Canada condemns China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities. Read details

Representational Image (Photo Credits: Radio Free Europe)

In another embarrassment for China, a sub-committee of Canada’s House of Commons condemned the atrocities of the Chinese regime against the Uyghurs and other ethnic Turkic Muslims in the Xinjiang province.

As per a news release published on Wednesday, the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development heard testimonies of academics, civil society and victims of Chinese atrocities for 12-long hours and over 2 days. Based on the testimonies, the sub-committee pointed out the various strategies, such as forced labour, mass detention, population control, state surveillance etc, employed by the Chinese regime to persecute and ‘eradicate’ the culture of Uyghur Muslims.

The sub-committee labelled the Chinese atrocities as equivalent to ‘genocide’, as stated under Article II of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention). It stated, “If the international community does not condemn the human rights abuses in Xinjiang province by the Government of China, a precedent will be set, and these methods will be adopted by other regimes.” The sub-committee of Canada’s House of Commons made it clear that it was condemning the actions of the Chinese government and not the Chinese people.

Detention of Uyghurs is largest since the Holocaust, claims report

The sub-committee stated that China has detained over 2 million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in ‘concentration camps’, making it the largest mass detention of minorities since the Holocaust. The situation is grim as the detainees have no access to legal aid, often resulting in an indefinite period of detention and complete isolation from the outside world. “Witnesses stated that punishment for breaking rules can be swift and violent and that women and girls are regularly subjected to sexual abuse and other forms of gender-based violence,” it stated.

Chinese regime hellbent on erasing Uyghur culture, language and traditions

The sub-committee reiterated that Uyghurs, who are detained by the Chinese government, are restricted from practising their religion or speaking their mother tongue. In a bid to erase their cultural identity, which China calls as ‘cultural assimilation’, the Uyghurs are coerced into speaking Mandarin Chinese. Reportedly, they are also forced to praise the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. While speaking on the despicable treatment of Uyghurs, a concentration camp survivor alleged that DNA samples are collected illegally for organ harvesting and eventual trafficking.

Uyghurs are coerced into forced labour

The sub-committee has urged the Canadian government to work with its allies internationally to condemn China’s actions and specifically create a ‘special envoy’ to ensure the safe return of one Canadian citizen of Uyghur origin, Huseyin Celil. As per reports, he has been illegally detained by the Chinese regime since 2006. The sub-committee further added that Uyghur Muslim detainees are coerced into working for the supply chains of large corporations and producing products for Canada and other western nations. It has urged the Canadian government to investigate ‘problematic sources’ of such consumer goods, prevent forced labour and review its procurement practices.

China has turned Xinjiang into a police state

As per the testimonies heard by the sub-committee, the Xinjiang province has been turned into a police State. “Witnesses explained that mobile phone activity is intensely monitored and security technologies, such as closed-circuit televisions, artificial intelligence, facial recognition and biometric data, are deployed to track every movement and communication,” the report emphasised. And such a mass surveillance is facilitated through technologies that are developed in China. The sub-committee has called upon the Canadian government to review their investment practices in such tech companies so as to not indirectly facilitate persecution of Uyghurs.

Uyghur population growth declined by 84%, claims report

Since China brutally cracks down against independent Uyghur activists, the subcommittee urged the Canadian government to expedite existing programs and provide permanent refuge to the human rights defenders. It also noted that China is deliberately reducing the birth rate of the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang province through the imposition of Intrauterine Devices (IUDs), forced sterilisation, abortion and coerced administration of injections that result in loss of menstrual period. As a result, population growth in the region fell by over 84%.

China views Uyghurs as a threat to its economic prosperity

China views Uyghur and other ethnic Turkic minorities as a threat since many demand autonomy or independence from the repressive State. It is pertinent to point out that the province of Xinjiang is rich with important oil deposits and part of China’s One Belt-One Road initiative. As such, the Chinese government views Uyghurs as a threat to the country’s ‘economic development’. The report reiterated, “Considering this evidence, the Subcommittee notes that the Government of Canada is not only responsible for punishing the crime of genocide, but for preventing one from occurring as well.”

China admits to the persecution of Uyghurs

Earllier, in a whitepaper published by the State Council Information Office, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has insinuated that the Uyghur Muslims are responsible for what China is doing to them. In a startling claim, China has revealed that it has placed over 1.29 million people in re-education camps between 2014 and 2019 in the Uyghur-dominated province of Xinjiang.

The whitepaper claimed that Uyghur Muslims were ‘terrorists’ who believed in the ‘afterlife’ and rejected modern science owing to religious dogmatism. Reiterating that such outdated ideas led to poor educational opportunities and employability, they needed to undergo ‘vocational training’ for being able to be a part of the mainstream. “Every year from 2014 to 2019 Xinjiang provided training sessions to an average of 1.29 million urban and rural workers, of which 451,400 were in southern Xinjiang,” the report emphasised.

OpIndia Staff: Staff reporter at OpIndia