Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Tuesday that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been committing “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” against Uyghur Muslims and other minority groups at the instruction of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“I have determined that the People’s Republic of China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China, targeting Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups,” tweeted Secretary Pompeo Tuesday.
The U.S. is the first country to designate China’s policies against Uyghurs as genocidal.
This new classification comes only a day before Biden’s inauguration and will require the incoming administration to carefully consider future negotiations with China.
The PRC’s “morally repugnant, wholesale policies, practices, and abuses are designed systematically to discriminate against and surveil ethnic Uyghurs as a unique demographic and ethnic group, restrict their freedom to travel, emigrate, and attend schools, and deny other basic human rights of assembly, speech, and worship,” Pompeo said in a statement.
He emphasized that the PRC has “conducted forced sterilizations and abortions on Uyghur women, coerced them to marry non-Uyghurs, and separated Uyghur children from their families.”
Over one million civilians have had their “physical liberty” stripped from them by the PRC’s policies and many face “arbitrary imprisonment,” forced labor, and torture.
Last week, Customs and Border Patrol announced an immediate ban on all tomato and cotton products coming from Xinjiang in response to suspicion that these products were being produced through forced labor.
“We will prevent goods made by forced labor from entering our country, and we demand the Chinese close their camps and stop their human rights violations,” said Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.
Pompeo drew parallels between the Allied forces in WWII revealing Nazi concentration camps and the atrocities being revealed in China, focusing on the importance of taking China’s crimes seriously and not allowing for a repeat of history.
“Since the Allied forces exposed the horrors of Nazi concentration camps, the refrain ‘Never again’ has become the civilized world’s rallying cry against these horrors. Just because an atrocity is perpetrated in a manner that is different than what we have observed in the past, does not make it any less an atrocity,” said Pompeo.