Senators introduce bipartisan resolution to label Xinjiang abuses “genocide”

Senators introduce bipartisan resolution to label Xinjiang abuses “genocide”

A cadre of bipartisan senators introduced a resolution on Tuesday to formally label the Chinese government’s human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the region of Xinjiang as “genocide.”

Why it matters: China has faced global backlash for its repression in Xinjiang, where ethnic minorities are subject to surveillance, torture and detention in mass “re-education” camps. But genocide is a serious crime under international law, and the U.S. invokes the formal label only in rare cases.

The state of play: Though China’s government has denied claims of human rights abuses in Xinjiang — defending the camps as vocational centers that teach skills to prevent the allure of Islamic radicalism — reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees reveal a sweeping campaign of repression.

  • The new bill refers to the estimated 1 million-plus Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and members of other Muslim minorities in camps who were “forcibly transferred” out of Xinjiang to work in factories between 2017 and 2019.
  • A Canadian parliamentary committee concluded last week that China’s population controls and other measures designed to eradicate Uighur culture amount to a policy of genocide, prompting a furious response by Beijing.