China's dismissal of Uyghur Tribunal's genocide ruling flies in face of vast weight of evidence – Scotsman comment

Today the Scotsman publishes a letter from China’s consul general. He takes issue with a recent Scotsman article about a tribunal’s ruling that the Beijing government is guilty of genocide over its repression of the Uyghur ethnic minority.

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets Queen Elizabeth at a state banquet in Buckingham Palace in 2015 (Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

The article, written by Sheffield University academic David Tobin and first published by The Conversation website, described harrowing testimony given to the Uyghur Tribunal. The author explained this was an “independent people’s tribunal” whose verdict was “not legally binding”.

It heard “extensive witness accounts” of sexual torture of men and women, children and families being “routinely separated”, and women being “subjected to coercive birth controls”, with more than a million Turkic-speaking Muslims held in “re-education” camps, Tobin wrote.

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The tribunal found China’s government was guilty of genocide defined as the “planned social destruction, not physical annihilation” of a group.

This ruling was no surprise, given Human Rights Watch has concluded that the “Chinese government has committed – and continues to commit – crimes against humanity against the Turkic Muslim population”. Amnesty International similarly found that Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region face “systematic state-organised mass imprisonment, torture and persecution amounting to crimes against humanity”.

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How an independent tribunal came to rule that China is guilty of genocide agains...

The picture painted in today’s letter by China’s consul general, Ma Qiang, could not be more different.

The government’s “vocational education and training centres”, designed to stop terrorist attacks, have led to considerable improvements in people’s lives, poverty has been abolished and harmony returned to the land, the letter claims. “As President Xi Jinping stated, people of all ethnic groups remain closely united like seeds of a pomegranate.”

A charitable view is that, in defending his government, Ma is only doing his job. The weight of evidence, however, is comprehensively against him.

In a free country, it would be impossible to imagine such claims being made, if false, because outside investigators would be able to assess the situation. No such assessment is possible in China.

Some may criticise The Scotsman for publishing such propaganda, but we do so as a way of helping our readers understand how this oppressive regime operates.

“A lie has speed, but truth has endurance. The liars’ attempt is doomed to fail,” concludes the Consul General. On that last point, at least, we can agree.

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