countries that have committed genocide

China blasts Pompeo over accusation of genocide in Xinjiang

China blasts Pompeo over accusation of genocide in Xinjiang

 
DAKE KANG
 
 

BEIJING (AP) — An official from China’s far west Xinjiang region accused former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday of trying to undermine Beijing’s relations with new President Joe Biden by declaring that China’s actions against the Uighur ethnic group are “genocide.”

Xu Guixiang, a spokesperson for Xinjiang’s Communist Party, spoke at a tightly controlled media briefing, the latest in a Chinese effort to counter Western accusations of rights abuses in the region.

“Why is he putting on such a show, such a farce, telling the lie of the century?” Xu said. “He wants to plant land mines and set up obstacles to dialogue with the next U.S. administration.”

 

Since 2016, China has swept a million or more Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities into prisons and indoctrination camps that the state calls training centers, according to estimates by researchers and rights groups.

People have been subjected to torture, sterilization and political indoctrination in addition to forced labor as part of an assimilation campaign, according to former residents and detainees, as well as experts and leaked government documents. China denies any abuses and says the steps it has taken are necessary to combat terrorism and a separatist movement.

The Biden administration is formulating its policies toward China, which many analysts see as America’s largest geopolitical challenge.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on his first day in office that he believed genocide was being committed against Xinjiang’s ethnic minorities, signaling that Biden plans to continue some of former President Donald Trump’s tough stances against Beijing.

Over the course of two hours, Xu and others, including an imam and former center “trainees,” took turns denying forced sterilization, forced labor, restrictions on religion and other allegations.

They did not name Biden or Trump and instead trained their ire at Pompeo. Xu called him “hysterical,” a “rat” and “the worst secretary of state in history.”

Pompeo said one of the main reasons for the genocide designation was widespread forced birth control among the Uighurs, which The Associated Press documented last year as well as researcher Adrian Zenz.

Another reason he cited was forced labor. AP reporters found that Uighur workers at OFILM, an Apple supplier nearly 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) from Xinjiang in the eastern city of Nanchang, were not allowed to leave their factory compound freely and could only come out on rare, chaperoned trips.

Asked about OFILM, Xinjiang government spokesperson Elijan Anayat said that workers were employed voluntarily and that their labor rights were protected.

Yusupjan Yasinjan, introduced as a former OFILM worker, said he had signed a contract to work there. He described working conditions as good, with halal meals, ample salaries and free “hotel-like” accommodations, and added that he could “ask for leave.”

Yasinjan did not respond directly to whether he was allowed to leave the factory compound freely. Officials did not allow reporters to ask follow-up questions.

On detention centers, Anayat repeated government statements that the camps had been closed and all the students had graduated.

However, satellite imagery and interviews with former Xinjiang residents indicate that the region’s vast detention apparatus remains in place.

While some detainees have been released, others have been given long prison sentences or forced to work in factories, according to relatives in Kazakhstan and Turkey. Satellite imagery shows that some of the camps have closed and others have been expanded or converted into prisons, analysts say, as Chinese government statistics show that Xinjiang’s incarceration rates have jumped significantly in recent years.

Former residents who have fled Xinjiang say their relatives still in the region have cut contact with them out of fear, as authorities have targeted those with overseas ties for detention.

Anayat said those who had left weren’t able to contact their relatives because they had misdialed their phone numbers or joined Uighur independence groups. In certain cases, he said, it was because the relatives had been detained for suspected criminal activities.

Three attendees approached after the news conference declined to give business cards or contact information. An official hovering nearby said all follow-up questions had to be routed through the Foreign Ministry.

“Sorry,” said Gulnar Uful, an official with Xinjiang’s bureau of agricultural machinery, declining to give her phone number as she hurried out of the room. “It’s not convenient for me to give it to you.”

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained by the military, says ruling party spokesman

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained by the military, says ruling party spokesman

By Kocha Olarn, Helen Regan and Ben Westcott, CNN

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other top government figures have been detained “by the military,” a spokesman for the governing National League for Democracy told CNN on Monday.

“State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and some other senior figures are being detained in (the capital city of) Naypyidaw,” spokesman Myo Nyunt said.

The spokesman said that several ministers from large states in Myanmar had been detained by the military in addition to Suu Kyi. “The military seems to take control of the capital now,” spokesman Myo Nyunt said.

The move comes after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military, in the aftermath of an election the army says was fraudulent, Reuters reported.

The NLD claimed victory after an election in November 2020, the country’s second democratic ballot since the end of military rule in 2015.

In a January 29 statement, 16 international missions in Myanmar urged the country’s military “to adhere to democratic norms.

“We oppose any attempt to alter the outcome of the elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition,” said the statement, which was signed by missions from the US, the UK and the European Union.

“We support all those who work toward greater democratic freedoms, lasting peace, and inclusive prosperity for the people of Myanmar.”

Human rights non-government organization Burma Rights UK said in a post to their Twitter that the news of Suu Kyi’s detention was “devastating.”

“This needs to be met with the strongest international response. The military need to be made to understand that they have made a major miscalculation in thinking they can get away with this,” the group said.

Suu Kyi was a hero of democracy in her home country of Myanmar, for being both a former political prisoner who spent two decades under house arrest and the daughter of assassinated independence icon, Suu Kyi.

Since her party won a landslide victory in 2015, she has been Myanmar’s de facto leader and held the position of state counsellor — a title invented as a loophole to the constitution barring her from becoming president.

But her international reputation has been tarnished in recent years by allegations of genocide against the Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya population.

Myanmar denies the charges and has long claimed to have been targeting terrorists.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

Committee of MPs could rule if countries have committed genocide and should be blocked from trade deals with UK

Committee of MPs could rule if countries have committed genocide and should be blocked from trade deals with UK

Harry Yorke

·2-min read
 
 
China
China

A committee of MPs could be given new powers to investigate whether a country’s human rights breaches are so egregious that the UK should not strike free trade deals with it.

Ministers are said to be floating the proposal in a bid to head off a Tory backbench rebellion over China’s abuses against the Uighurs in Xinjiang province.

Senior Conservatives are currently pushing for an amendment to the Trade Bill which would hand British courts the power to determine whether a country the UK is negotiating a trade deal with is committing genocide.

If it found against the proposed trade partner, ministers would be forced to pull out of the negotiations.

However, the Government argues that the issue should be dealt with by Parliamentarians and is resisting the efforts, despite narrowly escaping a defeat in the Commons two weeks ago.

The latest proposal, according to the Guardian, would hand the Commons foreign affairs committee the ability to examine the human rights breaches of potential trade partners and to make recommendations to ministers.

If the Government refused to accept the recommendation, it would be put to Parliament for a vote.

The move is also likely to be interpreted as an attempt to drive a wedge between senior Tories Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who leads the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, and Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the committee and the China Research Group.

However, responding to the proposals, campaigners liaising with the Tory rebels said “no courts, no deal”, suggesting that it may fail to buy off the Government’s strongest opponents.

It is unclear whether it could be enough to avert a Government defeat.

Echoing their comments, Chris Bryant, a Labour MP on the committee, told the newspaper: “It’s an attempt to buy off a rebellion.

“The committee already has the power to produce a report or make recommendations, but even when the committee unanimously declared the treatment of the Yazidi as genocide, the government simply ignored it.

“The main point is that it should be a court, not a bunch of politicians that weigh the evidence and adjudicate on genocide. With China exercising an international veto, we need a domestic court to adjudicate. If we allow ourselves to be fobbed off with this, genocide will continue with impunity.”