The Chinese government’s actions in its northwestern Xinjiang province have violated every provision in the United Nations’ Genocide Convention, according to an independent report by more than 50 global experts in human rights, war crimes, and international law.
The report, published Tuesday by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy think tank in Washington, D.C., claimed the Chinese government “bears state responsibility for an ongoing genocide against” the Uighurs “in breach of the (UN) Genocide Convention.”
It is the first time a non-governmental organization has undertaken an independent legal investigation into the accusations of genocide in Xinjiang, according to CNN, who exclusively received an advanced copy of the report.
“China’s policies and practices targeting [Uighurs] in the region must be viewed in their totality, which amounts to an intent to destroy the [Uighurs] as a group, in whole or in part,” the report said.
Up to 2 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are estimated to have been detained in a network of detention centers throughout the region, according to Axios.
Furthermore, numerous reports and testimonies suggest the authoritarian government is specifically targeting the Muslim-majority population with actions such as forbidding public prayer and surveilling mosques.
Former detainees claim they were indoctrinated, sexually abused, and forcibly sterilized at these reeducation camps, according to reports.
Back in June, an Associated Press investigation also concluded that China was committing “demographic genocide” through forced sterilization and abortions.
China has denied these allegations, saying the centers are necessary to prevent religious “extremism” and terrorism. During a Sunday press conference, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi slammed the allegations.
“The claim that there is genocide in Xinjiang couldn’t be more preposterous,” he said. “It is just a rumor fabricated with ulterior motives, and a lie through and through.”
Adopted in December 1948 following the end of World War II and the Holocaust, the U.N. Genocide Convention is considered the international legal standard for what constitutes “genocide.” China, alongside 151 other member nations, is a signatory to the convention.
The Newlines Institute report mostly looks at Article II of the Genocide Convention, which defines genocide as an attempt to commit acts “with an intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” Following the convention’s adoption, it has been the basis for international tribunals against genocide perpetrators such as those in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, which occurred in the International Criminal Tribunals held by the U.N. Some convictions occur in national courts, such as an Iraqi one in 2006 finding former dictator Saddam Hussein guilty of genocide.
However, establishing an international tribunal under the convention would require approval from the U.N. Security Council. Further complicating matters, China is a permanent member of the council with veto power, making any U.N. debate on genocide accusations in Xinjiang incredibly unlikely.
The convention, it should be noted, does not outline specific penalties or punishments for states or governments found to have committed genocide. Although, the Newlines report said that under the agreement, the other 151 signatories have a responsibility to act.
“China’s obligations […] to prevent, punish and not commit genocide are erga omnes, or owed to the international community as a whole,” the report stated.
On January 19, the final full day of the Trump administration, then-outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a declaration calling China’s actions in Xinjiang as “genocide,” making the United States the first country to formally do so. Pompeo’s successor, Antony Blinken, has said he agrees with the genocide designations, meaning the Biden administration will likely not rescind it.
Following suit last month, Canada and the Netherlands’ parliaments passed non-binding resolutions labeling China’s repression of Uighurs as genocide.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Taiwan President Confirms US Troops Are In The Country To Help Protect Against China
During a CNN interview on Wednesday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen confirmed that U.S. troops were on the ground in Taiwan to assist in strengthening the country’s defenses as the threat from China is “increasing every day.”
Tsai told CNN’s Will Ripley that the situation has gone south in recent years as “China’s plan towards the region” has become “very different.”
“That plan includes war threats over Taiwan, clashes with Japan and the East China Sea and militarizing manmade islands in the South China Sea, posing a direct challenge to seven decades of U.S. military supremacy in the Indo-Pacific,” Ripley said. “In response, the U.S. ramped up arms sales to Taiwan, selling the island $5 billion in weapons last year. President Tsai confirms exclusively to CNN, U.S. support goes beyond selling weapons. Does that support include sending some U.S. service members to help train Taiwanese troops?”
“Well, yes,” Tsai responded. “We have a wide range of cooperation with the U.S., aiming at increasing our defense capability.”
Later in the interview, Ripley asked, “Do you have faith that the United States would defend Taiwan if the Mainland were to try to move on Taiwan?”
“I do have faith, and given the long-term relationship that we have the U.S. and also the support the people of the U.S., as well as the Congress, and the administration has been very helpful,” Tsai said, later adding that Taiwan needs to “expedite our military reform so that we have the ability to defend ourselves. And given the size of Taiwan compared to the size of [China], developing asymmetric capability is the key for us.”
Tsai’s comments come a few weeks after China sent over 150 military planes into Taiwanese air space, the largest incursion ever by the Communist country.
“The defense of Taiwan is in our own hands, and we are absolutely committed to that,” Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told ABC Australia in response to China’s aggression.
“If China is going to launch a war against Taiwan we will fight to the end, and that is our commitment. I’m sure that if China is going to launch an attack against Taiwan, I think they are going to suffer tremendously as well.”
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