(TibetanReview.net, Dec11’21) – Following a series of hearings, an independent London-based international tribunal of lawyers and academics has ruled Dec 9 that China had committed genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s western Xinjiang region, accusing President Xi Jinping and other senior leaders of “primary responsibility” for acts perpetrated against Muslim minority groups.
“The tribunal is satisfied that the PRC has affected a deliberate, systematic and concerted policy with the object of so-called ‘optimizing’ the population in Xinjiang by the means of a long-term reduction of Uyghur and other ethnic minority populations to be achieved through limiting and reducing Uyghur births,” Geoffrey Nice, who chaired the tribunal, has said on Dec 9 as he read out the verdict.
He has added that the tribunal was “satisfied that President Xi Jinping, Chen Quanguo and other very senior officials in the PRC and CCP [Chinese Communist Party] bear primary responsibility for acts in Xinjiang.”
Explaining the top leadership’s role in the perpetration of this crime against humanity, Nice has said that while the “perpetration of individual criminal acts that may have occurred, rape or torture, may not have been carried out with the detailed knowledge of the President and others, but the tribunal is satisfied that they have occurred as a direct result of politics, language and speeches promoted by President Xi and others and furthermore these policies could not have happened in a country with such rigid hierarchies as the PRC without implicit and explicit authority from the very top.”
The judgment followed a series of tribunal hearings in London this year, beginning from Jun 4, during which a panel of jurors comprising of lawyers and academics among others reviewed evidence and testimony.
While the tribunal, a non-governmental body, has no powers of sanction or enforcement, it has vowed to “act wholly independently” and “confine itself to reviewing evidence in order to reach an impartial and considered judgment on whether international crimes are proved to have been committed” by China, according to its website.
The Uyghur Tribunal was founded in 2020 by Nice, a British barrister and international human rights lawyer, at the urging of Uyghur activists.
Nice was among several British individuals and entities sanctioned by the Chinese government in March this year in retaliation for British sanctions on Chinese officials over human rights violations in Xinjiang.
China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Zheng Zeguang, has called the Uyghur Tribunal a “political manipulation aimed at discrediting China.”
And Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, has called the tribunal a “pure anti-China farce.”
The US government has accused China of committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, as have lawmakers and rights groups in the UK and Canada.
And in March, the US along with the European Union, Canada and the UK announced sanctions on Chinese officials over human rights violations in Xinjiang. China responded almost immediately by imposing a raft of tit-for-tat sanctions, as well as travel and business bans.