Nov 9, 2021 - World

Holocaust Museum report warns China "may be committing genocide"

the Chinese flag behind razor wire at a housing compound in Yangisar, south of Kashgar, in China's western Xinjiang region
The Chinese flag behind razor wire at a housing compound in Yangisar, south of Kashgar, in China's western Xinjiang region. Photo credit: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images.

A report released today by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum states the museum is "gravely concerned" the "Chinese government may be committing genocide against the Uyghurs."

Why it matters: A growing number of governments and other institutions are concluding the Chinese government's policies toward the Uyghur ethnic minority aren't just repression, but in fact constitute genocide.

  • Once a government has made a legal determination of genocide, they have an obligation under international law to take action.
  • The report was published by the museum's Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, which states in the report that it "seeks to do for victims of genocide today what was not done for the Jews of Europe."

Details: The 56-page report, titled "To Make Us Slowly Disappear," documents Chinese government policies targeting Uyghurs, including mass surveillance, restrictions on Uyghur religion and culture, forced sterilization, mass incarceration, forced labor, destruction of Uyghur cultural and religious site, and transfer of Uyghur children away from their families.

Context: In 2020, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum assessed the Chinese government was committing "crimes against humanity" in Xinjiang, where many Uyghurs live.

  • The museum's assessment of the situation has now changed. Recent information shows "the Chinese government’s conduct has escalated beyond a policy of forced assimilation," the report states.
  • "This includes, in particular, a deepening assault on Uyghur female reproductive capacity through forced sterilization and forced intrauterine device (IUD) placement as well as the separation of the sexes through mass detention and forcible transfer."
  • Those policies raise "legitimate questions about the existence of the intent to biologically destroy the group, in whole or in substantial part," which is an important part of the definition of genocide, the report states.

Go deeper: "Clear evidence" China is committing genocide against Uyghurs

Go deeper