Uyghur genocide

The Uyghur genocide is the characterization of the series of human rights abuses committed by the government of China against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang as genocide. Since 2014, the Chinese government under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the administration of CCP general secretary Xi Jinping has pursued policies that incarcerated more than an estimated one million Muslims (the majority of them Uyghurs) in internment camps without any legal process.[2][3][4] This was the largest-scale detention of ethnic and religious minorities since World War II.[5][6] Thousands of mosques were destroyed or damaged, and hundreds of thousands of children were forcibly separated from their parents and sent to boarding schools.[7][8][9]

Uyghur genocide
Part of the Xinjiang conflict
Detainees listening to speeches in a camp in Lop County, Xinjiang, April 2017[1]
Xinjiang, highlighted red, shown within China
LocationXinjiang, China
Date2014–present
TargetUyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic Muslims
Attack type
Forced abortion, forced sterilization, forced birth control, rape (including gang rape), forced labor, torture, beatings, internment, brainwashing
Victimsest. ≥1 million detained
PerpetratorPeople's Republic of China
MotiveCounterterrorism (official)
Sinicization, Islamophobia and suppression of political dissent

Government policies have included the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs in state-sponsored internment camps,[10][11] forced labor,[12][13] suppression of Uyghur religious practices,[14] political indoctrination,[15] severe ill-treatment,[16] forced sterilization,[17] forced contraception,[18][19] and forced abortion.[20][21] Chinese government statistics reported that from 2015 to 2018, birth rates in the mostly Uyghur regions of Hotan and Kashgar fell by more than 60%.[17] In the same period, the birth rate of the whole country decreased by 9.69%, from 12.07 to 10.9 per 1,000 people.[22] Chinese authorities acknowledged that birth rates dropped by almost a third in 2018 in Xinjiang, but denied reports of forced sterilization and genocide.[23] Birth rates in Xinjiang fell a further 24% in 2019 (compared to a nationwide decrease of 4.2%).[17]

These actions were described as the forced assimilation of Xinjiang, and an ethnocide or cultural genocide.[24][25] Some governments, activists, independent NGOs, human rights experts, academics and the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile termed it genocide, as laid out in the Genocide Convention.[26][27][28][29]

International reactions have been diverse. Some United Nations (UN) member states issued statements to the United Nations Human Rights Council condemning China's policies, while others supported China's policies.[30] In December 2020, the International Criminal Court declined to take investigate China on jurisdictional grounds.[31][32] The United States was the first country to declare the human rights abuses a genocide, announcing its finding on January 19, 2021,[33] although the US State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser concluded that evidence was insufficient to prove genocide.[34] Legislatures in multiple countries followed by passing non-binding motions marking China's actions as genocide, including the House of Commons of Canada,[35] the Dutch parliament,[36] the House of Commons of the United Kingdom[37] and the Seimas of Lithuania.[38] Other parliaments, such as those in New Zealand,[39] Belgium,[40] and the Czech Republic condemned the Chinese government's treatment of Uyghurs as "severe human rights abuses" or crimes against humanity.[41]