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Uighur men in a forced labor camp.

U.S. officially labels Chinese treatment of Uighur people ‘genocide’

China’s treatment of the Uighur minority has officially been labeled “genocide.” The declaration comes in the last days of the Trump administration making the United States the first nation to label it as such.

The ancient ethnic group is suffering a campaign of mass internment, forced abortion and sterilization and forced labor and forced sterilization. The Trump administration called it “crimes against humanity.”

It is not known if the incoming Biden administration will strip the label which has powerful connotations on the world stage. Documents confirmed by media outlets only after the Nov. 3 election found business ties between the members of the Biden family and Chinese-owned companies. In addition, American entertainment companies have set up filming near Uighur concentration camps, denying they had knowledge of the persecution.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released the new designation to describe the Chinese Communist Party’s gross human rights.

“After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that since at least March 2017, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), under the direction and control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has committed crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said in a statement, adding in a second determination that the CCP has also committed “genocide.”

Pompeo’s acttion drew a sharp response from Chen Weihua, China’s state-owned newspaper, China Daily, who said that when Pompeo leaves his post along with the outgoing Trump administration, it will be “Time to celebrate.”

The secretary’s tweet echoed his official statement in which he said, “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 actions of the Communist Chinese have not subsided, even with increasing press reports, “these crimes are ongoing” and include forced abortions and sterilizations.

The new designation comes after Pompeo ordered an internal review of China’s policy. Morse Tan, U.S. ambassador-at-large for the Office of Global Criminal Justice, undertook the task to determine whether China’s actions in Xinjiang constituted genocide and crimes against humanity.

In December 2020, the U.S.-based Center for Global Policy published a report outlining new evidence from Chinese government documents and media reports of hundreds of thousands of Uighurs in Xinjiang being forced to pick cotton by hand through coercive state-mandated labor.

In early January, the Trump administration announced that the U.S. will block cotton from the Uighur region of China (See Metro Voice story HERE). The U.S. will bar entry of all cotton products and tomatoes from the region.

The U.S. imported $9 billion of cotton products in the past year stated Brenda Smith, the executive assistant commissioner in the office for trade at Customs and Border Protection.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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