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The United Nations Is Scared of Calling Out China’s Genocide

Azeem Ibrahim

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A long-delayed report on Xinjiang was an important step forward, but it has critical omissions.

In the final minutes of Michelle Bachelet’s term as the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, late at night, her office issued a report on the horrors of Xinjiang in China. The report was much delayed and vigorously opposed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It was a slight surprise that the report came out at all. The United Nations had long delayed acting on the numerous reports of atrocities in Xinjiang, and Bachelet’s press conference after her visit had been much criticized for taking the Chinese viewpoint.

Its conclusions should not surprise readers who have been following the events in the territory since 2017. It collates a series of testimonials from former detainees in Xinjiang concentration camps, which predominately imprison those of the Muslim Uyghur minority. Its findings include confirmation that those imprisoned were tortured by being beaten, that women suffered “violations of reproductive rights through the coercive enforcement of family planning policies” (including sterilizations), and that camp inmates were used for forced labor—effectively enslaved—by state-run work programs.

This has been reported upon, and known, for many years. The report pointedly did not use this terminology, but Beijing’s actions have been recognized as a genocide by the legislatures of numerous countries, including the BritishFrench, European, and Canadian parliaments.

Read the rest in Foreign Policy.