Do Not Ignore Genocide Against Uyghurs

Right now, the Chinese government is carrying out genocide against the Uyghur ethnic minorityA report from the nonpartisan Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy (formerly the Center for Global Policy) details the past six years of this genocide: 

“In 2014, China’s Head of State, President Xi Jinping, launched the ‘People’s War on Terror’ in XUAR [Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region], making the areas where Uyghurs constitute nearly 90 percent of the population the front line. High-level officials followed up with orders to ’round up everyone who should be rounded up,’ ‘wipe them out completely … destroy them root and branch,’ and ‘break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins.’ Officials described Uyghurs with dehumanizing terms and repeatedly likened the mass internment of Uyghurs to ‘eradicating tumors.’” 

The U.S. government names this persecution as genocide. The Chinese government denies it, of course. That denial lacks all plausibility.

The 1948 U.N. convention against genocide, signed by 152 countries, including China, names five acts that constitute 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: 

(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.”

Any one of these acts constitutes genocide. China has perpetrated all of these acts, and more, against the Uighur people. The report documented: 

“The ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs is a logical result of a series of sequential and cumulative acts, evolving from the collection of biometric data of Uyghur residents, to the assignment of party cadre teams to monitor Uyghur families, to the destruction of Uyghur cultural and religious sites, language, literature, and poetry—all the foundations of Uyghur life and identity —to the criminalization of Uyghur religious practices, the construction and expansion of internment camps and detention facilities across every populated area of the region, the cycles of mass Uyghur internment and forced labor, to systematic forced abortions and the sterilization of Uyghur women of childbearing age, widespread rape and sexual abuse, and the forcible separation of Uyghur children from their disappeared parents.”

The Canadian and Dutch parliaments have also said that China’s persecution of the mostly-Muslim Uyghur minority constitutes genocide. Horrifying first-person accounts of torture, sterilization, and forced abortions in “re-education” camps are difficult to read. 

Florida congressmen, Democrat Ted Deutch and Republican Mario Diaz-Balart plan to introduce the “Uighur Human Rights Protection Act,” which would give Uyghurs the right to apply directly to the U.S. government as refugees, rather than first going through the U.N. referral process. That seems a small step, but a necessary first step. 

One more step: Cancel the 2022 Winter Olympics or move them out of China. If the International Olympic Committee refuses to do so, the United States should be a leader in boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

In 1936, Nazi Germany hosted the Olympics, despite calls to move the games. U.S. Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage supported keeping the Olympics in Germany, saying that “politics has no place in sport.” 

He was wrong. Holding the Winter Olympics in China, despite the ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people, would be just as wrong. 

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