The US government is considering whether to label the Chinese government’s actions against its own Muslim Uyghur minority as “genocide,” a serious crime under international law, according to a government official.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has ordered ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, Morse Tan, to study the issue and report the outcome, the official told Kyodo News.
A time frame for the report and the government actions is not known, considering that the current administration of President Donald Trump is outgoing.
With three weeks left in office, the Trump administration has continued to take measures to pressure China even after the Republican president lost to Democrat challenger Joe Biden in the Nov. 03 election.
According to a U.N. convention, genocide includes actions such as killing as well as imposing measures to prevent births committed with “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
The US for the past several months have accused Beijing of human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in the far-western Xinjiang autonomous region, straining ties with China.
It accused the Chinese communist party of atrocities such as forced sterilization, mass arbitrary detention and forced labour.
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told an online think tank event in October that “if not genocide, something close to it” is taking place in Xinjiang.
The US have previously accused a group of genocide before when in 2016, under the administration of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, the United States declared that the Islamic State extremist group had committed genocide against religious minorities in areas under its control, including Christians and Shiite Muslims. (Source: UN News)