Genocide, with Chinese Characteristics
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
a. Killing members of the group;
b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Uighur Genocide - Western Reaction
The word “genocide” was first coined by Polish lawyer Raphäel Lemkin in 1944 in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. It consists of the Greek prefix genos, meaning race or tribe, and the Latin suffix cide, meaning killing. Lemkin developed the term partly in response to the Nazi policies of systematic murder of Jewish people during the Holocaust, but also in response to previous instances in history of targeted actions aimed at the destruction of particular groups of people. Later on, Raphäel Lemkin led the campaign to have genocide recognised and codified as an international crime.
Under Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, " genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such ... 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...."
Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in a vast network of internment camps since early 2017. Chinese officials have said the camps are centers for “vocational training,” but detainees are mostly held against their will in cramped and unsanitary conditions, where they are forced to endure inhumane treatment and political indoctrination.
The Trump administration determined that China committed "genocide and crimes against humanity" by repressing Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on 19 January 2021, in an embarrassing blow to Beijing just before President Joe Biden took office. Pompeo said he made the move, which is certain to further strain already frayed ties between the world's top economies, "after careful examination of the available facts," accusing the Chinese Communist Party of crimes against humanity targeting the Uighurs. "I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state," Pompeo said in a statement. The rare American determination followed intensive internal debate after Congress passed legislation on 27 December 2020 requiring the US administration to determine within 90 days whether China had committed crimes against humanity or a genocide.
Unlike many decisions by Pompeo seen as boxing in Joe Biden, the incoming president had called for more pressure on China on human rights with his campaign last year using the term genocide. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a confirmation hearing on 19 January 2021 he agreed with the genocide declaration. Biden's Democratic campaign had declared, before the November 3 US election, that genocide was occurring in Xinjiang. "I think we're very much in agreement," Blinken said. "The forcing of men, women and children into concentration camps; trying to, in effect, re-educate them to be adherents to the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, all of that speaks to an effort to commit genocide."
Omer Kanat, executive director of the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, hoped that the genocide determination would lead to further steps such as a boycott of next year's Beijing Winter Olympics. "The implications are enormous. It's unthinkable to continue 'business as usual' with a state committing genocide and crimes against humanity," he said in a statement. The Trump administration has already taken a number of steps to pressure China over its treatment of the Uighurs, including blocking all imports of cotton from Xinjiang -- one of the major global producers of yarn used in textile manufacturing.
China had possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, a bipartisan commission of the United States Congress said in a report 14 January 2021. The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) said on Thursday that new evidence had emerged in the past year that “crimes against humanity – and possibly genocide – are occurring”. The CECC report called for a formal US “determination on whether atrocities are being committed” in Xinjiang, and such a determination is required within 90 days of US legislation passed on 27 December 2020.
CECC co-chair, Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, called China’s actions to crush human rights in the past year “shocking and unprecedented” and urged Congress and the incoming Biden administration to hold Beijing accountable. “The United States must continue to stand with the people of China in their struggle and lead the world in a united and coordinated response to the human rights abuses of the Chinese government,” he said.
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