Chinese attacks on Uyghur Muslims is escalating, says US report

Washington: A US report issued on Tuesday (local time) said that Chinese attacks on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang had escalated and most likely included “forced sterilization, sexual violence, enslavement, torture, and forcible transfer.”

Jesus Jimenez, writing in The New York Times (NYT) said that the US Holocaust Memorial Museum report titled, “To Make Us Slowly Disappear’: The Chinese Government’s Assault on the Uyghurs,” builds on a March 2020 announcement made by the museum that there was “reasonable basis” to believe that the Chinese government “had perpetrated the crimes against humanity of persecution and of imprisonment” against the Uyghurs.

In a statement, Tom Bernstein, chair of the museum’s committee on conscience, called on the Chinese government to stop the crimes against the Uyghurs and allow independent international monitors to investigate.

“The Chinese government has done its best to keep information about crimes against the Uyghurs from seeing the light of day,” said Bernstein adding, “The information that has come out so far, including documentation from courageous Uyghur activists, has been damning.”

In a statement, Naomi Kikoler, director of the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, said that the “Chinese government’s assault on the Uyghur community” described in the report was “alarming in scale and severity.”

“The damage inflicted upon Uyghur individuals, families, and their community has left deep physical and emotional scars,” said Kikoler, adding, “The trauma from these atrocities will harm generations of Uyghurs.”
The report called on the Chinese government to “immediately halt the commission of mass atrocity crimes,” and lists specific next steps such as ending forced sterilization and forced abortion.

But the Chinese government, which has over the years denied such crimes, is unlikely to be fazed by the report or follow through with any demands made of it, wrote Jimenez.

The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the report. But the Chinese government had spoken against such claims as recently as October 21, when more than 40 countries, including the United States, criticized China’s repression of the Uyghurs at a United Nations meeting, reported NYT.

China’s UN ambassador, Zhang Jun, responded by saying that the countries had made “groundless accusations against China.”

The museum in its report concedes that “it would be naive to expect the Chinese government to change course so dramatically without a concerted international effort.”

“Having publicly declared that China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity, the United States and like-minded governments must be at the centre of the effort to press China to end its atrocities against the Uyghurs,” said the report.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, shared the museum’s report on Twitter on Tuesday, saying that it renewed “our call for the People’s Republic of China to end its crimes against Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.”

The Uyghurs have long expressed resentment for China’s control of the Xinjiang region, saying they have been discriminated against, while one million or more people in internment camps have been detained for a number of acts, including religious practice and violating birth restrictions.

Under the Biden administration, in an annual report on human rights practices released in March, the United States condemned the Chinese government for what Secretary of State Antony Blinken said was “genocide against Uyghurs” and crimes of “imprisonment, torture, enforced sterilization, and persecution.”