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China bears state responsibility for committing genocide against Uyghurs, says US think tank

Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy report says that China's long-established, publicly and repeatedly declared, specifically targeted, systematically implemented, and fully resourced policy and practice toward the Uyghur group is inseparable from “the intent to destroy or whole or in part” the Uyghur group

A first independent expert application of the 1948 Genocide Convention to the ongoing treatment of the Uyghurs has revealed that the Muslim minority community of China is suffering from systematic torture and cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment – including rape, sexual abuse, and public humiliation – both inside and outside the mass internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

A report titled 'The Uyghur Genocide: An Examination of China’s Breaches of the 1948 Genocide Convention' released by the Washington-based Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy on Tuesday, has concluded that China bears "state responsibility for committing genocide against the Uyghurs" in breach of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention).

Prepared in cooperation with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, the detailed report is based on an extensive review of the available evidence and application of international law to the evidence of the facts on the ground.

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In order to ascertain whether China is in breach of the Genocide Convention under international law, dozens of experts in international law, genocide studies, Chinese ethnic policies, and the region were invited to examine pro-bono all available evidence. It included all that could be collected and verified from public Chinese State communications, leaked Chinese State communications, eye-witness testimony, and open-source research methods such as public satellite-image analysis, analysis of information circulating on the Chinese internet, and any other available source.

"We believe the conclusions are clear and convincing. We do not make any recommendations for action, but we do stand prepared to share our information and analysis with relevant institutions or actors interested in these findings," said Azeem Ibrahim, Director Special Initiatives, Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy.

After the mass of evidence presented, the report stated that China is responsible for breaches of "each provision" of Article II of the Genocide Convention. The definition of genocide is met under Article II when any of the enumerated acts are committed with the requisite “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, [the protected group] as such.” The object of this intent is the destruction of the group’s existence as an entity as such. The intent required by the Convention is measured by objective standards, including official statements, policies, a general plan, a pattern of conduct, and repeated destructive acts, which have a logical sequence.

"The ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs is a logical result of a series of sequential and cumulative acts, evolving from the collection of biometric data of Uyghur residents, to the assignment of party cadre teams to monitor Uyghur families, to the destruction of Uyghur cultural and religious sites, language, literature, and poetry—all the foundations of Uyghur life and identity —to the criminalization of Uyghur religious practices, the construction and expansion of internment camps and detention facilities across every populated area of the region, the cycles of mass Uyghur internment and forced labor, to systematic forced abortions and the sterilization of Uyghur women of childbearing age, widespread rape and sexual abuse, and the forcible separation of Uyghur children from their disappeared parents," it states.

China Uyghur Genocide

Examining key pertinent developments in Xinjiang since May 2013, when the XUAR Government released the earliest known document laying the groundwork for the mass internment campaign, the report states that these events follow a long history of persecution against the Uyghurs in China. It says that "intent to destroy the Uyghurs as a group" is derived from objective proof, consisting of comprehensive State policy and practice, which President Xi Jinping, the highest authority in China, set in motion.

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It details that in 2014, China’s Head of State launched the “People’s War on Terror” in XUAR, making the areas where Uyghurs constitute nearly 90 percent of the population the front line. High-level officials followed up with orders to “round up everyone who should be rounded up”, “wipe them out completely … destroy them root and branch,” and “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins.” Officials described Uyghurs with dehumanizing terms and repeatedly likened the mass internment of Uyghurs to “eradicating tumors.”

"In fact, as recently as September 2020, President Xi praised the “success” of the strategy, practice, and policies of the Communist Party of China (often referred to in English as the Chinese Communist Party in XUAR, which he deemed “completely correct” and vowed to continue for years to come," the report says.

It further states that the highest levels of State—the President of China and the XUAR CCP Secretary and CCP Deputy Secretary—directly orchestrate these coordinated policies and practices, which are relentlessly implemented by a bureaucratic line of entities and officials all the way down to the internment camp guards.

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"Simply put, China's long-established, publicly and repeatedly declared, specifically targeted, systematically implemented, and fully resourced policy and practice toward the Uyghur group is inseparable from “the intent to destroy or whole or in part” the Uyghur group as such."

After the United States and the Canadian House of Commons, the Dutch House of Representatives had also last month declared that the treatment of the Uyghurs in China amounts to genocide.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has meanwhile refuted all Western claims of genocidal treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

“Some Western politicians would rather listen to lies fabricated by a few individuals than to care for the voices of 25 million Xinjiang people of various ethnic groups,” state news agency Xinhua quoted Wang as saying on the sidelines of parliamentary session in Beijing.

“This only shows they have little concern for the truth and would rather indulge themselves in political manoeuvring and fabricating issues on Xinjiang to undermine regional security and stability and obstruct China’s development progress.”