Canada and other rights-respecting democracies need to step up, take concrete action to combat these crimes, and ensure that the words ‘never again’ mean something. This starts with calling it what it is: a genocide, writes Sarah Teich in the Toronto Sun.
By Sarah Teich, February 19, 2021
On Tuesday, when asked, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to recognize that the acts being committed by the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang constitute a genocide.
He articulated that the term must only be imposed based on “facts and evidence,” and it must be “properly justified and demonstrated.”
Trudeau is correct in theory, but wrong in this case.
It is true that we cannot throw around the “genocide” label carelessly, and that doing so could weaken and undermine true instances of genocide, both future and past.
However, there is ample evidence that a genocide is taking place in Xinjiang. As the Subcommittee on International Human Rights found last year, there is pervasive state surveillance in Xinjiang.
Cellphone activity is monitored, and various technologies are being used to track every movement, including through the use of CCTV, AI, facial recognition and biometric data. Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims are rounded up and arbitrarily detained in what are euphemistically called “re-education camps.”
While estimates vary, nearly 2 million Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims are detained in these camps – making this the largest mass detention of a minority community since the Holocaust.
Detainees are used for forced labour, and according to a recent study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), the supply chains of massive multinational corporations are implicated, including Nike, Adidas and Apple.
As documented in a report by Adrian Zenz, women are forcibly sterilized and subject to forced birth control. And it has been documented that detainees are subject to unimaginable abuses in the camps, including systematic torture and rape.