Historically, Chinese dynasties exerted control over parts of modern-day Xinjiang which had witnessed the Dzungar Genocide, the mass extermination of the Dzungar people by the Manchu Qing dynasty of China.
The Qing Manchu Qianlong Emperor ordered the extermination to punish the Dzungar leader Amursana’s rebellion against Qing rule after the dynasty first conquered the Dzungar Khanate with Amursana’s support before he rebelled in 1755.
The genocide was carried out mainly by Manchu Bannermen and Khalkhas, who were part of the Qing force sent to crush the Dzungars. Uyghurs from Turfan like Emin Khoja who were vassals and allies of the Qing, helped supply its forces during their war against the Dzungars.
Now it seems to be repeat of atrocities of Uyghur under current communist rule which is keeping world in dark and refusing to accept the human rights violation.
Keeping in view nonexistent rights of people and one party rule of Chinese Communist party led by Xi Jinping who is poised to get third term, China has completely ignored world opinion about violation of human rights in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) which stands exposed for the first time after the indictment of the United Nations.
United Nation’s long-awaited recognition of the Uyghur’s unimaginable sufferings, genocide and atrocities by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is a big blow to China in the international arena which could cast a shadow over Xi’s speech if he addresses the UN General Assembly this month.
The United Nations has termed China’s treatment of Uyghur as “deeply disturbing” and reiterated its concern regarding the minority community. The report by a panel of London based lawyers and human rights experts was released recently which accused the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of conducting genocides, rape and torture in the so-called ‘vocational education and training centers’ in Xinjiang.
Negative impact on China’s image
UN is a most authoritative voice on human rights in the world and its report pertains to the genocide of Uyghur, mostly Muslims, residing in the province what is officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
China has been accused of interning millions in concentration camps, forcibly mass sterilising Uyghur women, separating children from their families, and trying to erase the cultural traditions of the community which may account to genocide under the international convention which says that any “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” could constitute genocide.
According to Yun Sun, director of the China Program at the Washington-based think tank Stimson Center, the report, “at the minimum” is embarrassing for China on the international stage especially in view of Party Congress, an upcoming political event, where Xi is expected to assume his third term.
China produces counter report
China has responded ferociously with a 121-page counter-report which emphasised the need to deal with threat of “terrorism” posed by the extremists (Uyghur) in Xinjiang. It also argued that the state program of “de-radicalisation” and “vocational education and training centers” had brought stability to Xinjiang. Chinese authorities say “this so-called ‘assessment’ is a politicised document which ignores the facts, and fully exposes the intention of the US, Western countries and anti-China forces to use human rights as a political tool.”
China’s future strategy
Experts feel that China’s block of several nations will stand by Dragon in UN general assembly and human rights council but the current report of UN is by an international organisation, having credibility and legitimacy, hence it will not be easy to negate its impact as there may be very little to refute. Analysts like Adila Yar Muhammad , an Adelaide based activist from occupied East Turkistan and currently the Vice President of an Adelaide based Uyghur youth group named People of East Turkistan says; “At the end of the day, we are relieved and satisfied that a report like this has come to light and it does shine a light on China and it will help us in our fight for human rights but there’s always a sinking feeling that it’s not going to help.” The report is a negative blow to China’s reputation though it is in denial mode thereby terming it as biased and a conspiracy of the west.
Washington slams China
The United States has been on the forefront in raising the issue of Uyghur and slammed China for its continued violation of human rights against minority communities. White House has welcomed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report on Xinjiang.
US administration feels that the report deepens our grave concern regarding the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity that China is perpetrating. America’s position on the atrocities in Xinjiang has been clearly demonstrated with strong words and actions.
The US administration has taken concrete measures and the President, Joe Biden has rallied the allies and partners, including the G7, to ensure all global supply chains are free from the use of forced labor including from Xinjiang.
What did UN report reveal?
In a starting UN report, it has been exposed that “Hundreds of thousands of Uyghur– with some estimates well over a million - have been detained by PRC authorities without any, or any remotely sufficient reason, and subjected to acts of unconscionable cruelty, depravity and inhumanity.
Sometimes up to 50 prisoners have been detained in a cell of 22 square meters so that all couldn’t lie on concrete (or similar) floors, with buckets for toilets to be used given all in the cell, observed at every moment by CCT. In addendum, report said that many of those detained were “tortured for no reason”.
The torture methods included “pulling off fingernails; beating with sticks; detaining in ‘tiger chairs’ where feet and hands were locked in position for hours or days without break; confined in containers up to the neck in cold water and detained in cages so small that standing or lying was impossible. The instances of rape, deliberate starvation, solitary confinement and sleep deprivation have been also cited.
Women detainees have had their vaginas and rectums penetrated by electric shock rods and iron bars. Women were raped by men paying to be allowed into the detention center for the purpose, report stated. Human rights lawyer, Rayhan Asat, whose brother has been jailed since 2016 and a Uyghur entrepreneur residing in the United States says that “No government is above scrutiny and immune from accountability. Despite China’s efforts to destroy or defang it, this report from the UN body is an honest indictment of China’s crimes against humanity.”
Similarly, Michelle Bachelet, a former Chilean president and the outgoing human rights commissioner of the United Nations, accused China of committing “serious human rights violations” against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang which may even be tantamount to crimes against humanity.
In the final analysis, the analysts opine that it may turn out to be a game changer for Uyghur Human rights groups as it is bound to create an international response to Uyghur crisis after the official recognition by the United Nations.
K.S. TOMAR is a national columnist and political analyst
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK