In his final days of his Presidency, President Donald Trump has ordered the United States to declare China’s treatment of the country’s Uyghur population in the Xinjiang region as genocide and crimes against humanity. Through four years of escalating tensions between world superpowers, Trump will exit office ensuring the United States stands against the atrocities occurring in China.
“I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. Chinese officials are “engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group.”
With the official condemnation, heightened sanctions could be posed on China and, hopefully, could trigger other nations to follow suit, allowing similar measures to be taken against China.
China has long been secretive with its operations in the northwest territory of Xinjiang regarding the local Uyghur population and other ethnic minorities. What little information the nation provides does little to refute the clear genocide taking place. Apparently, the massive camps set up by China in the region are meant for re-education centers to help Uyghurs assimilate to Chinese culture, however, numerous whistleblowers and reports reveal otherwise.
First reported in late 2018 by the New York Times, researchers noticed Muslim Uyghurs “hunched over sewing machines” in a “factory” on state television. These “factories” are heavily guarded with thousands of patrollers and no reporters are allowed into them. Residents of these centers are not allowed to leave and are monitored constantly by infrared cameras.
In May of 2019, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Randall Schriver made official accusations that China forcibly arrested between one and three million Muslims and detained them in these camps, in effort to eradicate “Uyghur cultural and religious practices and instilling Communist Party propaganda.”
Approximately twelve million Uyghurs live in the nation, defying Chinese authority for religious expression that isn’t overseen by the state and hardly obey the Chinese government. In response, Uyghurs are “selected” for the “free” education program and shipped to the massive camps, where the genocide takes place.
This “education” entails forceful abortions that often leave women sterile, according to a report from the Jamestown Foundation, and slave labor, among untold atrocities hidden behind the camp’s walls.
“It’s genocide, full stop. It’s not immediate, shocking, mass-killing on the spot type genocide, but it’s slow, painful, creeping genocide,” said Joanne Smith Finley, a university lecturer in the United Kingdom who specializes in the Xinjiang region. “These are direct means of genetically reducing the Uighur population.”
The report from The Jamestown Foundation discovered that “growth rates (in the Xinjiang region ) fell by 84 percent in the two largest Uyghur prefectures between 2015 and 2018, and declined further in 2019. For 2020, one Uyghur region set an unprecedented near-zero population growth target: a mere 1.05 per [thousand], compared to an already low 11.45 per [thousand] in 2018.”
As President-Elect Joe Biden prepares to take office, the potential sanctions and follow-up by other nations on China could force his administration to maintain American pressure on the communist regime, one of Trump’s most dedicated focuses as a President. Biden also has not been silent over the human rights violations occurring in China, labeling the mass internment of Uyghurs “among the worst abuses of human rights in the world today” in November of 2019. In a statement to Politico in August, Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates labeled the crimes genocide.