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Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Djaouida Siaci

Djaouida Siaci is an international lawyer who focuses on human rights violations, genocide and sexual violence. She spoke to Axios about the international human rights law perspective on the Chinese government's actions in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Siaci believes that a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics wouldn't just be symbolic; it could help persuade international legal institutions to open an investigation related to allegations of genocide in Xinjiang.

Driving the news: Siaci was one of the contributors to a recent report presenting a legal case for China's state responsibility for genocide in Xinjiang.

What she's saying: "It is crystal clear that there is a massive violation of China’s obligation under the genocide convention in destroying the Uyghur group in whole or in part," Siaci told Axios.

Details: The Chinese government's intent to cause the "slow death" of a group of people has been made clear through leaked government documents and government statements, Siaci said.

  • But what's especially damning is the reproductive and sexual violence being committed against Uyghur women. Siaci, who has worked on cases relating to the mass rape of Rohingya women in Myanmar, said systemic sexual violence is a clear sign of a campaign to destroy the ability of women to reproduce, both physically and socially, through the stigma of rape.
  • While rape isn't known to be occurring on a mass scale in Xinjiang, the growing evidence for rapes in camps, combined with coerced marriages of Uyghur women to Han men, forced sterilizations, and the large-scale removal of Uyghur children from their parents — these "have exactly the same effect in the long run" as physical killings, she said.

What to watch: A global boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics might help spur legal action against China. "The games are an insult to everyone," said Siaci.

  • But "no one wants to stand up to China," she said. "China has waged a malicious and insidious campaign from the get-go to suppress a campaign and they have been successful. They have the means to crush any attempt to show the world what they are doing."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to remove references to the International Criminal Court.

Go deeper

Apr 6, 2021 - World

Global capitalism abets China's repression

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

By incentivizing companies to go along with the Chinese government's repressive policies in Xinjiang and imposing punishments on those that don't, the Chinese Communist Party has made complicity in repression profitable for some companies — and for others, even mandatory.

The big picture: With the second-largest market in the world — one that is projected to surpass the U.S. to take the top spot by 2028 — the Chinese Communist Party has an enormous amount of power.

Olympic committee gave uniform contract to Chinese company with Xinjiang ties

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave a uniform contract for the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics to a Chinese textiles company that has an affiliated factory in Xinjiang and that openly advertises its use of Xinjiang cotton.

Why it matters: The opacity of supply chains in China means it may be hard to determine if goods are made through forced labor.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 6, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Biden's climate balancing act with China

Data: Global Carbon Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

Partner? Rival? When it comes to China and climate policy, the White House answer to both questions seems to be yes.

Driving the news: The last few days underscore the delicate role that China is playing in White House climate efforts.

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