Two Uighur organizations filed a complaint against China in the International Criminal Court alleging crimes against humanity and repression of minorities.
The International Criminal Court complaint represents the first time members of the Muslim minority group have attempted to hold the Chinese government accountable for repressive policies, NBC News reported. Uighurs are a minority group of Muslim Turkic ethnicity numbering 11 million who mainly live in China’s Xinjiang region, according to BBC News.
“I didn’t see, but I could hear the unbearable screams coming from both sides of the corridor,” said Mamattursun Omer, a Uighur whose account of being detained in Xinjiang is one of many that NBC News reported are included in the International Criminal Court complaint.
“They should be punished for the crime they have done to us,” he told NBC. “It is my responsibility to give my testimony.”
The complaint specifically claims that China enforced birth control, carried out mass surveillance, and committed massacres on the Uighur population inside the Xinjiang region.
The Associated Press detailed China’s practices of forced birth control policies in Xinjiang in a July report that referred to the policies as “demographic genocide.”
Hundreds of internal Chinese government files, leaked in 2019 and published by The New York Times, purport to expose China’s mass incarceration policies in Xinjiang.
Hundreds of testimonies of Uighurs who have fled China were published in February by Amnesty International. Beyond abuses suffered in China, the testimonies alleged, China’s communist government pursues them after they flee.
In July, the U.S. State Department imposed sanctions on multiple Chinese Communist Party officials over the government’s treatment of Uighurs. It specifically condemned “forced labor, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith.”
“The United States is taking action today against the horrific and systematic abuses in Xinjiang and calls on all nations who share our concerns about the CCP’s attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms to join us in condemning this behavior,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said of the Chinese Communist Party in a formal statement.
China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Liu Xiaoming, repeatedly denied allegations of systematic Chinese Uighur repression in a July interview on BBC.
“There is no so-called restriction of the population. There is no so-called forced abortion and so on,” Xiaoming told BBC anchor Andrew Marr.
The Uighur population has doubled, Xiamoing said. However, Xinjiang government statistics show the population actually has plummeted, the AP reported.
Increased awareness of the Chinese government’s abuse of Uighurs has put a spotlight on American corporations that have not condemned the country’s policies.
Both the NBA and Disney have had significant business interests in China, but have yet to condemn the government for mistreatment of Uighurs.
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