Trump Administration Declares China Committed Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity in Xinjiang

The Trump administration announced Tuesday (Jan. 19) that China has committed genocide and Crimes Against Humanity against the Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted, “I have decided that the People’s Republic of China has committed genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang against Uighur Muslims and other religious and ethnic minorities. These acts are an affront to the Chinese people and to all civilized nations around the world. The People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party must be held accountable.”

In a statement, Pompeo said exhaustive records confirm that the acts began at least in March 2017 and include the arbitrary detention of more than 1 million Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities, forced birth control, torture of most of those arbitrarily detained, forced labor, and restrictions on freedom of religion, speech and movement.

The statement said the CCP not only denies international observers unhindered access to Xinjiang and denounces credible reports of the deteriorating situation there, but also concocts narratives about Uighurs’ happy participation in Education, counterterrorism, poverty eradication and women’s empowerment programs, while spreading evil messages to its own population that Uighurs are malignant and their faith is an epidemic.

In a statement, Pompeo said, “After carefully examining the available facts, I have concluded that the People’s Republic of China, under the direction and control of the Chinese Communist Party, has committed genocide against Uighur Muslims and other religious minorities, who make up the majority of the population in Xinjiang.”

He added, “I believe that this genocide is ongoing and that we are witnessing a systematic attempt by the Communist Party State to destroy the Uighur people.”

Pompeo said the U.S. called on China to immediately release all arbitrarily detained persons, abolish the system of custodial detention and end the persecution of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.

Senator Rubio of Florida, co-chair of the Congressional and Executive Committee on China (CECC), said in a statement, “The Trump Administration has done the right thing in calling the horrific crimes committed by the Chinese Communist Party against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities by their proper names: crimes against humanity and genocide. The State Department’s determination today is an important step toward accountability and justice, as we encapsulated in the FY 2021 appropriations bill. The crimes being committed under the Chinese government are a human tragedy that requires an immediate response from the international community. These determinations demand action from the administration, Congress and our allies that follow. We must ensure that the United States and free nations do what we can to end these atrocities and ensure that this will continue to be a key agenda of U.S. policy toward China.”

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse from Nebraska said, “This is a good decision and the right one, but it is too late. The U.S. is not taking the genocide facing the Uighurs seriously, and many in the Trump administration want to talk about China primarily in terms of the trade deficit, while many in the Biden administration want to talk about China as just a competitor. The Chinese Communist Party is a dictatorship that carries out genocide, and Xi Jinping is evil. The United States has an obligation to confront this challenge head on and stand with those Uighurs in Xinjiang who have been raped and tortured.”

Reuters reported that Pompeo’s announcement followed a heated discussion within the State Department about it. A bill passed by Congress on Dec. 27 requires the U.S. administration to determine within 90 days whether forced labor and other charges against Uighurs and other minorities constitute crimes against humanity and genocide.

A U.S. official said during a telephone briefing that this was not a decision made lightly. It went through a lot of process and a lot of analysis. The secretary of state determined that this is the tool we need to employ at this Time in order to advance this very important cause.”

China has been internationally condemned for its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, particularly the re-education camps and forced labor. But Beijing denies the allegations, saying those are vocational training centers meant to fight terrorism and improve employment.

Pompeo’s announcement Tuesday comes just one day before the Biden administration takes office. On Xinjiang, Biden’s team said during the campaign that what the Chinese government is doing in Xinjiang constitutes genocide.

The outgoing Trump administration has also introduced several other measures against the Chinese Communist Party in recent weeks, including imposing sanctions on several more Chinese and Hong Kong officials, blacklisting more Chinese companies and lifting self-imposed restrictions on exchanges between U.S. and Taiwanese officials, among others. Pompeo said that none of these moves were made in haste, but were well thought out and aimed at addressing the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party.

In a statement Tuesday, Pompeo called on all appropriate multilateral and relevant jurisdictions to join the United States in promoting accountability for those who committed these crimes. He said the State Department will continue to investigate and gather relevant information, and open up relevant evidence to relevant authorities and the international community to the extent permitted by law.

We will not remain silent,” he said. If the Chinese Communist Party is allowed to commit genocide and crimes against humanity against its own people, it can conceivably be emboldened to do so against the free world in the near future.”