International Policy Digest

World News /19 Nov 2020
11.19.20

End the Camps Now!

1.8 million Uyghur Muslims in prison camps and counting. Family members missing, tortured, and brainwashed. The United States needs to act. Not later, with an apology. The United States needs to act now.

The Chinese government is engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang, China. The world remains largely silent. The United States needs to join with the UK, France, and Kazakhstan in a broad coalition condemning the Chinese government’s actions and placing an embargo on Chinese phone system devices. We must force the Chinese government to close the camps.

Whether it be the Rwandan genocide, or the Holocaust, the world ignores grave crimes against humanity until it is too late. The United States, as a self-proclaimed champion of democracy and human rights, should be at the forefront of ending these crimes. Our current policy response on the Uyghur issue is largely non-existent. Therein lies the problem. We must hold China accountable.

In the interest of partnership, the U.S. overlooked practices in China contrary to our values. In the interest of cooperation, the U.S. overlooked China’s treatment of not just the Uyghur minority, but also Tibetan, Jewish, and Christian minorities. The Trump administration identified China’s vast array of violations, including the persecution of the Uyghur people – and rightly so. Cooperation with nations who share our value for human rights is the next step.

The United States must lead the international community in condemning the Chinese government and enforce an embargo on all outgoing phone system devices. This may seem like a drastic step, but with China’s growing influence, action cannot wait. The UK, France, and Kazakhstan share U.S. concerns about the camps. They can join us in a broad coalition that attempts to stop large amounts of international trade until the camps are shut down. We will be sure to get the Chinese government’s attention.

Terror is the guise the Chinese government uses to justify its treatment of the Uyghur people. There are little to no connections between the Uyghur people and terrorism at this moment. However, China’s repression can lead to the very radicalization that the government fears. Unlearning religious customs through forced sterilization, chanting, and imprisonment breeds long-term hatred. This in itself is another reason to find creative ways to intervene.

Supply chains will be impacted. The global economy will be challenged. Indeed, an embargo is a severe action to take with no proof that it will yield results. But this will be the mechanism for holding the Chinese government accountable. It will change the way the world sees China, demonstrate the power of a coalition dedicated to fighting for justice, restore U.S. leadership, and avoid war. Finally, it will set a new standard for tolerance.

1.8 million Uyghurs Muslims in prison camps and counting. Tolerance, silence, and ignorance are no longer options. The United States needs to condemn Chinese practices in Xinjiang and spearhead a broad coalition to impose an embargo on phone system pieces exported from China. We will lead the way to freedom. We will lead the world in a fight for the liberation of the Uyghur people.