Holocaust museum says it is concerned that China is committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims

In a report issued on Tuesday, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said that crimes against the Muslim community of Uyghurs had been escalated by the Chinese government. The Uyghurs currently reside in the northwest region of Xinjiang.

The report is called, “‘To Make Us Slowly Disappear’: The Chinese Government’s Assault on the Uyghurs,” and expands on a March 2020 announcement that the museum made, claiming there was “reasonable basis” to conclude the Chinese government “had perpetrated the crimes against humanity of persecution and of imprisonment” against the community.

Based on evidence gathered, the new report said there was now “reasonable basis” to believe the crimes include “forced sterilization, sexual violence, enslavement, torture, and forcible transfer.”

Uyghur Muslims in China have long showed resentment for the country over its control of the Xinjiang region. The group has claimed to have been discriminated against as one million people, and probably more, have been placed in internment camps for a number of acts like religious practice and violating birth restrictions. The report asks the Chinese government to “immediately halt the commission of mass atrocity crimes.”

The United States has spoken out against the treatment of Uyghurs in China; in the last full day of the Trump administration, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted that the country was committing genocide in a “systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs.”

An example cited in the new report featured the experience of one Uyghur woman who was beaten and brutally raped while detained in Xinjiang in March of 2018. “I remember it very clearly,” she is quoted saying. “I can’t cry and I can’t die…my soul and heart are dead.”

The Chinese government has denied the occurrence of such events: “There has never been any ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang,” said Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington. He added, “China is a unified multiethnic country where the rights and interests of all ethnic minority groups are fully protected according to the constitution and the regional ethnic autonomy arrangement.”

In 2020, the museum formerly accused the Chinese of forcing the Uyghurs’ assimilation. Although that did not fall under the definition of genocide under the Genocide Convention, the museum did say at the time, “Regardless of its legal classification, assimilation threatens the continued existence of Uyghurs’ cultural and religious practices.”

A spokesman for the State Department, Ned Price, shared the museum’s new report on Twitter short after its release and said that it reinforced “our call for the People’s Republic of China to end its crimes against Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.”




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