Image Source: (Reuters: Murad Sezer)
Genocide Watch is issuing a Genocide Emergency Alert for the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) of China. For decades, the Chinese government has systematically restricted the religious, cultural, and social practices of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in Xinjiang.
Xinjiang is a region located in the northwest of the People’s Republic of China. Xinjiang is home to several ethnic minorities including Turkic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyzs. In recent decades, the migration of Han Chinese into the region and religious persecution of Uyghurs has led to growing discontent and support for separatist movements. In July 2009, after a series of riots in Ürümqi led to the deaths of 197, mostly Han Chinese residents, China launched the “Strike Hard Against Violent Terrorism” campaign. The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) policy of “preventive repression” of religious extremism and separatism has transformed Xinjiang into a mass surveillance state.
The CCP is using high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang to monitor and detain Uyghurs and other Muslims. To maintain social control over Uyghurs, thousands of security personnel have been deployed to Xinjiang and numerous checkpoints have been set up in the region. Authorities in Xinjiang are collecting biometric data on Uyghur residents including fingerprints, iris scans, and DNA from forced blood extraction. A mass surveillance database is being used to track the personal records and GPS coordinates of millions of Xinjiang residents. Chinese authorities claim the surveillance will identify potential “terrorists.”
Over one million Uyghurs and Muslims have been arbitrarily imprisoned in 1,300 “re-education camps,” state run detention centers. At the internment camps, detainees undergo political indoctrination and are forced to renounce their Uyghur cultural and Muslim religious beliefs. Uyghurs are required to learn Mandarin and to recite and sing songs praising the CCP. Praying or using Muslim greetings is forbidden and detainees are forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, practices that are strictly forbidden in Islam. Those who fail to comply are tortured, raped, or killed. Chinese authorities maintain that these detention centers are “vocational education centers” designed to support unemployed Uyghurs. In fact, they are prisons.
Since 2017, efforts to control Uyghur women have increased with the expansion of home stay programs that assign Han Chinese spies to live with Uyghur families. The Chinese government is reducing Uyghur birth rates by forcing Uyghur women to get abortions, undergo sterilization, and implant IUDs. Birth rates have dropped more than 60% in Uyghur regions of Xinjiang. According to Article II (d) of the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group” is an act of genocide. Half a million Uyghur and Muslim children have been taken from their homes to state orphanages where they undergo political indoctrination. The forcible transfer of children from one group to another is also an act of genocide.
Genocide Watch considers the forced sterilizations and forcible transfer of children of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in Xinjiang to be acts of genocide. Xinjiang, China is at Stage 9: Extermination.
· The U.S. Senate should pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to prevent the importation of goods made by Uyghur forced labor in Xinjiang.
· The U.S. should continue targeted Magnitsky sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for severe violations of Uyghur Muslim religious freedom.
· The United Nations Human Rights Council should appoint an Independent International Fact-Finding Mission to investigate genocide and crimes against humanity that target the Uyghur ethnic and religious group in Xinjiang, China.