Communist China's violations of human rights in Xinjiang amount to crimes against humanity as defined by the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, the organisation stated.
Communist China’s government is committing crimes against humanity in the Xinjiang region. Human Rights Watch cited reports of the mass detention of Muslims, a crackdown on religious practices and other measures against minorities in the northwestern region. It said they amount to crimes against humanity as defined by the treaty that established the International Criminal Court.
Beijing is not a member of the court and could use its veto power as a permanent U.N. Security Council member to block action against Chinese officials, Human Rights Watch said in a report. However, the New York based group said the U.N. Human Rights Commission should create a body to investigate the charges, identify those responsible and provide a road map to hold them accountable.
At least 3 million people have been confined to internment camps in East Turkistan, Xinjiang, according to foreign governments and researchers. Authorities there are accused of imposing forced labor and birth controls.
The Chinese government rejects complaints of abuses and says the camps are for job training to support economic development and combat Islamic radicalism. The government is pressing foreign clothing and shoe brands to reverse decisions to stop using cotton from Xinjiang due to reports of possible forced labor there.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that Communist China was committing genocide in Xinjiang. The Biden administration has retained that designation.
The parliaments of Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada have all accused Beijing of genocide, though Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been reluctant to use the term.
A spokesman for the ruling Communist Party on Thursday rejected accusations Beijing has committed genocide or crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.
Human Rights Watch, which said it was assisted in the report by a Stanford University Law School human rights clinic, said it had not documented genocidal intent.
However, “if such evidence were to emerge, the acts being committed against Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang could also support a finding of genocide,” the report said.
China has denied U.S. officials unfettered access to the region to investigate.
The U.S. has imposed travel and financial sanctions on Chinese officials accused of abuses in Xinjiang. Washington has blocked imports from several companies and of cotton and tomato products from the region.
The Human Rights Watch report called on the European Commission to hold off on submitting a proposed EU-China investment treaty to the European Parliament for approval until the forced labor allegations are investigated, abuses addressed, victims compensated and progress made toward holding those responsible accountable.