UN report on China’s Uyghurs and Xinjiang abuses hidden from Chinese


Chinese Communist Party (CCP) censors are working overtime.

And the Great Firewall is at full strength to separate its Internet services from the rest of the world.

As a result, Chinese citizens have seen virtually no mention of a damning new United Nations report on systematic human rights violations.

The report states that “allegations of patterns of torture or ill-treatment, including forced medical treatment and adverse conditions of detention, are credible, as are allegations of individual incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.”

Social media sites like WeChat and Weibo are being closely watched for any reference to the 46-page document addressing “serious human rights abuses” in the western province of Xinjiang and occupied Tibet.

All links to the original document are removed.

But Beijing does not hide its anger from the rest of the world.

He expressed his fury in an official response – saying the UN is “wantonly defaming and slandering China and interfering in China’s internal affairs”.

He quickly published his own 122-page document detailing the “extremist” threat to the Uyghur people and the “counter-terrorism” operations against them.

And his “Wolf Warrior” diplomats and commentators frantically tried to belittle and discredit every aspect of the report.

Internally, however, that’s another matter.

On Wednesday, US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns tweeted that even his attempts to share the UN document with Chinese citizens had been blocked.

“This deepens and reaffirms our grave concern about the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity that the PRC government authorities are committing against Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and members of other minority ethnic and religious groups in Xinjiang. “Blinken said.

Xi Thought Police

“Perhaps the most telling fact to note today, 48 hours after the release of the Xinjiang report, is that there has been almost no reporting from China,” said David Bandurski, director of the China Media Project.

Originally founded by the University of Hong Kong, the project fled the CCP’s occupation of the former British colony to continue its operations independently.

“If the Chinese leadership’s external message has been all about spades, its internal message has been to create a vacuum,” he wrote.

The UN report itself finds the spin inherent in the Beijing operations.

He states that the Chinese Communist Party “confuses what might otherwise be interpreted as matters of personal choice in matters of religious practice with ‘extremism’, and ‘extremism’ with the phenomenon of terrorism’”.

This is then used to greatly expand “the range of behaviors that can be targeted under a counter-terrorism objective or pretext”.

Evidence of this conduct is detailed in the report.

“It describes as ‘credible’ allegations of torture, including rape and sexual violence, discrimination, mass detention, forced labor and widespread surveillance,” said Justine Nolan, a law professor at the University of New -South Wales. “It is no longer possible for anyone – including the many companies that continue to source products from Xinjiang – to claim plausible deniability.”

The report comes at an inopportune time for President Xi.

He is preparing for his coronation as “great leader for life” at the National Congress on October 16.

The event only takes place once every five years. His automatic approval is needed to give up the Communist Party’s constitutional term limits, which would typically send President Xi into retirement.

“Silence tells its own story,” Bandurski says, “Xinjiang is such a sensitive issue for Chinese leaders that the only voices allowed to speak are megaphones aimed at outside audiences.”

The power of the pen

The United Nations remains reluctant to label Chinese behavior as genocide.

The word – if not the deed – has powerful legal ramifications.

Instead, it concluded that “the arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim groups…may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”

It’s just a word.

But every element of its dictionary definition can be found in the report.

It’s just that China’s international reputation may depend on its use.

“There is a growing scientific consensus that genocide is the right word in this case,” says China studies expert Jo Smith Finley from Britain’s Newcastle University. “The UN report, while not framing these crimes within the context of the UN convention, finds credible evidence of acts that meet the criteria.”

Beijing had thought that was clear.

Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet released the document minutes before her retirement took effect. But she had returned from a recent tour of Xinjiang without addressing the numerous allegations of ethnic suppression.

But even now, controversy surrounds his work.

US media suggest the section on the forced sterilization of Uyghur women has been “watered down” to avoid a genocide conclusion.

For its part, Beijing calls the policy “population optimization.”

Now angry Chinese Foreign Minister Zhao Lijian has declared the report to be “illegal, null and void” and “a patchwork of politically motivated disinformation by the United States and certain Western forces”.

But Beijing may have received a “get out of jail free” card.

“The UN report calls on the Chinese government to release those arbitrarily detained and to investigate allegations of human rights violations. It’s like asking a fox to guard the chicken coop,” says Professor Nolan. “What is needed is international action and pressure to force change.”

Jamie Seidel is a freelance writer | @JamieSeidel

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