Last week, President Trump imposed Global Magnitsky Act sanctions against Politburo member Chen Quanguo, the party secretary for the Xinjiang region, who has presided over the anti-Uighur campaign.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced a business advisory for U.S. companies with supply-chain exposure to entities engaged in the CCP’s use of forced labor and other human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The president has also imposed export restrictions against 21 Chinese government entities and 16 Chinese companies complicit in China’s campaign of repression, population control, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs and other minorities.
The details of the CCP’s anti-Uighur campaign are heartbreaking, but they reflect the Marxist-Leninist disdain for individual human beings. Whenever Chinese people dare defy the party by asserting their individual humanity, they stop being useful to the state and become a problem to solve the only way the CCP knows how: suppression and coercion.
Signal events of communist rule in China — including the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square massacre and, more recently, the razing of Hong Kong’s democratic system — provide ample evidence of the CCP’s indifference toward human rights and the value of individual lives.
That indifference can be seen in the vast archipelago of camps where 1 million Uighurs are undergoing “reeducation,” “thought transformation” and forced labor.
For those Muslim Chinese not in camps, Xinjiang is a surveillance state. Millions of artificial-intelligence-powered cameras use facial- and gait-recognition technologies to monitor individuals, Internet activity is closely tracked and DNA samples are collected.
More than 1 million CCP cadres, most of them men, reportedly live in Uighur homes while the household’s adult males are in detention. Children as young as 2 years old are taken from their homes and raised in party-run orphanages. Mosques are under constant surveillance and are being either “Sinicized” — made subordinate to Chinese culture — or destroyed at the party’s direction. The CCP is even reinterpreting Islam’s sacred book, the Koran, to align with its worldview.
According to recent reports by the Associated Press and the Jamestown Foundation, the CCP is using forced birth control, sterilization, abortion and rape to change the demographics of Xinjiang. The party simply wants to radically reduce the Uighur population. Family-planning bureaucrats mandate “birth control measures with long-term effectiveness,” which translates into debilitating and irreversible surgical sterilization.
In 2016, the CCP replaced the country’s “one child” policy with incentives for the Han Chinese majority to have more children. But the one-child policy was reinforced for Uighur families — and because Uighurs believe that every child is a gift from God and should be cherished, the CCP regards Uighurs having more children as evidence of radicalization and religious extremism. “Violations” can be met with forced abortions, ruinous fines or imprisonment in camps called “training centers.”
In Kashgar and Hotan, two of the prefectures that make up the Uighur heartland, the natural population growth rate (birthrates minus death rates) fell by 84 percent between 2015 and 2018. In 2019, birthrates in Xinjiang’s ethnic-minority regions fell between 30 and 56 percent while birthrates across China fell by only 4.2 percent.
A staggering 80 percent of all newly placed intrauterine contraception devices in China in 2018 were fitted in Xinjiang, according to the Jamestown Foundation report, even though the region makes up only 1.8 percent of the country’s population.
For decades, the United States condemned the Chinese Communist Party’s coercive population-control policies — too often alone in its criticism, while other nations turned a blind eye as they sought commercial advantages in China. The United States continues to stand against these policies, especially as they are aimed at the Uighurs.
The Trump administration’s actions in recent days include blocking Chinese officials complicit in these abuses from traveling to the United States. The president also moved to stop the illegal import of goods produced by Chinese companies known to use Uighur forced labor. As long as these human rights violations continue, the Trump administration will respond.
If the past century has shown us anything, it is that dangerous ideologies backed by powerful states rarely confine their malign conduct within their own borders. The United States will thus continue to shine the light of truth on Xinjiang — for the Uighurs and for us all.