A tribunal has found that China is guilty of genocide against the Uyghur people and other minorities in Xinjiang.
The tribunal also found China guilty of crimes against humanity, including forced sterilisation, sexual violence, enslavement, torture, and forcible transfer, all beyond reasonable doubt.
It comes after China said the UK, Australia, Canada, and the US would “pay the price” for boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics because of their concerns over human rights abuses.
Sir Geoffrey Nice QC stressed that despite the finding of genocide, “there is no evidence of mass killings”.
“Indeed, it is clear that detainees are allowed back into society,” he added.
He said China’s policies of birth control in Xinjiang, with Uyghurs allegedly subject to forced sterilisations and abortions, amounted to an effort to destroy “in whole or in part” an ethnic or cultural group, and so would meet the legal definition of genocide if that “part” is sufficiently large.
China has previously strongly denied any allegation of genocide, calling it the “lie of the century” and describing the Uyghur Tribunal – based in the UK – as a “political farce.”
Who are the Uyghurs and why do they face oppression by China?
Uyghurs tortured and beaten to death in Xinjiang, says ex-police officer
Beijing Winter Games hit with boycotts
The US government had already determined that China is guilty of conducting genocide in Xinjiang.
It referenced that as one reason for its diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics, to be held in Beijing in February.
The US was joined by Australia, Canada, and the UK in the boycott.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK would “effectively” be conducting a diplomatic boycott, as no ministers would travel to Beijing.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “We have been very clear over the past many years of our deep concerns around human rights violations.”
France, the host of the 2024 Summer Olympics, has said it will not diplomatically boycott the Beijing games.
What has China said about the sanctions?
At a daily press conference, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said: “The United States, Britain and Australia have used the Olympics platform for political manipulation.
“They will have to pay the price for their mistaken acts.”
China also said it opposed legislation just approved by the US House of Representatives that bans any imports from Xinjiang produced using forced labour.
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