The Chinese government is committing “ongoing genocide” against ethnic Uyghurs in violation of the UN Genocide Convention, according to an expert report published on March 9.
The report from the Washington-based think tank Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy provides an independent analysis of the Chinese state’s legal responsibility, finding Beijing’s policy toward its Uyghur population has violated "each and every act" of the Genocide Convention.
China has already faced condemnation for placing more than 1 million Uyghurs and members of other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in western Xinjiang Province into concentration camps, which Beijing calls reeducation and training centers needed to combat separatist terrorism and extremism.
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In one of its final acts, the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump declared in January that China is carrying out genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said on March 9 that President Joe Biden’s new administration has not seen any developments that would change the U.S. assessment.
Last month, Canada’s House of Commons voted to label Beijing's treatment of Uyghurs as genocide hours after China claimed its treatment of the minority group was a "shining example" of human rights progress.
The Genocide Convention was approved following the tragedies of World War II, with most countries, including China, as signatories.
It lists multiple acts that constitute genocide, but in the broadest terms defines it as the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.”
While violating just one part of the convention can meet the definition of genocide, the Newlines report alleges Chinese authorities are in "breach of each and every act prohibited" by the definitions.
According to the report, the acts of genocide committed include but are not limited to the intent to destroy, killings, mass internment, restricting and preventing births, forceable transfer of children, and eradicating Uyghur identity and community.
“The ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs is a logical result of a series of sequential and cumulative acts, evolving from the collection of biometric data of Uyghur residents, to the assignment of [Communist] party cadre teams to monitor Uyghur families, to the destruction of Uyghur cultural and religious sites, language, literature, and poetry -- all the foundations of Uyghur life and identity -- to the criminalization of Uyghur religious practices, the construction and expansion of internment camps and detention facilities across every populated area of the region, the cycles of mass Uyghur internment and forced labor, to systematic forced abortions and the sterilization of Uyghur women of childbearing age, widespread rape and sexual abuse, and the forcible separation of Uyghur children from their disappeared parents,” the report said.
It said the policy has been orchestrated from the highest levels of the state and Communist Party down the bureaucratic line all the way to internment camp guards.
“The nature of these interconnected and composite acts inescapably demonstrates the clear, effective, and firm control of the state over the ongoing genocide,” the report said.
In compiling the report, Newlines had dozens of experts in fields ranging from international law to Chinese ethnic policies examine the available evidence regarding treatment of Uyghur people and the legal aspects of the Genocide Convention.