China is guilty of genocide, forced abortions and forced sterilizations against the Uyghur people and must be held accountable by the United States and the world, the Trump administration State Department said in a landmark statement Tuesday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a statement released on President Trump’s final full day in office, said the U.S. has a history of “holding the perpetrators of the most heinous human rights abuses accountable,” from the Nuremberg Trials to the declaration of ISIS’s genocide against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
“We will not remain silent,” Pompeo said. “If the Chinese Communist Party is allowed to commit genocide and crimes against humanity against its own people, imagine what it will be emboldened to do to the free world, in the not-so-distant future.”
China, the statement said, is guilty of crimes against humanity in its treatment of the Uyghur people, a Muslim minority group in the Xinjiang region of China. The statement said China is using internment camps.
“After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that since at least March 2017, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), under the direction and control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has committed crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said. “These crimes are ongoing and include: the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians, forced sterilization, torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained, forced labor, and the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement.”
The Nuremberg Tribunals at the end of World War II “prosecuted perpetrators for crimes against humanity, the same crimes being perpetrated in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said.
“I have determined that the PRC, under the direction and control of the CCP, has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said. “I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state. The governing authorities of the second most economically, militarily, and politically powerful country on earth have made clear that they are engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group, even as they simultaneously assert their country as a global leader and attempt to remold the international system in their image.”
Further, the statement said the Chinese government has conducted forced abortions on Uyghur women, “coerced them to marry non-Uyghurs” and “separated Uyghur children from their families.”
China has been dishonest with the world about its treatment of Uyghur people, Pompeo said.
“Party apparatchiks have denied international observers unhindered access to Xinjiang and denounced reliable reports about the worsening situation on the ground, instead spinning fanciful tales of happy Uyghurs participating in educational, counter-terror, women’s empowerment, and poverty alleviation projects,” Pompeo said. “Meanwhile, they are delivering far darker messages to their own people, portraying Uyghurs as ‘malignant tumors,’ comparing their faith to a ‘communicable plague,’ and exhorting the Party faithful to implement a crushing blow, telling them ‘you can’t uproot all the weeds hidden among the crops in the field one-by-one; you need to spray chemicals to kill them all.’”
Pompeo called upon China to immediately halt its persecution of Uyghur people.
“We further call on all appropriate multilateral and relevant juridical bodies, to join the United States in our effort to promote accountability for those responsible for these atrocities,” Pompeo said. “I have directed the U.S. Department of State 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 international community to the extent allowable by law.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Thomas Kronsteiner/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.