Canada better fits the definition of a state committing genocide than Xinjiang region, China says

Cultural genocide with respect to Indigenous peoples, but acknowledge, recognition and efforts to address past and present injustice. None of which is happening in China. And legitimate to call for boycott of 2020 Winter Olympics in China:

The Chinese government says Canada better fits the definition of a state committing genocide than the Xinjiang region, pointing to population growth rates – some inaccurate – that it says demonstrate it has not mistreated its Uyghur population.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also scoffed at the “ignorance” of Bob Rae, the Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, who on Sunday said “there’s no question that there’s aspects of what the Chinese are doing” in Xinjiang that “fits into the definition of genocide in the Genocide Convention.”

Mr. Rae’s comments mark the latest escalation from the Canadian government in its condemnation of Chinese policies in Xinjiang, where women have been sterilized, large numbers of people have been forced into political indoctrination camps and mosques have been demolished. Mr. Rae made the comments to the CBC, saying he has called for the United Nations Human Rights Council to mount a genocide investigation in Xinjiang.

On Monday, Mr. Zhao mocked Mr. Rae for his “ridiculous” remarks, pointing to demographic statistics as evidence. In Xinjiang the Uyghur population has increased by 25 per cent between 2010 and 2018, he said, a rate he called “18 times the rate of Canada.” That would suggest that “it is the Canadian people, rather than the Uyghurs, who are being persecuted,” he said, adding: “The ambassador should have done his homework beforehand to avoid making a fool of himself.”

Mr. Zhao, however, cited inaccurate figures. Canada’s population grew by more than 10 per cent between 2010 and 2018, according to Statistics Canada.

And Mr. Zhao did nothing to refute the dramatic changes in Hotan and Kashgar, Uyghur-dominated areas of Xinjiang where birth rates fell more than 60 per cent between 2015 and 2018, the Associated Press has reported. The Xinjiang Health Commission has in public documents called for population growth rates in some areas with large Uyghur communities to be brought considerably below 2016 levels, according to research by Adrian Zenz, a U.S.-based scholar and senior fellow in China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

“In Guma [Pishan] County, the 2019 family planning budget plan specifically called for 8,064 female sterilizations,” Mr. Zenz wrote in a report this summer.

The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as acts that include “imposing measures intended to prevent births within [a] group,” as well as “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of [a] group.”

Some ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang who went through centres for political indoctrination and skills training have described conditions so oppressive they attempted to kill themselves.

But few have been willing to accuse China of genocide. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said China’s actions in Xinjiang “remind us of what happened in the 1930s in Germany,” while a resolution in the U.S. Senate has said China’s campaign “against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and members of other Muslim minority groups … constitutes genocide.”

Chinese authorities have said they have protected human rights in Xinjiang by creating stability and helping to grow the economy. The Chinese government has defended its use of forcible political indoctrination as a necessary redress for radical thought. More recently, it has said that “students” in indoctrination centres have all “graduated.”

The Chinese government has said publicly that it has invited a European Union delegation to see the “real situation” in Xinjiang. That visit has not taken place because the two sides have yet to agree on terms.

Other governments, including in Australia, have declined to use the term “genocide,” saying such a determination is for courts to make.

Scholars, however, argue that the key question is not evidence but national will.

“There is a plethora of evidence in this case, but I think the larger problem will be the political capacity of international institutions to challenge a state as powerful” as China, said Sean Roberts, an international affairs specialist at George Washington University who is the author of The War on the Uyghurs: China’s Internal Campaign against a Muslim Minority.

For Ottawa to lend its voice is important, he said. But it “will take a broad coalition of different states to change Beijing’s behaviour. If this is followed by others, it will indeed be significant, especially if those other states extend beyond the US, EU, and the British commonwealth.”

National leaders should also consider steps outside a genocide case, said Timothy Grose, a scholar who specializes in Xinjiang and Chinese ethnic policy at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

That could include “a broad boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics,” he said.

“”It is now up to world leaders and global corporations to persuade China to halt its state-violence against Uyghurs,” he said.

“A boycott would devastate revenue for the host city Beijing and the negative journalistic attention a boycott would attract – that would occur on a global scale – would almost certainly force leaders’ hands.”

Source: Canada better fits the definition of a state committing genocide than Xinjiang region, China says

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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