The Trump administration has taken one last swipe at Beijing, formally exposing the regime’s human rights abuses and accusing it of genocide.
Now former president of the United States, Donald Trump, dealt a final blow in his stand-off with Chinese President Xi Jinping, with his administration formally condemning Beijing’s human rights abuses against local minorities.
According to a statement released by then secretary of state Mike Pompeo, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has “dramatically escalated” a long-standing “campaign of repression” against China’s Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, including ethnic Kazakhs and ethnic Kyrgyz.
The State Department’s “exhaustive documentation” of Beijing’s treatment of minorities in Xinjiang since March 2017 has identified what has been described as “morally repugnant, wholesale policies, practices, and abuses”, designed to discriminate against and surveil ethnic minorities; restrict travel, emigration, and school attendance; and deny other basic human rights of assembly, speech, and worship.
The Trump administration went further, accusing the CCP of committing crimes against humanity, long suspected by the international community, which include:
- forced abortions and sterilisations;
- torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained;
- the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than 1 million civilians;
- forced labour; and
- the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement.
Equating these abuses to atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, Pompeo said: “The Nuremberg Tribunals at the end of World War II prosecuted perpetrators for crimes against humanity, the same crimes being perpetrated in Xinjiang.”
As such, the US Department of State has concluded that upon careful examination of the available evidence, it has determined that Beijing, under the direction and control of the CCP, has “committed genocide” against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.
“I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state,” Pompeo said.
“The governing authorities of the second most economically, militarily, and politically powerful country on earth have made clear that they are engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group, even as they simultaneously assert their country as a global leader and attempt to remould the international system in their image.”
The State Department condemned the CCP’s refusal to provide international observers with unhindered access to Xinjiang, and the party’s perpetuation of “fanciful tales” of Uyghurs participating in “educational, counter-terrorism, women’s empowerment, and poverty alleviation” projects.
Pompeo went on to demand that Beijing cease its internment, detention and population control program, and called on “all appropriate multilateral and relevant juridical bodies” to join US efforts to “promote accountability for those responsible for these atrocities”.
Pompeo directed the US Department of State to continue its investigation and collect evidence relating to the identified abuses in Xinjiang.
The State Department was also instructed to make evidence available to appropriate authorities and the international community.
“The United States, on its part, has spoken out and taken action, implementing a range of sanctions against senior CCP leaders and state-run enterprises that fund the architecture of repression across Xinjiang,” Pompeo said.
“The United States has worked exhaustively to pull into the light what the Communist Party and General Secretary Xi Jinping wish to keep hidden through obfuscation, propaganda, and coercion.”
He continued: “Beijing’s atrocities in Xinjiang represent an extreme affront to the Uyghurs, the people of China, and civilized people everywhere.
“We will not remain silent. If the Chinese Communist Party is allowed to commit genocide and crimes against humanity against its own people, imagine what it will be emboldened to do to the free world, in the not-so-distant future.”
The Trump administration’s final swipe at Beijing came just a day ahead of now President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
President Biden was already set to inherit a major diplomatic challenge, but efforts to ‘normalise’ relations with Beijing are now further complicated by the State Department’s condemnation of the CCP’s human rights abuses.
Amid Beijing’s encroachments on Hong Kong and Taiwanese independence, and reliable evidence of human rights abuses now formally identified by the Department of State, the Biden administration is set to have a serious moral dilemma on its hands.