Published: Wed, January 20, 2021

United States officially declares Chinese treatment of Uyghurs to be a 'genocide'

United States officially declares Chinese treatment of Uyghurs to be a 'genocide'

It's the latest move made by Pompeo as his tenure winds down that could also complicate the strategies of Biden's foreign policy team going forward. "I hope today's designation will motivate the nations, businesses, and people of the world to reconsider the ways they entangle themselves with a brutal, communist dictatorship that is guilty of committing genocide against its own people", said McCaul in a statement Tuesday.

A Chinese police officer takes his position by the road near what is officially called a vocational education centre in Yining in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on September 4., 2018.

China has imprisoned over one million people, mostly Uighur and other majority-Muslim minorities, in a network of concentration camps, US officials and human rights groups say. The International Criminal Court said last month that it would not, for now, investigate the allegations of genocide or crimes against humanity because the alleged actions took place inside China only and China, like the USA, is not a party to the court.

-Chinese relations long after President Donald Trump and Pompeo leave office - but one that President-elect Joe Biden's campaign called for months ago.

"I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state", Mr Pompeo said in a statement.

Pompeo previous year referred to a report by German researcher Adrian Zenz that China was using forced sterilization, forced abortion and coercive family planning.

He said the United States should not be importing any products made with forced labor from Xinjiang, adding: "We need to make sure that we're also not exporting technologies and tools that could be used to further their repression".

Those penalties have gotten harsher since the beginning of past year when President Donald Trump and Pompeo began to accuse China of trying to cover up the coronavirus pandemic.

China has denied all the charges, but Uighur forced labour has been linked by reporting from the AP to various products imported to the United States, including clothing and electronic goods such as cameras and computer monitors.

The Xinjiang region is a major global supplier of cotton, so Pompeo's order could have significant effects on worldwide commerce.

Just on Saturday, Pompeo lifted restrictions on United States diplomatic contacts with Taiwanese officials, prompting a stern rebuke from China, which regards the island as a renegade province.

The Trump administration has already blocked imports from individual companies linked to forced labour in the region, and the USA has imposed sanctions on Communist Party officials with prominent roles in the campaign.

Pompeo also signaled the department's intent to "continue to investigate and collect relevant information regarding the ongoing atrocities occurring in Xinjiang, and to make this evidence available to appropriate authorities and the global community to the extent allowable by law".

This is the first USA genocide determination since the Obama administration determined ISIS's crimes against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria amounted to genocide.

"We hope to see the U.S. follow these strong words with decisive action", said Grant Shubin of the Global Justice Center.

The amendment to the government's post-Brexit trade bill was largely created to force worldwide action in addressing China's alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur minority in the far western Xinjiang region.

Eric Schwartz, the head of the Refugees International advocacy group, welcomed Pompeo's statement but questioned why the same reasoning had not been applied to the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim population in Myanmar.

George W Bush's administration described Sudan's scorched-earth campaign in Darfur as genocide, while Barack Obama's administration said likewise about the Islamic State extremist group's mass killings, rape and enslavement of Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities.

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