Uyghur Tribunal accuses China of genocide
Reading the tribunal’s judgement, Sir Geoffrey said there was “no evidence of mass killings” in Xinjiang, but he said that the alleged efforts to prevent births amounted to genocidal intent
BEIJING: China has committed genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang, an unofficial UK-based tribunal has found.
The Uyghur Tribunal cited birth control and sterilisation measures allegedly carried out by the state against the Uyghurs as the primary reason for reaching its conclusion on Thursday.
Sir Geoffrey Nice, a prominent British barrister who chaired the tribunal hearings, said its panel was satisfied China had carried out “a deliberate, systematic and concerted policy” to bring about “long-term reduction of Uyghur and other ethnic minority populations”. He added that the panel believed senior officials including the Chinese president Xi Jinping bore “primary responsibility” for the abuses against Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.
The tribunal’s panel was made up of lawyers and academics. Its findings have no legal force and are not binding on ministers, but its organisers said at the outset they intended to add to the body of evidence around the allegations against China and reach an independent conclusion on the question of genocide.
The Chinese government denies all accusations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Responding to the tribunal’s ruling on Thursday, a spokesman told the BBC the body was a “pseudo tribunal” and a “political tool used by a few anti-China elements to deceive and mislead the public”.
Reading the tribunal’s judgement, Sir Geoffrey said there was “no evidence of mass killings” in Xinjiang, but he said that the alleged efforts to prevent births amounted to genocidal intent. The panel also said it had found evidence of crimes against humanity, torture, and sexual violence against the Uyghur people.
Speaking to the BBC after the judgment, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative Party leader and co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, said it was time for the UK government to accuse China of genocide.
“The British government said the evidence needed to be assessed by a competent court, well it doesn’t get more competent than this,” he said.
“The government now needs to stop messing around. The genocide taking place in Xinjiang has got to dominate our relationship with China.”
Conservative MP Nus Ghani called the conclusion of the tribunal “groundbreaking”.
“This tribunal was set up to the highest legal standards and the evidence that that was put forward today shows that there is enough proof beyond reasonable doubt that there was an intent to commit genocide,” she told the BBC.
“What is particularly troubling is the evidence that this genocide is in particular targeted at women, and focused on preventing births.”
The Chinese state has been accused of crimes against humanity and genocide in Xinjiang, a large region in the country’s north-west which is home to the Uyghurs and other minority Muslim groups.