WASHINGTON: Campaign For Uyghurs (CFU), a US-based rights group, has lauded the US after the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide and crimes against humanity were highlighted in the newly released State Department report on Human Rights Practices for 2020.
This comes as the Biden administration on Tuesday (local time) declared Chinese actions against the Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang as ‘genocide’.
In a 2020 report on Human rights practices: China released on Tuesday, the US Department of State said: “Genocide and crimes against humanity occurred during the year against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang”.
Dr. Rishat Abbas, Senior Advisor for CFU and Honorary Chairman of Uyghur Academy stated in response to the remarks that “Uyghurs are greatly encouraged to see this clear messaging to call out the Chinese regime’s crimes for what they are, and to stand firmly on the principles that should be upheld by the United States in particular regarding freedom and respect for the values of humanity.”
Former US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo first officially declared genocide in Xinjiang during the waning days of the Donald Trump administration. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed Pompeo’s assessment during his confirmation hearing, but the word’s inclusion into Tuesday’s report formalises the outlook as an official US government assessment, Washington Post reported.
The State Department said the crime includes the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians; forced sterilization, coerced abortions, and more restrictive application of China’s birth control policies; rape; torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained; forced labour; and the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief.
The state department said Chinese government officials and the security services often committed human rights abuses with impunity. “Authorities often announced investigations following cases of reported killings by police but did not announce results or findings of police malfeasance or disciplinary action,” the report stated.
The report has come amid heightening tensions between western countries and China. The recent escalation of tensions began after the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom imposed sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for atrocities against Uyghurs.
In Xinjiang, the state department said there were reports of custodial deaths related to detentions in the internment camps and there were multiple reports from Uyghur family members who discovered their relatives had died while in internment camps or within weeks of their release.
According to the report, the government conducted mass arbitrary detention of Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and members of other Muslim and ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang.
China Human Rights Defenders alleged these detentions amounted to enforced disappearance since families were often not provided information about the length or location of the detention, the report read.
“Using the term genocide in the report indicates profound concern in the administration about appalling Chinese government human rights violations against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Turkic communities,” Washington Post quoted Sophie Richardson, a China expert at Human Rights Watch, as saying.
The move may also put further pressure on the Biden administration to punish China for its alleged actions. “The next step is to map out a strategy to back an independent investigation, gather evidence, and pursue accountability,” Richardson said. (ANI)