During his final full day as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo called out China for its treatment of Muslims and ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region, officially declaring that the Communist country has committed “crimes against humanity” and a “genocide.”
“After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that since at least March 2017, the People’s Republic of China, under the direction and control of the Chinese Communist Party, has committed crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said in a statement.
He continued, “In addition, after careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that the PRC, under the direction and control of the CCP, has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang. I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state.”
Pompeo cited forced labor, forced sterilization, torture and restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression and freedom of movement, in addition to the “arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians.
In his statement, the secretary of state said the United States called on the People’s Republic of China to immediately release all detainees and abolish the existing systems of internment, detention camps, house arrest and force labor. Pompeo also said that China should stop coercive population control processes, torture and abuse.
“End the persecution of Uyghurs and other members of religious and ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China, and afford Uyghurs and other persecuted minorities the freedom to travel and emigrate,” Pompeo’s statement read.
The Associated Press reported that more than 1 million people have been imprisoned by China in a network of concentration camps, including Uighurs and other primarily Muslim ethnic groups. The detainees have undergone forced sterilization and political indoctrination, as well as forced labor, in an attempt to assimilate those from a region who stand apart culturally and ethnically from the Han Chinese majority.
China has denied the accusations, asserting that the programs in Xinjiang are meant to encourage economic and social development, in addition to suppressing radicalism.
However, Pompeo said attempts by the Chinese government to justify the atrocities being committed against minority Muslims are Xi Jinping’s efforts to hide the truth “through obfuscation, propaganda, and coercion.”
“Beijing’s atrocities in Xinjiang represent an extreme affront to the Uyghurs, the people of China, and civilized people everywhere. We will not remain silent. If the Chinese Communist Party is allowed to commit genocide and crimes against humanity against its own people, imagine what it will be emboldened to do to the free world, in the not-so-distant future,” the statement said.
Early Tuesday, Secretary Pompeo posted an image on his Twitter account that simply stated, “The Chinese Communist Party is not our friend.”