First Independent Report On Uyghur Treatment Finds China In Breach of 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention
Uighur rights activists rally in solidarity with the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and in protest at China's treatment of its Tibetan and Uighur peoples at a demonstration for all three causes outside the Chinese Embassy in London, England, on January 19, 2020. In its newly-released 'World Report 2020', New York-based research and advocacy NGO Human Rights Watch last week singled-out 'deepening repression' by Chinese authorities during 2019, including of religious freedoms in Tibet and in the Uighur homeland of Xinjiang, as the defining feature of what was the 70th anniversary year of the Chinese Communist Party. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In the first independent, non-governmental legal examination of China’s human rights offenses against the Uyghur population, the think tank Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy found that the Chinese government is responsible for “committing genocide against the Uyghurs in breach of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”

The 1948 Genocide Convention “is an instrument of international law that codified for the first time the crime of genocide,” according to the United Nations’ website. The convention was the “first human rights treaty” that the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted. Its purpose was to ensure that the human rights horrors of World War II were never repeated.

The report explains the ways in which the Chinese government is in violation of committing genocide against the Uyghur people. As outlined by Article II of the Genocide Convention, the act of genocide includes the requirement of “intent to destroy” a group. This intent does not necessarily need to come from direct acknowledgements. The report continues, “Intent can be inferred from a collection of objective facts that are attributable to the State, including official statements, a general plan, State policy and law, a pattern of conduct, and repeated destructive acts, which have a logical sequence and result — destruction of the group as such, in whole or in substantial part.”

The group found that there is evidence of “High-level statements of intent and general plan” from President Xi Jinping’s declaration of the “People’s War on Terror” focusing on a majority of Uyghur-populated regions, with top authorities then making commands to “round up everyone who should be rounded up,” and “wipe them out completely…destroy them root and branch.”

The think tank also included proof regarding the robust policy put in place by the government and “pattern of conduct and repeated destructive acts.” These include mass internment, government-mandated homestays where “County government further coerce, incentivize, and actively promote Han-Uyghur marriages,” and a mass birth-prevention strategy of forced sterilization. Uyghur children have also been taken to government facilities in “highly securitized boarding schools and orphanages.” The report found the Chinese government guilty of eradicating “Uyghur identity, community, and domestic life” by destroying religious places and cultural components. One of the final pieces of evidence of genocide is displayed in the specific targeting of leaders in the community, which the Chinese government has also committed. “The deliberate targeting of Uyghur leaders and sacred sites evinces an intent to destroy the essential elements of Uyghur identity and communal bonds, which define the group as such,” the report explains.

The specific acts in Article II of the Genocide Convention that the group found China guilty of violating include: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Newlines Institute concluded that the state of China is responsible for the continuing genocide against the Uyghur people, “in breach of the Genocide Convention.”

The United States declared the treatment of the Uyghurs a genocide right before former President Trump left office. While the Biden administration has agreed with that assessment in the past, their recent discussion of semantics regarding genocide have made some question the administration’s stance.

As reported by The Daily Wire on Tuesday,

The Biden administration did not give a clear answer Monday regarding whether they still believe communist China is continuing its genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other religious minorities in Xinjiang.

When asked about imposing costs on China for its genocide, State Department spokesman Ned Price responded, “Well, to put a fine point on it, the Secretary has made clear that in his judgment, genocide was committed against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.” 

A few moments later, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee questioned Price over his use of the word “was,” and whether that represented a belief by the administration that the genocide was no longer happening.

Price went on to say, “These – the questions of genocide, questions of crimes against humanity, these are always questions that our bureaus are looking at – it’s not only the Department of State but also our interagency partners – are looking closely at to form an assessment as to whether these are ongoing…

“At that moment in time, it was the judgement of Secretary Blinken that genocide had been committed in Xinjiang, just as it was the judgment of Secretary Pompeo, as I understand it, that genocide was committed.”

Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy did not make any recommendations or proposals based off their findings, but said they are ready to distribute the report with any “relevant institutions or actors” who are interested.

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