Donald Trump’s government said on Tuesday (19) that China was committing “genocide and crimes against humanity” by suppressing Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in the Xinjiang region.
The statement was made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the day before the Trump administration left US command.
“After careful consideration of the available facts, I determined that China, under the leadership of the Communist Party, has committed genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other minority groups in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said in a statement.
I believe that this genocide is underway and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt of the Chinese state to destroy the Uyghurs, ”he added.
China is being criticized internationally for keeping Uyghurs detained in Xinjiang, in huge detention centers. It is estimated that a million people have already been taken to these places. A study, published in September, indicates the existence of 380 such fields.
Beijing denies accusations of abuse and says these places are spaces for re-education, aimed at combating extremism and teaching new skills.
Uyghurs have been facing a three-year global campaign to make them obedient followers of the Communist Party, weaken their commitment to Islam and move them from farms to factories.
Villages and towns in Xinjiang are surrounded by large police checkpoints, which use facial recognition scanners to register people coming and going. There are also reports that Uyghurs are being followed by cell phone.
The US decision does not automatically result in sanctions for China, but it puts pressure on other countries and companies to stop doing business with the region, one of the world’s largest cotton suppliers. Last week, the United States imposed a veto on all cotton and tomato products in this region.
Joe Biden’s campaign said ahead of the election that it believed genocide was underway in Xinjiang, a sign that the president-elect could keep the pressure on China on the issue. Biden takes office this Wednesday (20).