Xi Jinping Ordered a Genocide. Will There Be Consequences?

December 8, 2021

A new trove of leaked Chinese government documents confirms what was only previously assumed: Chinese President Xi Jinping himself authorized the brutal crackdown taking place against the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang region. Dubbed the "Xinjiang Papers," the hundreds of pages lend additional evidence that the Chinese government is committing crimes against humanity and even genocide.

The leaked documents are in the process of being translated and released as part of a collection of evidence from the Uyghur Tribunal. As an independent people's tribunal tasked with investigating China's alleged genocide and crimes against, a group of lawyers, scholars, and human rights experts have reviewed the documents in addition to countless witness testimonies, government data, and research to reach an impartial judgment which will be released December 9, 2021.

Among the evidence submitted to the tribunal are the Xinjiang Papers. In November 2019, the New York Times published a report on these same leaked documents. Adrian Zenz, who was tasked with the responsibility to translating the documents for the Uyghur Tribunal, joined "Washington Watch" to explain what the New York Times report missed. He noted, "[T]here were some details that they withheld about the nature of Xi Jinping's speech." While the New York Times might be shy about targeting the world's most powerful authoritarian leader, Zenz isn't.

Zenz is a scholar who has been at the forefront of research documenting the Chinese government's abuses against the Uyghur Muslim population. He's gotten under the skin of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and Chinese state-funded media outlets have published multiple hit pieces on him to prove it.

The Chinese government has gone to great lengths to deny any wrongdoing in Xinjiang. But when it comes to authorizing the oppressive policies carried out in the region, Zenz says, "Many of the statements of Xi Jinping turned out to be absolutely instrumental."

So, why is the revelation that Xi Jinping and other top CCP leaders ordered the abuses in Xinjiang so significant?

Zenz explains, "[O]ne of the important questions of the genocide versus crimes against humanity is not just 'what is happening?' It's also 'what is the intent?' Is there an attempt to destroy an ethnic population in whole or in part? ... We have this information that very clearly shows that the leadership in Beijing is behind this, and it really speaks to the long-term intention to destroy the Uyghur group in part." Thus, the evidence provide by the Xinjiang Papers proves former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's determination that the Chinese government is committing an ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs to be correct.

Witnesses that testified before the Uyghur Tribunal said that abortions were performed on all pregnant women before they entered the internment camps, even late into pregnancy. Detainees described horrific treatment. One woman said that guards would "take girls into the investigation rooms where there's no camera, and 4-5 police officers rape one girl, one after another." The testimonies are difficult to listen to; each one makes the situation more difficult to ignore.

As accusations of genocide mount, they warrant a reaction from the rest of the world. Zenz notes, "Any government that's a signatory to the 1948 Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide [which includes the United States] is obligated not only to prosecute and punish genocide, but to act towards preventing it for doing so. Governments need to be proactive and need to look for risks of a genocide occurring."

This is a historically significant moment. The Chinese government has been caught committing a genocide, and Xi Jinping has implicated himself. It's the worst crime that can possibly be committed, and there must be consequences for doing so.