors and one of Facebook’s youngest-ever senior executives, was asked by the hosts of the All-In technology podcast whether US President Joe Biden's actions on the Uyghur issue has helped him politically. 

"Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay," Palihapitiya said.

"You bring it up because you care and I think it’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care. I’m just telling you a very hard, ugly truth."

Podcast co-host Jason Calacanis interrupted Palihapitiya, saying: “What? What do you mean nobody cares?" 

Palihapitiya responded: “Of all the things I care about, yes, it is below my line.”

Human rights groups say at least one million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim residents of China have been incarcerated in camps in Xinjiang province since 2014.

They have accused the Chinese government of engaging in genocide.

Beijing has come under mounting pressure over its policies, with US President Joe Biden last month signing a law that virtually banned all imports from the region over concerns that forced labour was being used to manufacture them.

Palihapitiya's comments drew ire from social media users, including basketball player Enes Kanter Freedom, an outspoken critic of China’s treatment of the Uyghur population.

Palihapitiya, who was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Canada as a refugee as a child, posted a statement on his Twitter account, admitting that his comments "lacked empathy".

The Golden State Warriors distanced themselves from Palihapitiya’s comments, saying that he "doesn’t speak on behalf of their franchise" and that his views "certainly don’t reflect our organisation".