System Genocide in East Turkistan
The Uyghur genocide is the characterization of the series of ongoing human rights
abuses committed by the government of China against Uyghurs and other ethnic
and religious minorities in Xinjiang as genocide.
Government policies have included the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs in statesponsored internment camps forced labour suppression of Uyghur religious
practices political indoctrination severe ill-treatment forced sterilization forced
contraception and forced abortion.
Chinese government statistics reported that from 2015 to 2018, birth rates in the
mostly Uyghur regions of Hotan and Kashgar fell by more than 60%.
In the same period, the birth rate of the whole country decreased by 9.69%.
Chinese authorities acknowledged that birth rates dropped by almost a third in
2018 in Xinjiang, but denied reports of forced sterilization and genocide.
Birth rates in Xinjiang fell a further 24% in 2019, compared to a nationwide
decrease of 4.2%.
Since 2014, the Chinese government, under the administration of Chinese
Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping, has pursued policies that
incarcerated more than an estimated one million Muslims (the majority of them
Uyghurs) in internment camps without any legal process.
This is the largest-scale detention of ethnic and religious minorities since World
War II. Thousands of mosques have been destroyed or damaged, and hundreds of
thousands of children have been forcibly separated from their parents and sent to
At first, these actions were described as the forced assimilation of Xinjiang, and
an ethnocide or cultural genocide. As more details emerged, some governments,
activists, NGOs, human rights experts, and academics termed it genocide,
pointing to intentional acts committed by the Chinese government that they say
run afoul of Article II of the Genocide Convention. The Chinese government
publicly denies that it has committed human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
International reactions have varied. Some United Nations (UN) member states
issued statements to the United Nations Human Rights Council condemning
China’s policies, while others supported China’s policies. In December 2020, the
International Criminal Court declined to investigate China on jurisdictional
The United States was the first country to declare the human rights abuses a
genocide, announcing its finding on January 19, 2021.
Legislatures in several countries have passed non-binding motions describing
China’s actions as genocide, including the House of Commons of Canada, the
Dutch parliament, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom the Seimas of
Lithuania and the French National Assembly.
Other parliaments, such as those in New Zealand, Belgium and the Czech
Republic condemned the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghurs as “severe
human rights abuses” or crimes against humanity.