Uyghurs want decisive action against China after US report highlights their genocide in East Turkistan

at 8:45 pm
Uyghur Muslims of China-occupied East Turkistan (Xinjiang) protesting against genocide. File Pic

Washington: With the US State Department highlighting the genocide being perpetrated by China against Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in East Turkistan (which Beijing calls Xinjiang Province), the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile (ETGE) has urged the international community to urgently take “decisive action” rather than “token gestures” to stop the crimes against humanity.

The ETGE sought implementation of sanctions, diplomatic pressures and other necessary measures to force China to end its ongoing genocide in the “occupied” territory.

Moreover, it urged the US and other democratic nations to recognize East Turkistan as an “Occupied Country” and support its right to external self-determination, thereby addressing the root cause of China’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity.

“Following the release of the U.S. State Department’s 2023 Human Rights Report on April 22, 2024, the East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) is urgently calling for immediate and substantial global action to address the genocide and crimes against humanity being perpetrated by China against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic ethnic groups in East Turkistan,” it said in a statement.

“Both US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s opening statement and the specific section on China in the report reiterate that China’s atrocities in East Turkistan (which Beijing calls “Xinjiang”) constitute an ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity,” the ETGE statement said.

“These atrocities include mass internment, forced labor, and the forced assimilation of nearly one million Turkic children into Chinese state-run facilities,” it said.

The ETGE said in May 2014, the Chinese government launched a “People’s War” on Uyghurs and other Turkic people in East Turkistan under the guise of combating “extremism, separatism, and terrorism.”

By 2016, this so-called “People’s War” had escalated into a comprehensive campaign of genocide and crimes against humanity due to a lack of international response and condemnation, the statement said.

Key aspects of China’s campaign of genocide and crimes against humanity include the mass internment of millions of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic peoples in concentration camps, which are increasingly being converted into official prisons; forced sterilization of hundreds of thousands of Uyghur and other Turkic women; and the enslavement of millions more through forced labor, it said.

Other aspects involve coerced marriages of Turkic women to Chinese men, widespread destruction of thousands of cultural and religious sites, suppression of religious practices, prohibition of native Turkic languages in education, and forced separation and assimilation of nearly a million Uyghur and other Turkic children in state-run facilities, the ETGE said.

It said that “despite acknowledgment and designation of these acts as genocide by the United States and several other national parliaments, including those of the UK, Netherlands, Czech Republic, France, and Belgium, the international community’s response has largely been confined to verbal condemnations without the backing of effective policies or interventions.”

The ETGE is urging the international community, especially leading democratic nations and international organizations, to advance beyond mere condemnations.

ETGE President Dr. Mamtimin Ala stated, “Despite the detailed documentation of China’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in East Turkistan, the global response remains grossly inadequate. More than token gestures are needed—decisive actions must be taken to enforce treaty obligations to stop and penalize the atrocities committed by China in Occupied East Turkistan.”

ETGE Foreign Minister Salih Hudayar stated, “The Chinese government and the CCP are employing genocide and crimes against humanity as tools to sustain their colonial occupation of East Turkistan.”

Beyond rhetorical commitments, the ETGE is calling for tangible steps to uphold human rights and end the genocide in East Turkistan.

Specifically, the ETGE is appealing to the U.S. Senate to pass the Uyghur Policy Act (S.1252) and include the appointment of a Special Coordinator for Uyghur Issues at the U.S. State Department, as the already passed House version does.