US Holocaust Museum Says China ‘Possibly Committing Genocide’ Against Uyghurs – Community News
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US Holocaust Museum Says China ‘Possibly Committing Genocide’ Against Uyghurs

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum said in a report Tuesday that China had escalated its crimes against the Muslim community of Uyghurs in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and that it was “gravely concerned” that the government “may be committing genocide”.

The report, “‘To Make Us Slowly Disappear’: The Chinese Government’s Assault on the Uyghurs,” builds on a March 2020 announcement by the museum that there was “reasonable basis” to believe that the Chinese government ” crimes against humanity of persecution and imprisonment” against the Uyghurs.

Based on evidence gathered, the report published Tuesday found there was now a “reasonable basis” to believe the crimes included “forced sterilization, sexual assault, slavery, torture and forced transfer.”

In a statement, Tom Bernstein, chairman of the museum’s commission of conscience, called on the Chinese government to stop the crimes against the Uyghurs and allow independent international observers to investigate.

“The Chinese government has done its best to keep out information about crimes against the Uyghurs,” he said. “The information that has come out so far, including documentation from courageous Uyghur activists, is damning.”

In a statement, Naomi Kikoler, director of the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for Genocide Prevention, said the “Chinese government attack on the Uyghur community” described in the report was “alarming in scope and severity.” .

“The damage done to Uyghur individuals, families and their communities has left deep physical and emotional scars,” she said. “The trauma of these atrocities will hurt generations of Uyghurs.”

The report calls on the Chinese government to “immediately stop the perpetration of mass atrocities,” and lists specific next steps, such as ending forced sterilization and forced abortion. But the Chinese government, which has denied such crimes over the years, is unlikely to be impressed by the report or act on its demands.

The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report on Tuesday. But the Chinese government had recently spoken out against such claims on Oct. 21, when more than 40 countries, including the United States, criticized China’s oppression of the Uyghurs at a United Nations meeting. China’s UN ambassador, Zhang Jun, responded by saying the countries had made “baseless accusations against China”.

“No matter how many times they are repeated, lies are still lies,” the ambassador said. “You use human rights as a pretext for political maneuvering to provoke confrontation. In fact, you are the troublemaker and the biggest obstacle to international cooperation on human rights.”

The museum admits in its report that “it would be naive to expect the Chinese government to change course so drastically without a concerted international effort.”

“After publicly declaring that China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity, the United States and like-minded governments should be at the center of efforts to pressure China to end its atrocities against the Uyghurs,” the report said.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, shared the museum’s report on Twitter on Tuesday, saying it “renewed our call on the People’s Republic of China to end its crimes against Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.” . ”

The Uyghurs have long expressed resentment over China’s control over the Xinjiang region, saying they have been discriminated against, while a million or more people have been held in internment camps for a number of acts, including religious practices and violating birth controls.

In an example cited in the report, a Uyghur woman recalls being beaten and raped while being held in Xinjiang in March 2018. The woman said she was raped by men using iron bars and electric batons, and was later raped together by three men.

“I remember it very clearly,” the report quotes her as saying. “I cannot cry and I cannot die… my soul and heart are dead.”

The United States has previously spoken out against China’s treatment of the Uyghurs. On the last full day of the Trump administration, then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China was committing genocide in a “systematic effort to destroy Uyghurs.”

Under the Biden administration, in an annual report on human rights practices released in March, the United States condemned the Chinese government for what Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said was “genocide against Uyghurs” and crimes of “imprisonment, torture, forced sterilization, and persecution.”

In its announcement in March 2020, the museum accused the Chinese of forced assimilation of the Uyghurs. While that didn’t fall under the definition of genocide under the Genocide Convention, the museum said at the time, “Regardless of legal classification, assimilation threatens the survival of Uyghurs’ cultural and religious practices.”