In addition to declaring a Sanctity of Human Life Day, former President Donald Trump has officially labeled the suppression of the Chinese Uyghur minority a “genocide.” It’s an incredibly important designation that shines a spotlight on the abuses of China’s communist government.
The Uyghur people are a Muslim minority that live in the northwestern region of China, in a region called Xinjiang. Labeled “terrorists” and China’s own “war on terror,” these people have been subjected to extrajudicial detention for “reeducation,” some arrested and given years or decades in prison on trumped up charges, many “graduates” are shipped across China and forced to work as forced labor in factories, and children are often taken away from their parents, labeled “orphans” and forced into orphanages that are really brainwashing facilities.
The horror of what’s happening in China could be a precursor to something much worse, and the Trump administration has taken the right steps in beginning to address these human rights abuses internationally.
“After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that the PRC, 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,” formers Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
“I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state,” he added.
Hopefully the Biden administration, which some believe may be much friendlier to China, will not reverse course. Likely incoming Secretary of State Antony Blinken seems agreeable to continuing the policy.
The growing human rights abuses in China began in 2014, when under the auspices of a “war on terror,” the country’s communist government began cracking down on the Uyghur population, which is historically and culturally much different than the Han Chinese, the country’s largest ethnical majority.
This campaign of terror has resulted in the building of massive facilities to house and supposedly “reeducate” the Uyghurs in the ways of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In reality, these camps are designed to destroy the Uyghur cultural identity and monotheistic religious beliefs by mentally, physically and spiritually exhausting those that have been detained.
For example, authorized Western news crews were allowed inside one facility where they observed a bed making session, which supposedly goes on for months. Unless someone has a severe mental disability, it should take less than an hour to teach someone how to properly make the bed. The repetitive nature of the lessons can no doubt be defined as mental torture.
When these men and women “graduate,” most are shipped to factories to work as forced labor for Western companies, including Apple. (The company has gone as far as lobbying against a bill that is aimed at preventing forced labor in China.) The CCP police state continues monitoring these men and women, to make sure that they never stray from the party line.
Their children, if they have any, are taken into orphanages designed to reeducate the Uyghur children into good, communist Han Chinese citizens. Many will likely never see their parents again, if they even remember them.
Women are also subjected to forced abortions and sterilizations.
This process of breaking people down is often described as a cultural genocide, but it is genocide as defined by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The Treasury Secretary for the Biden administration said during her confirmation hearing that, “We need to take on China’s abusive, unfair, and illegal practices,” though this was said mostly in relation to business practices.
It’s unclear if they will address the situation with the Uyghurs. After all, one of the well-publicized potential choices for Ambassador to China is Bob Iger, the former CEO of Disney. The company came under fire earlier this year for ignoring the Uyghur genocide and for scouting parts of the Xinjiang region of China for the panned live-action Mulan film.
As the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz draws near, it’s important for the United States to continue to act as a voice for those living under oppression, including the Uyghur people. This great work must continue, regardless of who is in office.
Photo from CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS