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Hard evidence of China’s genocide

Uncovered Chinese government documents expose atrocities against the Uyghurs

Chinese leader Xi Jinping Associated Press/Photo by Ng Han Guan (file)

Hard evidence of China’s genocide
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“The ethnic separatist forces have religious extremism as their ideological basis,” thunders Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a speech included in the newly released documents known as the “Xinjiang Police Files.” From Muslim Uyghurs to Christians and groups like Falun Gong, the documents demonstrate Xi’s “cleansing” of any who challenge his vision of a homogenous Communist China. Xi’s misleading claims about “religious extremism” are an attempt to justify a playbook taken straight from Hitler and Stalin. A careful look at these Chinese government documents should spur the United States and other democracies to take greater action on behalf of human dignity—and even human survival—in China.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation released this massive trove of documentary evidence from official Chinese files earlier this week. The files include photographs of detainees (including children), flamboyant speeches by senior Communist Party officials, police and military reports, and training documents. And they expose the precision of China’s genocidal policies toward Muslim Uyghurs.

Genocide can mean exterminating a people group or forcing those people to be absorbed into another culture. Genocide Watch has documented the steps Nazis, Communists, and others used to exterminate people groups: Classify the “other” (distinct appearance, customs), mark them with symbols (e.g., yellow stars), discriminate and dehumanize them (from rude characterizations to misinformation), create an organized government program for vilifying them, and polarize the public by scapegoating the “others” for society’s ills. While mobilizing the public, government authorities secretly prepare a campaign for persecution (denial of jobs and education, detention, and punishment) to exterminate the subculture. All the while, the government’s media outlets deny what is happening by couching the actions as national security safeguards.

The released documents reveal speeches by senior Chinese officials crowing about their success in dealing with China’s Uyghur “problem.” What is the Uyghur problem? Difference is the problem. The Uyghurs are described as ethnically Turkic (non-Chinese) with their own language, culture, history, and religion. More to the point, they are not sufficiently Chinese in the twisted mind of the Communist leadership. Anything that smacks of difference and alternative allegiances, especially allegiance to God, is a threat to Chinese Communists, and that includes the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhists, evangelicals, and democracy activists in Hong Kong. Like Hitler, Stalin, or the authorities in George Orwell’s 1984, Xi believes that diversity—religious, cultural, and intellectual—threatens his power and vision of a homogenous, hegemonic Han China.

It is chilling to read the speeches about so-called “successes,” such as government officials claiming to have destroyed 20,000 “terrorist gangs” in Xinjiang province in a single year (2017). Really? Twenty-thousand terrorist groups among a population the size of Florida? It is far more likely that this is a systematic campaign to demolish Uyghur social structures through what the files call “strike hard campaigns.”

A careful look at these Chinese government documents should spur the United States and other democracies to take greater action on behalf of human dignity—and even human survival—in China.

The uncovered speeches by senior officials demonstrate a crusade designed to break familial “lineages, roots, connections, and origins” of Uyghurs. The officials say that promoting “ethnic unity” (the idea that there is only one Chinese “family”) occurs via national language reeducation, using public “education for ideological transformation.”

These efforts are bolstered by a sophisticated surveillance and policing campaign: the “Integrated Joint Operations Platform.” This involves “world-class technology” for “social prevention and control.” In sum, the official speeches found in the files assert an ethnic cleansing strategy masked as a counterterrorism operation, including a “painful period of interventionary treatment” (read: concentration camps).

As the BBC reports, the United States, Britain, Australia, and other governments find little evidence of widespread Uyghur terrorism or violent separatist movements. However, calling their repression “counterterrorism” has allowed China to mask mass incarceration, forced labor, forced sterilization, mass rape, and the killing of Uyghur civilians and members of other religious groups.

What is to be done? First, we must recognize that attacks on the Uyghurs are tied to larger global trends. Chinese disregard for human rights is part of a more extensive set of attacks on the principles of a U.S.-led liberal world order that Washington, London, and others fought for during World War II, the Cold War, and the war on terror. The Uyghur situation is tied to China’s treatment of democracy activists in Hong Kong, political dissenters, and Christians. The effects of China’s hegemonic bullying are evidenced in the fact that almost no Muslim-majority country has called out China’s ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Uyghurs, nor have they stopped shipping oil to China.

So, once again, the United States must lead a new Cold War by not only calling out China’s atrocities but actively countering Chinese aggression on the sea, in cyberspace, in strategic communications, in technology (e.g., 5G), and in diplomacy. This is a war of ideas and a war on how international affairs will be conducted, and thus the United States must dispel China’s lies and expose Beijing’s crimes.

Eric Patterson

Eric Patterson is president of the Religious Freedom Institute in Washington, D.C., and past dean of the School of Government at Regent University. He is the author or editor of more than 20 books, including Just American Wars, Politics in a Religious World, and Ending Wars Well.

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