Genocide Emergency: Xinjiang, China
by Christian Azzolini, Genocide Watch
Workers walk by the perimeter fence of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China.Thomas Peter / Reuters
Twelve million people, the majority of whom are Uyghur Muslims, live in Xinjiang, China, officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is intent on colonizing Xinjiang and replacing Uyghur Islam with Han Chinese communism. Due to implementation of the "Big Development of the Northwest Plan," millions of Han Chinese have been resettled in Xinjiang since the early 1990s. The CCP has held millions of Uyghurs in huge "reeducation" prisons. Han Chinese monitors are forcibly placed in Uyghur families. These assimilationist policies are designed to stop independence movements by Uyghurs. Chinese officials claim the program is to defeat "terrorism."
By 1997, protests broke out due to Chinese prohibition of Uyghur traditional celebrations. The CCP launched a "strike hard" campaign to suppress ‘illegal religious activity’. The Chinese military killed over 200 protestors and made thousands of arrests. Tensions peaked during the 2009 riots, when ethnic rioting erupted in the regional capital of Urumqi. Two hundred people were killed.
China tries to justify its repression as a fight against "religious extremism". The CCP has severely restricted movement in Xinjiang. The entire region is under constant video, camera, and audio surveillance. The Chinese government collects personal biometric data, including fingerprints, facial recognition data, iris scans, and DNA samples. It has begun to use AI. Hundreds of thousands of police files document movements and conversations of the "ethnic language population". State officials use behaviors and indicators of "extremism" to target potential opponents of CCP rule. Since 2016, "convenience police stations" have become ubiquitous, with armed police manning checkpoints on major roads and in villages. These checkpoints discriminate against ethnic Uyghurs, subjecting them to systematic inspections at roadblocks, train and bus stations, and airports.
Since 2017, between 800,000-2,000,000 million Uyghurs have been held in Xinjiang's concentration prisons, commonly referred to as "re-education camps." Uyghurs are forced to participate in CCP indoctrination programs in which detainees are forced to abandon their Muslim faith and culture. The CCP forbids use of the Uyghur language and imposes Mandarin Chinese within these camps. Inside camps, CCP officials subject Uyghurs to physical beatings, sexual assault, and gang rapes of women.
The Chinese government's family planning program restricts Uyghur and Turkic Muslim reproduction, preventing births in violation of Article 2d of the Genocide Convention. According to Adrian Zenz, between 2015 and 2018, East Turkistan's Uyghur population growth rate fell by 84%. State-sponsored forced inter-racial marriages between Uyghur women and Han Chinese men are part of "family planning" policies, as are female sterilizations, forced abortions, mass rapes, and sexual torture. The CCP forces Uyghur women to live with Han Chinese men in Uyghur homes. The CCP forcibly removes Uyghur children from their homes and places them in residential schools where they are forbidden to speak the Uyghur language, a violation of Genocide Convention Article 2e.
After "reeducation," Uyghurs are forced to work harvesting cotton and other Chinese export products. They are subjected to a modern form of slavery. The CCP's direct attack on Uyghur Muslim religion now includes destruction of Uyghur mosques.
Genocide Watch considers the CCP's repression of freedom of movement and religion, and its Orwellian surveillance of Uyghurs as Stage 3: Discrimination. The CCP's torture and imprisonment of Uyghurs into “re-education camps” is Stage 8: Persecution; the mass rape of women inside and outside these camps and CCP removal of Uyghur children is Stage 9: Extermination in violation of the Genocide Convention. The CCP's denial of its acts of genocide are stage 10: Denial.
Genocide Watch recommends:
· The US and other members of the UN should prohibit imports of goods produced by Uyghur forced labor.
· UN members should ensure that Uyghurs have access to a fair system for adjudicating asylum requests.
· The US should forbid investments in Chinese companies that use Uyghur forced labor.
· The US and EU should bar exports of technology (AI, facial recognition) used in the Uyghur genocide.
· The US and EU should support internal Chinese nonviolent resistance movements to overthrow Chinese Communist Party tyranny.