Evidence of forced sterilization and slavery in China’s Xinjiang region has sparked long-needed action from international authorities

New reports keep coming out from Xinjiang showcasing and documenting the extent of the abuse that Uyghurs are being subjected to by Chinese authorities. As many as 1 million Uyghurs are being held in mass internment camps, or concentration camps, where few are released.

Recent work by journalists at Buzzfeed, maps several of these camps that have sprung up with great speed across the Xinjiang region. In contrast to the early camps, the new ones are more heavily securitized, larger, and built to last, strongly suggesting that China is upscaling its crackdown on Uyghurs even further.

In these camps, Uyghurs are being forcibly assimilated, stripping them of ethnic and cultural traits. Reports by ASPI (Australian Strategic Policy Institute) documents that Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are also mass transferred to factories across the country, where they work under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour. These factories are identified as being in the supply chains of over 80 well-known global brands (https://www.aspi.org.au/report/uyghurs-sale). Following these reports, the US will enforce a trade block of products made by forced labour in the Xinjiang region.

Adding to this, recent reports give strong proof that the atrocity carried out by China in Xinjiang fulfills a UN Genocide Convention criterion:Evidence shows that Uyghurs have undergone birth prevention and mass female sterilization, causing the birth rates in the regions of Hotan and Kashgar (where the majority are Uyghurs) to go down by 60% from 2015 to 2018. Almost at the same time as these reports were published, other reports documented that the US customs had seized 13 tons of products made by human hair perceived to originate from Uyghurs kept in Chinese concentration camps.

The Rafto Foundation for Human Rights condemns China’s systemic crackdownon the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China, and calls on Norwegian authorities to speak up and follow the US and EU who have recently shown signs of calling out China on the mass atrocities they are carrying out.