WASHINGTON (AP) – The US Holocaust Memorial Museum says it has gathered evidence of increasing government repression against Uyghur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang in China.
In a new report released Tuesday, the museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide says there is now “a reasonable basis” to believe that previously alleged crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs amid a concerted campaign to hide their seriousness.
“The Chinese government has done its best to keep out information about crimes against the Uyghurs,” said Tom Bernstein, chairman of the museum’s commission of conscience. “The Chinese government must stop its attacks on the Uyghur people and allow independent international monitors to investigate and ensure that the crimes are stopped.”
China has repeatedly dismissed charges human rights violations and atrocities in the region.
The report, which cites witness statements, publicly available information from dissidents and reports from human rights groups, builds on the museum’s March 2020 findings that the Chinese Communist Party had persecuted, wrongfully imprisoned and otherwise severely deprived of their physical freedom.
The new findings include allegations of forced sterilization, sexual assault, slavery, torture and forced transfer. The US government has already determined that China’s actions against Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang amount to genocide.
“The Chinese government’s attack on the Uyghur community – marked by the incarceration of between one and three million people and abuses such as forced sterilization, torture, sexual violence and forced labor – is alarming in scale and gravity,” said Naomi Kikoler. , director of the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. “The damage inflicted on Uyghur individuals, families and their communities has left deep physical and emotional scars. The trauma of these atrocities will hurt generations of Uyghurs.”
Kikoler said the 59-page report, “To Make Us Slowly Disappear: The Chinese Government’s Assault on the Uyghurs,” should serve as a wake-up call for the international community to step up pressure on Beijing to end repression. Xinjiang to a halt.
China has said allegations of human rights abuses are lies. Last month, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun attacked a statement signed by 43 countries condemning the reported torture and oppression of Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, where foreign governments and researchers say an estimated 1 million people or more are locked up in camps.
Zhang denounced “the baseless accusations” and unfounded “lies” and accused the United States and other signatories of poisoning the atmosphere of cooperation and “using human rights as a pretext for political maneuvering to provoke a confrontation”.
Echoing the long-standing position of the Chinese government, he vigorously defended Beijing’s efforts to develop Xinjiang.
The Associated Press reported in October that China’s control of Xinjiang had entered a new era in the four years since Beijing launched the brutal crackdown that saw a million or more Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities invade detention camps and prisons.
Chinese authorities have scaled back many of the most draconian and visible aspects of the region’s high-tech police state, including barbed wire that once surrounded public buildings, the AP reported after two visits to Xinjiang.