Washington: In a final blow to Beijing, the outgoing Trump administration on Tuesday (local time) determined that China has committed genocide against Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang and said that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) must be held accountable for its acts against humanity.
In a statement a day before US President-elect Joe Biden is to be sworn in as the next president of the United States, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that he has directed the Department of State to continue to investigate and collect relevant information regarding the ongoing atrocities occurring in Xinjiang.
Move strains ties between US, China
The move is expected to further strain the already tensed ties between China and the United States.
“After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that the PRC (People’s Republic of China), under the direction and control of the CCP, has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang. I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state,” Pompeo said.
He added that since at least March 2017, the PRC, under the direction and control of the CCP, has committed crimes against humanity and against the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.
“These crimes are ongoing and include the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians, forced sterilization, torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained, forced labour, and the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement,” the statement further read.
The United States called upon the PRC immediately to “release all arbitrarily detained persons and abolish its system of internment, detention camps, house arrest and forced labour; cease coercive population control measures, including forced sterilisations, forced abortion, forced birth control, and the removal of children from their families; end all torture and abuse in places of detention; end the persecution of Uighurs and other members of religious and ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China, and afford Uighurs and other persecuted minorities the freedom to travel and emigrate”.
According to the statement, Washington further called on all appropriate multilateral and relevant juridical bodies, to join the United States in its effort to promote accountability for those responsible for these atrocities.
The United States, Pompeo said, has worked exhaustively to pull into the light what the Communist Party and General Secretary Xi Jinping wish to keep hidden through obfuscation, propaganda, and coercion.
“We will not remain silent. If the Chinese Communist Party is allowed to commit genocide and crimes against humanity against its own people, imagine what it will be emboldened to do to the free world, in the not-so-distant future,” he added.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uighurs Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Beijing denies allegations
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uighurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal crackdown on the ethnic community, according to a report.
Recently, a commission of the United States Congress, in a new report, said that China has possibly carried out “genocide” against Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang.
The report, released by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), stated that the Chinese government and Communist Party have taken unprecedented steps to extend their repressive policies through censorship, intimidation, and the detention of people in China for exercising their fundamental human rights.