The first independent report looking into human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in China has been released, and the results are damning.
Published by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, which worked with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, the report involved over 50 global experts in human rights and international law, who investigated the situation using eyewitness testimony, leaked Chinese communications, satellite images, official government documents, and more. Their conclusion was that China “bears responsibility for an ongoing genocide,” and that they have violated every provision of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, with an “intent to destroy” the Uighur people.
The report dated the beginning of the genocide to 2014, when President Xi Jinping launched a “People’s War On Terror” in Xinjiang, where 90% of the residents are Uighurs. According to the report, Chinese officials were given orders to “round up everyone who should be rounded up,” “wipe them out completely… destroy them root and branch,” and “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins.” Groups of Han, which make up over 90% of the Chinese population, were sent as monitors to live in Uighur homes, which often led to Uighur women pressured and coerced into marriages with their Han overseers. By 2017, internment had officially begun.
The Chinese government also quickly began working to prevent Uighur children from being born, through forced abortions and sterilizations, openly proclaiming that Uighur women are “no longer baby-making machines.” Uighur leaders have also been specifically targeted, and their sacred and cultural sites have been destroyed. Children are taken from their parents and put in state-run facilities, to be raised with Chinese culture, education, and language, rather than their own.
Ultimately, the report found that the Chinese government is violating all five provisions of the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births; and forcibly transferring children out of the group.
In an interview with CNN, Azeem Ibrahim, director of special initiatives at Newlines and co-author of the report, said the evidence against China was overwhelming. “This is a major global power, the leadership of which are the architects of a genocide,” he said. Yonah Diamond, legal counsel at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, also explained to CNN that there seem to be questions among the international community as to whether China is actually committing genocide. Diamond says the answer is yes. “The real question is, is there enough evidence to show that there is an intent to destroy the group as such — and this is what this report lays bare,” he said.
It has been estimated that over one million Uighurs are currently being held in concentration camps, during which they are subjected to numerous horrors, such as sadistic sexual violence, forced labor, torture, vivisection without anesthesia, forced abortion/sterilization, and murder. Yet world leaders like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden have largely refused to take action, or even to forcefully condemn the genocide against the Uighur people.
After the Holocaust during World War II, people around the world vowed that never again would such evil be permitted to take place. Yet less than 100 years later, another genocide is happening while everyone looks the other way, likely due to China’s wealth and global influence. Rahima Mahmut, the UK director of the World Uyghur Congress, told CNN that the world needs to intervene. “These countries, the countries that signed the Genocide Convention, they have an obligation to prevent and punish,” she said. “I feel every country can take action.”
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