China committing genocide against Uyghurs, human rights experts say


The Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang have violated “each and every act” in the United Nations’ Genocide Convention, according to an independent report by dozens of experts in human rights, war crimes and international law.

The report, released Tuesday by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy think tank in Washington DC, claimed the Chinese government bears state responsibility for an on-going genocide against the Uyghur in its northwestern Xinjiang region.

The UN and rights activists have said Xinjiang is home to a vast network of extrajudicial internment camps that have imprisoned at least one million people, which China has defended as vocational training centres to counter extremism.

“Uyghurs are suffering serious bodily and mental harm from systematic torture and cruel treatment, including rape, sexual abuse, exploitation, and public humiliation, at the hands of camp officials,” the report said.

The outgoing US administration of Donald Trump declared in January that China is carrying out genocide against the Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim people.

For their part, Canadian MPs voted in February to label Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang as genocide, and ministers called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to officially label it as such.

Newlines identified over 30 experts in fields ranging from international law to Chinese ethnic policies it said had examined the available evidence regarding Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur people and the Genocide Convention.

The convention was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948, with signatories that include China and 151 other countries.

It offers a handful of specific definitions of genocide, such as deliberately imposing conditions “calculated to bring about (a group’s) physical destruction in whole or in part.”

While violating just part of the convention can qualify as genocide, the report alleges Chinese authorities are in “breach of each and every act prohibited” by the definitions.

“The persons and entities perpetrating the… acts of genocide are all state agents or organs – acting under the effective control of the State – manifesting an intent to destroy the Uyghurs as a group,” the report alleges.

Newlines, which was previously known as Center for Global Policy, released a report in December that alleged ethnic minority labourers in Xinjiang were being forced to pick cotton through a coercive state-run program.

The report – which referenced online government documents – said the total number involved in three majority-Uyghur regions exceeds a 2018 estimate of 517,000 people forced to pick cotton as part of the scheme by hundreds of thousands.

China has strongly denied allegations of forced labour involving Uyghurs in Xinjiang and says training programs, work schemes and better education have helped stamp out extremism in the region. (Source: CNA)