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 minority group have attempted to hold the Chinese government accountable for alleged repression policies, according to NBC News. 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 included in the ICC complaint, according to NBC News.
“They should be punished for the crime they have done to us,” he told NBC News. “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, NBC News reported.
The Associated Press detailed China’s alleged 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 were leaked in 2019 and published by The New York Times, which purport to expose China’s Xinjiang mass incarceration policies.
Hundreds of testimonies of Uighurs who have fled China were published by Amnesty International in February. Beyond the alleged abuses they suffered in China, the testimonies alleged that the Chinese government pursues them after they flee.
The U.S. Department of State imposed sanctions on multiple Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials in July over the government’s alleged 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,” Sec. State Mike Pompeo said in a 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.
Xiamoing added that the Uighur population has doubled. However, Xinjiang government statistics show the population has actually plummeted, according to The AP.
Increased awareness of the Chinese government’s alleged abuse of Uighurs has put a spotlight on American corporations who 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 alleged mistreatment of Uighurs.
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