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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A new report released Tuesday (Nov. 9) by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum takes aim at China’s ongoing persecution of its ethnic Uyghur Muslim minority, voicing the museum’s “grave concern that the Chinese government may be committing genocide against the Uyghurs.”
The museum explains that although the practice of forcibly assimilating Uyghurs through the destruction of their cultural and religious heritage goes back decades, when coupled with the more recent “deepening assault on Uyghur female reproductive capacity,” the whole enterprise may well amount to genocide.
In an opening epigraph, the report quotes Gulbahar Haitiwaji, an ethnic Uyghur woman who survived the concentration camps in Xinjiang region, where the museum estimates between 1 and 3 million people have been detained:
“When the nurses grabbed my arm to ‘vaccinate’ me, I thought they were poisoning me. In reality, they were sterilizing us. That was when I understood the method of the camps, the strategy being implemented: not to kill us in cold blood, but to make us slowly disappear. So slowly that no one would notice.”
After giving the background of discrimination leading up to the near-present, the report catalogs the heavier period of persecution and atrocities that began roughly in 2017. China has denied much of what has happened in this era while making attempts to justify some actions as anti-terrorism measures.
The sections that follow catalog mass surveillance, incarceration, and slavery; the destruction of Uyghur cultural heritage; torture and sexual violence; forced sterilization and other anti-natal measures; separation of the sexes through forced relocation; and the seizing of Uyghur children by the government.
The source material is entirely available in the public domain and in English, according to the museum. The organization also points out that the difficulties faced by researchers are no accident on the part of the Chinese state.
Requests by media organizations for comment on the report have been ignored by the Chinese government, which has in the past been dismissive of criticisms of its human rights abuses in Xinjiang, calling them “groundless.”
Both the Trump and Biden administrations have used the term “genocide” to refer to the treatment of the Uyghurs, and the British, Dutch, and Canadian parliaments have passed resolutions describing the situation in Xinjiang as such.
Updated : 2022-06-08 07:43 GMT+08:00
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