Chinese communist leader Xi Jinping and other top officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bore primary responsibility for the “genocide, crimes against humanity and torture against Uighurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minority citizens” in Xinjiang—declared the Uighur Tribunal on Thursday, according to Reuters.
In recent years, over a million people, mainly Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, have been arrested in a vast system of camps in China’s western Xinjiang region, according to the estimation of the tribunal, U.N. experts, and rights group.
“People’s movements are closely tracked. You have minders who have been assigned to live with Uyghurs to keep tabs on them. You have people going to the market who have to check in every time they go to a different market stall,” Daniel Nadel, a senior official in the State Department’s Office of International Freedom, said at a press briefing.
Beijing initially denied the camps’ existence but then said they are “vocational education and training centers” and are built to combat extremism. In late 2019, China declared all people in the camps had “graduated.”
The judgment by the Uighur Tribunal on Thursday is welcomed by the World Uighur Congress (WUC), which represents the interests of Uighurs in Xinjiang and around the world. Beijing, however, dismissed the WUC as “a separatist organization under the control and funding of anti-China forces in the United States and the West,” Reuters added.
In June 2020, the Munich-based WUC asked Nice to establish an independent tribunal to investigate the accusations.
“The Tribunal is satisfied that President Xi Jinping… and other very senior officials in the PRC and CCP bear primary responsibility for acts that have occurred in Xinjiang,” said the Uighur Tribunal.
The Uighur Tribunal, an unofficial tribunal of lawyers and campaigners headed by British lawyer Geoffrey Nice, has no powers of sanction or enforcement.
As Reuters formerly reported, the U.S. has called Xinjiang province an “open-air prison” controlled by the Chinese regime. The State Department released a report criticizing Beijing’s persecution of religious minorities and the Falun Gong spiritual group.