China’s human rights abuses against the Uyghur ethnic minority group have breached the 1948 Genocide Convention, according to a Tuesday report from the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy.
International law experts say that the Chinese government has breached Article II of the Convention, which provides that genocide requires “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.” Article II states that intent can be shown by killing members of a protected group, causing serious bodily or psychological harm to members of a group, inflicting conditions on group members that are intended to destroy the group, forcing group members to undergo birth control methods, or forcibly transferring children of the protected group to another group.
The report states that in 2014 China’s President Xi Jinping launched a national counterterrorism campaign—called the People’s War on Terror—aimed at eradicating alleged “terrorist” threats in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)—an area where 90 percent of the Uyghur population resides. During that time, authorities called for citizens to “wipe them out completely” and to “destroy them root and branch.”
The report also highlights the mass internment camps that XUAR lawmakers legalized in 2017 when authorities were urged to “increase discipline and punishment” within the camps and maintain “strict secrecy” concerning the dissemination of information to the public. The government further implemented digital surveillance measures to monitor people within the camps.
Experts also drew on reports of forced birth control methods on Uyghur women, including IUDs, forced abortions and mass sterilizations. Activists have cited concerns over mass killings in the camps in recent years.
Using these incidents as evidence of China’s intent to commit genocide against the Uyghurs, experts argued in the report that:
the long-established, publicly and repeatedly declared, specifically targeted, systematically implemented, and fully resourced policy and practice of China toward the Uyghurs is inseparable from “the intent to destroy” the Uyghurs as a group, in whole or in part, as such. Therefore, China bears State responsibility for an ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs, in breach of the Genocide Convention.
The report does not make any recommendations for actions but does conclude that genocide has occurred and is ongoing.