Genocide in Xinjiang
The U.S. has concluded that the Chinese Communist Party’s actions against the Uighurs also constitute crimes against humanity.
By: Michael R. Pompeo (Former Secretary of State)
Today, after careful deliberation, I have determined that the People’s Republic of China, under the direction and control of the Chinese Communist Party, has committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups, including ethnic Kazakhs and Kyrgyz. This announcement is the result of an exhaustive yearslong investigation that has spanned the globe and benefited from the efforts of government and nongovernment partners to document this nightmare, as well as the bipartisan support of Congress.
The facts are chilling. Since 2017, the Communist Party has forced more than a million people into internment camps in the Xinjiang region, on the pretext that they need “re-education.” Arbitrary and indefinite detentions lasting months or years at a time are common inside this modern gulag. Survivors tell of torture, sexual abuse including rape, forced labor, the use of electric shock to extract false confessions, and unexplained deaths in custody. Uighurs scarcely fare better outside the camps—Xinjiang has become a proving ground for an Orwellian surveillance state.
Throughout this campaign, Communist Party apparatchiks have denied international observers unhindered access to Xinjiang, and dismissed reliable reporting on the abuses. Xi Jinping’s regime has justified the camps as necessary for educating local populations, countering terrorism and alleviating poverty. The party has even promoted its attempts to curb Uighur births as a women’s empowerment effort. The truth is far darker. The Communist Party’s persecution of Uighurs, like its persecution of other religious minority groups, is simply an effort to Sinicize and eliminate the Uighur faith, culture and population.
The U.S. has led the world in exposing these horrors, and promoting accountability for the perpetrators. In March 2019, we co-hosted the first of several events at the United Nations, alongside Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, to alert the world to this vile mass attack on human dignity. We’ve issued a business advisory and “withhold release orders” to ensure American supply chains don’t support Uighur forced labor. We’ve unleashed sanctions against senior Communist Party leaders responsible for the repression across Xinjiang—the only country to have done so. We are also the first country to label the repression taking place in Xinjiang as genocide and crimes against humanity.
Thomas Jefferson, America’s first secretary of state, wrote: “The mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.” The genocidal blows struck against the Uighurs aren’t localized to Xinjiang; they are also an offense against the concept of universal human dignity that America’s founders championed. In the anguished cries from Xinjiang, the U.S. hears the echoes of Nazi Germany, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. May all nations that hear them likewise bear witness to the stain of the century—the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide and crimes against humanity.