Tribunal Determines 'Beyond Doubt' China Committed Genocide Against Uyghurs

The Uyghur Tribunal found China guilty of genocide against the Uyghur people, as leaked Chinese government documents and witnesses proved the abuses against the group and humanity on Thursday.

Leaked Chinese government documents presented by Adrian Zenz, an academic who specialized in the subject, showed a direct link between President Xi Jinping and the estimated 1 million people confined in reeducation camps and forced labor systems in Xinjiang in recent years.

The documents also exposed China as putting many, mostly Uyghur people, into forced sterilization and birth control systems to control and limit the people's population, as well as numerous rape and torture cases in the detention centers.

The Uyghur Tribunal concluded the hearing and determined it was "beyond doubt" that China committed genocide and crimes against humanity after seeing the leaked documents and hearing from multiple witnesses.

The United States government along with Canada, Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands have also declared China's actions against Uyghurs as genocide and crimes against humanity.

The Uyghur Tribunal is an independent body of businesspeople, lawyers and academics, unofficially put together by a British barrister. The hearings from the tribunal were the latest attempts by the Uyghur, Muslim and Turkey minorities to prove the abuse done against them by China.

The Uyghur Tribunal is not backed by a government or sanction, but organizers hope that the voice brought to the issues, and the publicity of the evidence against China will compel those who have the ability to help the Uyghurs and punish China to do so.

Uygher Tribunal
The Uyghur Tribunal found China guilty of genocide against the Uyghur people, as leaked Chinese government documents and witnesses proved the abuses against the group and humanity on Thursday. Tribunal chair Geoffrey Nice, center, delivers the verdict of the independent tribunal assessing evidence on China’s alleged rights abuses against the Uyghur people, in London, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021. Alberto Pezzali/Associated Press

The Chinese Embassy in London didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Thursday that "the so-called forced labor and genocide in Xinjiang are entirely vicious rumors."

Wang was responding to a question about a law passed Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives to ban imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns.

"On the basis of evidence heard in public, the tribunal is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the People's Republic of China, by the imposition of measures to prevent births intended to destroy a significant part of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang as such, has committed genocide," said Nice, a senior lawyer who previously led the prosecution of ex-Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and has worked with the International Criminal Court.

He said Xi and other senior officials "bear primary responsibility" for what has occurred in Xinjiang.

"This vast apparatus of state repression could not exist if a plan was not authorized at the highest levels," Nice said.

About 30 witnesses and experts gave evidence to a series of public hearings in central London earlier this year, alleging torture, rape and beatings by authorities while in state detention centers. The hearings also reviewed evidence detailing other policies including the separation of young children from their families and the destruction of mosques.

British lawmakers urged the government to impose sanctions targeting responsible individuals and businesses as well as examine the country's supply chains to make sure it is not complicit.

"It's really imperative to call upon our government to act now," said Helena Kennedy, a member of Britain's House of Lords. "The evidence is absolutely clear for anyone to see."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.