Genocide in Xinjiang: how will the world react?


Government social media post in April 2017 shows detainees in a camp in Hotan Prefecture [Image obtained by HRW] Credit: Al Jazeera

   The world fought a war against the genocide of the Jewish people during the Second World War, with the defeat of the authoritarian racism of Hitler’s Germany. That victory was intended to end genocide once and for all; however, countries such as the Soviet Union continued, even following the war, to persecute innocent people within its borders. No matter the enthnic background or what religion one practices, what is happening to innocent Uyghur Muslim minorities in the Western Chinese province of Xinjiang is genocide, and should evoke an intense response in all Western democracies.

   As it stands right now, no one can hold the People’s Republic of China accountable. The International Criminal Court which prosecutes such crimes against humanity as genocide has no jurisdiction over the PRC. According to the just released report shared with Reuters News Agency, the Chinese government has begun a culling of births of the Uyghur minority population in a coordinated effort to reduce its population by one-third over the next 20 years. These policies will reduce births in southern Xinjiang by 2.6 to 4.5 million births. The birth-rate, according to the latest research, reveals China’s ethnic genocide intent, has already been reduced over 48% in just the two years from 2017 to 2019.

   Until now, insufficient evidence existed to bring criminal charges against either Chinese governmental or Xinjiang officials. Although the governments of the United States, Canada, and Great Britain have described the mass detention and birth prevention as genocide, the proof of these “re-education camps” in southern Xinjiang were only detailed in a leaked report that listed the violations against one-fourth of the internment detainees as “birth violations.” Unsuprisingly, the Communist Party officials immediately and summarily dismissed this “fake report” as “fabrication.” The world now has that proof: since 2017, government policies have included the separation of married couples, sterilization procedures, intrauterine devices, and abortions.

   Here is why China is culling its minorities, especially the predominantly Muslim minority of Uyghur: the shift in policy to increase the number of children, those of the Han majority from two to three, does not extend to Uyghur and other minorities in China. Because the Han population is rapidly ageing and a shrinking percentage of China’s population, Chinese officials fear the loss of the Han as the majority. To prevent the loss of the Han majority, China’s policies

emulate those Nazis acts of genocide against the minorities, I.E. to keep the governing portion under the control of the “pure” indigenous people as the “master race.”

   Chinese officials are quick to point out that enforcement of the two-child-per-couple was lax in rural areas, especially for the Uyghur and other ethnic minorities. This lack of enforcement by authorities was intended to increase the population of minority communities – just not at the expense of the majority Chinese population. Once the increasing population of minorities posed a threat to dissolve the majority lines of ethnic groups, the Communist Party acted to preserve the ruling majority, using population control to ensure the majority of the Han population maintained political power. Like Germany in the 1930s, the Chinese government believes the majority or ideal race must be protected (I.E., the blond hair and blue-eyed descendents of the mythical Aryan race), as the German-Jews posed a threat to the German majority, even a danger to Germany itself. The ways utilized by the Communist Party mimic the repeats of history for ensuring the master majority, including the detentions of hundreds of minorities, transfers into mass labor groups and internment camps, and population control through mandated abortions and imprisonment of violators. The ruling premise: control the population, and the majority remains in power.


   “Now is the time for all civilized people to realize that if one group is not protected, no one will be safe.”


   Short of a declaration of war against the Chinese government for its horrific acts of genocide, what can the world do to stop these human rights violations? Time is of the essence, as now is the time for all western democracies to threaten boycotting economic trade with China until it ceases inflicting such inhumane acts of genocide on its minorities. If the nations of the Western world that fought to end the genocide of the Second World War do not act, their inaction renders that war but a footnote in the history of the world about how authoritarian governments impose the will of a few onto a portion of its population. If the adage holds true that “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and if power is held by fewer and fewer people, then the tyrants and dictators will rule the world, deceptively cloaked in the need for more nationalism. How many times must the civilized people learn this lesson?

   The propaganda coming out of China now attempts to portray a kinder and more likeable China. However, at the heart of this propaganda are the assertions that if only nations would trust the benevolent dictator Xi Xinping, then democracy would be revealed as a fraud, and elections no more than a joke. Such skewed logic is based on the distorted conclusion that because people cannot govern themselves, they should leave power of governing to those few who know what is best for the masses. Should not the lesson be the reaffirmation that, no matter what religion one practices, what ethnicity one belongs, even to what political creed individuals may  ascribe, now is the time for all people to realize that if one group is not protected, no group is free of persecution? In former U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s speech in 1961 (attributed to Edmund Burke), perhaps the lesson is better stated as: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”