A report released by the USHMM’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide on Tuesday details accounts of several former detainees of Xinjiang’s sprawling network of detention camps, where it is estimated that at least one million Uyghurs and others are being held.
The USHHM is “gravely concerned” that the government “may be committing genocide,” the report, titled “‘To Make Us Slowly Disappear’: The Chinese Government’s Assault on the Uyghurs,” says.
The 59-page report comes after the museum in March last year said that there was “reasonable basis” to believe that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “had perpetrated the crimes against humanity of persecution and of imprisonment” against the Turkic-speaking Uyghurs.
Accounts of “forced sterilization, sexual violence, enslavement, torture, and forcible transfer” are detailed in the museum’s latest report.
“The Chinese government has done its best to keep information about crimes against the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority, from seeing the light of day,” Tom Bernstein, USHMM Committee on Conscience chairman, said in a statement.
“The Chinese government must halt its attacks on the Uyghur people and allow independent international monitors to investigate and ensure that the crimes have stopped.”
Chinese authorities deny wrongdoing in the region, claiming the mass detentions among the Uyghur population are part of measures to crack down on terrorism, religious extremism, and separatism in the country. They have referred to “extremist threats” in order to justify strict surveillance and clampdown on Uyghurs and other ethnic minority groups in the Xinjiang region.
The U.S. government has already determined that China’s actions against Xinjiang’s Uyghur population, the majority of whom practice Islam, and other minorities, amount to genocide.
“The Chinese government’s assault on the Uyghur community—marked by the incarceration of between one and three million people as well as abuses such as forced sterilization, torture, sexual violence, and forced labor—is alarming in scale and severity,” said Naomi Kikoler, director of the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide.
“The damage inflicted upon Uyghur individuals, families, and their community has left deep physical and emotional scars. The trauma from these atrocities will harm generations of Uyghurs.”
Kikoler added that the report should serve as a wake-up call for the international community to boost pressure on Beijing to halt the repression in Xinjiang.
Despite the CCP’s claims of reeducation in Xinjiang, former Uyghur detainees have told The Epoch Times that they were subject to torture, forced to denounce their faith, and forced to pledge loyalty to the CCP while held for unknown reasons in often overcrowded facilities.
Uyghurs who have family members in the camps have also told The Epoch Times that Uyghurs in the region are being detained for reasons such as contacting friends or relatives abroad, traveling to a foreign country, growing beards, or attending religious gatherings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.