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China finally faces accountability for repression and human rights abuses of Uyghurs

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Beijing: After years of non-accountability for repression and human rights abuses in Xinjiang, China is finally facing the heat for its actions as the West sanctions Chinese companies sourcing goods from Xinjiang to the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

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As per subject experts, China tried to control the narrative on Xinjiang by terming the Western reportage as “conspiracies” and through the official propaganda machinery for a long time.

On December 10, a London-based independent tribunal had also ruled that China had committed genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang province, reported International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS).

The non-governmental body was founded in 2020 by Geoffrey Nice, a British barrister, and international human rights lawyer, at the request of Uyghur activists.

China restricted foreigners’ and journalists’ access to the troubled Xinjiang province, the epicentre of these abuses. But now, new evidence from a Chinese source has buttressed the Western reportage of China, IFFRAS reported.

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On December 16, the Biden administration of the US imposed new sanctions on China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences and its 11 research institutes for actions in Xinjiang province.

US Officials noted that China has now set up a high-tech surveillance system across the region that uses biometric facial recognition and has collected DNA samples from all residents in Xinjiang.

The sanctions come in the wake of another move from the United States designed to send a strong signal to China. On December 14, in a rare bipartisan compromise, the US Senate unanimously passed a bill, “Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act,” which would ban all imports from Xinjiang unless the US government determines with “clear and convincing evidence” that they were not made with forced labour, as per the Think Tank.

The US actions come in the backdrop of a growing campaign to boycott Beijing Winter Olympics 2022. Five other countries, along with the United States, have already announced a diplomatic boycott of the games to protest against China’s human rights abuses. More countries are likely to join the campaign.

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