London: Uyghur tribunal concludes; genocide allegation ruling in December


The tribunal investigating whether China’s treatment of its ethnic Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims constitutes genocide ended in London Monday (Sept. 13), with a nonbinding verdict expected at the end of the year.

The independent investigations where testimonies of nearly 40 witnesses and experts were being heard lasted for four days.

The nine-member tribunal chaired by prominent British lawyer Geoffrey Nice, conducted the first set of hearings in London known as the Uyghur Tribunal in early June.

The panel heard accounts from internment camp survivors describing abuses such as systematic rape, other forms of gender-based violence, torture, and killings.

During the second round of hearings from Sept. 10-13, nine witnesses and 28 experts testified about their experiences with and research findings on the Uyghur crackdown.

The tribunal has no state backing or powers of sanction or enforcement, and any judgments issued are nonbinding on any government.

China has come under criticism for heavy-handed policies targeting the 12 million predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in the far-western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Alleged abuses include the demolition of mosques; the imprisonment of Uyghur intellectuals, artists and business leaders; the replacement of Uyghur with Chinese as the main language in schools; the use of a pervasive and intrusive surveillance system to monitor Uyghurs’ move; forced labor at factories and farms; and forced birth control and the sterilization of Uyghur women.

China has held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in a network of detention camps since 2017. Beijing has said that the camps are vocational training centers and has denied widespread and documented allegations that it has mistreated Muslims living in Xinjiang.

The U.S. and the legislatures in several European countries have deemed the treatment of Uyghurs and others in the XUAR as constituting genocide and crimes against humanity. (Source: RFA)

The Tribunal is expected to issue a final verdict on whether China is committing genocide or crimes against humanity in December. (Source: RFA)