Having no legal basis from international laws, ‘genocide’ accusation on Xinjiang is more on geopolitics play
Published: Jun 05, 2021 12:08 AM

Editor's Note:

The latest farce staged by the West and the US on China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region took place in the UK on Friday - this time they are setting a pseudo-court named "Uyghur Tribunal" to collude a batch of anti-China forces and self-claimed human rights groups, attempting to labelling China for "genocide" accusations with "testimonies" of so-called "victims."

The "tribunal" was established in September 2020 in the UK upon request of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), which claimed to work for human rights but was proven to be a US-funded secessionist network. Geoffrey Nice, a British barrister, was founder and chair of the tribunal.  

Given the political performance in the UK and some Western countries' participating in hyping Xinjiang related topics, the Global Times reporter Liu Xin (GT) had an interview with Graham Perry (Perry), a British solicitor and international arbitrator, exploring his opinion of the "Uyghur Tribunal" and the US as well as Western countries' moves of accusing China of committing "genocide" in its Xinjiang region. 

GT: What's your opinion on the hearing of "Uyghur Tribunal" that is scheduled to set on Friday? Is it a legitimate body? What's your opinion on the "genocide" accusation on China's Xinjiang? 

Perry: It is clearly an anti-China event. This can be seen from the publicity of the "Uyghur Tribunal," which has no powers of sanction or enforcement.

For example, it claimed that the "tribunal" will confine itself to reviewing "evidence" in order to reach an "impartial" judgement on whether international crimes are proved to have been committed by China and it goes on to say that the application of the judgment of the "tribunal" could include but not limited to trade and other sanctions. These words show an intention to convict China of the charge of genocide, forced labor and forced sterilization.

I've looked at the matter on Xinjiang in some detail. I've written a long article about China and the Uygurs, in which I've examined the evidence put out by Adrian Zenz and by other people. I've reviewed the attitude of Jewish people toward genocide in relation to the Nazis when 6 million Jews died in the last World War and their attitude toward the Uygur issue as well. I came to the conclusion - there is no genocide. 

That's marked me out as being some things unusual because the general opinion on people in the West is to assume that China has committed "genocide." I say there is no genocide in Xinjiang. There is no forced labor. And there is no forced sterilization.

The International Criminal Court is a significant international organization. When they were approached that they declined to take action against China on the basis of not having jurisdiction over China for most of the alleged crimes. They also said that they hadn't seen enough evidence. Then came to the US State Department. It offered legal advice concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove "genocide" in China.

Thereafter, there have been motions passed in the British Parliament and in the Dutch Parliament, New Zealand Parliament as well, saying recognizing China's actions as "genocide." But if you look at the politics, you will find that parliamentarians in different countries have come under pressure and have reached a conclusion that China is guilty of "genocide." Why hasn't a court made a decision?

Evidence is the key thing. What is the evidence of "genocide" on Xinjiang? The current "evidence" relied upon by people who alleged there is "genocide." For example, the legal group in London made an opinion on the existence of "genocide" in Xinjiang. The Essex Court Chambers group, who got themselves into a bit of a mess, because they published a document which said there was "genocide" in Xinjiang. But when you look at their document and analyze the linkage on evidence, it really is very thin. 

I've read their judgment, which all relies on the figure of 1 million Uygurs in prison. But Max Blumenthal from Grayzone has exposed how the figure of 1 million Uygurs in custody comes - it comes from America. 

The current evidence and "victims" have been presented by the World Uyghur Congress. Their words don't make sense. Organizations that have supported Adrian Zenz have encouraged these independent testimonies. There is a problem of proof for those who say the Chinese are guilty of genocide. And because they lack evidence, they are relying on testimony of people who live comfortably in the West. 

Despite the satellites flying over head, they've got no evidence from Xinjiang. The pictures they do show have no attribution. No one knows when the photos were taken by whom and in which country they would take. There are lots of evidential weaknesses. 

With all the sophisticated satellites flying around the world, you would think they would get more evidence. But is this a "genocide" - without a murder, without deaths, without crematorium, without execution, without refugees, without a stream of people running away from Xinjiang seeking safety outside. 

Local residents who are involved in the tourism business play music for tourists in the old town of Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 9, 2019. Photo:Xinhua

Local residents who are involved in the tourism business play music for tourists in the old town of Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 9, 2019. Photo:Xinhua

GT: Does the "genocide" accusation on China's Xinjiang have legal basis? What's the purpose for the US and some Western countries to label China for "genocide"?

Perry: Let's start to the beginning with the definition of Convention of Genocide. And this appears in the UN Convention on prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide. It was adopted by the United Nations in 1948 and it came into force in 1951. It defines genocide in legal term and was the culmination of work by a man called Polish lawyer Raphäel Lemkin who had been through the war and was very keen to bring some kind of legal judgment to the behaviors that were exhibited during the World War II. So all participating countries are advised to prevent and punish actions of genocide in war and in peace time.

The definition of genocide in the UN Convention is set out in Article Two. It consists of two aspects, one is acts which are considered to be genocide. But those acts have to have the intention to destroy in whole or in part. 

Five acts that are regarded as genocide - first of all, killing - killing members of the group. Secondly, causing serious bodily or mental harm. Thirdly, deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction in whole or in part of the group. And then the fourth is imposing measures intended to prevent births, which is forced their sterilization. The last is forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

That's where we start when people throw the word genocide. It loses a lot of its specific meaning when it becomes involved in politics. But if you want to know where it starts from to prove in order for a discussion to take place, it is with the UN convention of December 1948.

My view on the "genocide accusation" made by the US and some Western countries is that this is not just a legal question. This is principally a political question.

I talked to a knowledgeable professor who is Jewish and he said calling "genocide" on Xinjiang is offensive to the people who have relatives who died in the Nazi's Holocaust in the Second World War. I attach importance to him being a Jew like myself - a Jew, because Jews are falling in line very quickly to allege China is guilty of "genocide" and I think that is wrong.

I think it is not an accident for the US and some Western countries to accuse China for "genocide." I think it reflects the change in world politics that has occurred in the last 20 years or so. The background to this is a recognition that the Chinese economy has tripled since 2000 and China is shortly to become the largest economy in the world. The Americans cannot accept it. 

America has been number one for so long. When you talk to Americans about their success in their role in the world, there is a kind of confidence, which is really a swagger. It's almost a form of arrogance. 

My views on their politics leads me to the conclusion that Americans' recognition that it is going to fall from the top spot in the world in terms of GDP economy is forcing the Americans to engage in a number of activities with the intention of undermining, impeding, restraining China's progress. One way to do it is to stain China's reputation by claiming that they are "genocidal."

Another way of doing it is by claiming that China was responsible for COVID-19. It is not a surprise to me that last weekend Biden returned to the theme of COVID-19 when he pressed for further investigation into the allegation that the virus in Wuhan was man-made in a laboratory and wasn't the product of natural animals. 

There is no doubt that violence existed in Xinjiang. There is an issue in Xinjiang with the extremists, with the fundamentalists, with the ISIS supporters. We have them in this country as well. 

The problem of extremism in Xinjiang is a problem that affects many Islamic countries and that's one of the reasons why you will not see any Islam countries jumping on the bandwagon and accusing China of genocide. Why? Because the enemy of the Islamic countries is the same as the government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and is the same as the enemy of the British government who are always alert to the possibility that there may well be more terrorist outrageous in London. 

We haven't experienced anything of the dimension that China has experienced. But there isn't a country that is not free from anxiety. Look at the Twin towers in 2001.

There is a geopolitical setting behind the "genocide" accusation. There is a determined attempt by Western powers. Notice that this is not third world developing countries. This is not ASEAN countries. This is basically "White countries" - US, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand. You don't see featured in the group of countries who are leading the allegations against China, people who are black, different races, different political attitudes. This is almost a hangover from the old days of Western imperialism. 

There is an attempt by the Americans to turn the tide against China. I think it will be unsuccessful. I think it's very difficult for China now because China does not like being at the end of all these allegations. China has to try and deal with it in the best way possible. That's not easily done, I have to say. I see the publicity, I see the materials that come out on China. 

I asked myself the question: Is there another way in which China can fight back by accusing those who accuse it for "genocide?" That's a question of tactics of political activities. But it does rise in my mind as to whether the rebuttal, very good rebuttals that come out of the Xinjiang press conferences full of detail and interviews is enough to withstand the torrent of bad publicity that China receives on this particular issue.

Residents participate in a wedding ceremony at a scenic spot by Ili River in Yining of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, May 5, 2017.Photo:Xinhua

Residents participate in a wedding ceremony at a scenic spot by Ili River in Yining of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, May 5, 2017.Photo:Xinhua

GT: Do you think information on truth of Xinjiang has been blocked in the US and Western countries?

Perry: It is difficult for me to get the exposure that I want. I think when the media in the UK has someone on about to talk about genocide and China, they go for the usual people. The general range of people called upon to comment on the latest issues in relation to genocide and Xinjiang are all anti-China. 

Now I am trying to get my voice heard. For example, next week I am giving a talk to about, I suppose it will be about 400 Jewish people about China and genocide. 

If you're interested in democracy, you have to be interested in listening to two sides of the same argument. You can't always be one sided and the media in the UK is basically very one side. When they put in a lot of information about China, about adverse information, about Xinjiang, about the Uygurs, they put in a two-line comment - China has issued a statement, denying these allegations, etcetera, but no further information.

I'm very keen to get my views known, because I think it's right for the international debate that more people should have their eyes open about what is going on in Xinjiang and what is the proper geopolitical setting. 

GT: Do you have any suggestions for China to deal with the current "genocide" accusation? 

Perry: China has to continue telling the truth. That's the important thing. The fact that Western countries are rejecting China's narrative is because they don't like what China is saying. But China has to keep to its position. 

China could tell about stories on anti-terrorism. We know the numbers of people through the world who were killed as a result of terror. That side of the story has not really percolated through. 

There is an assumption in the West that is completely wrong - China is guilty of race hate. I have been going to China since 1965. I've met diplomats, I've met businessmen and I've met sports people, I've met politicians, even prime ministers. But no one of them has ever given me any indication of any race hate by the Han majority toward the Uygur minority. 

Then I think about Germany in the 1930s - there was enough TV film of Berlin, and Munich of Nazi Fascist, pulling Jews out of the crowd and arresting them, putting them into the concentration camp and doing this before it really became a big issue in the last stages of the war. There's a lot of film which showed under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, the Germans hated Jews. 

There isn't one piece of evidence I've seen, which shows any race hate against the Uygurs. And yet the allegation of "genocide" is based on the Han majority hate Uygur minority. This is apart from all the other 55 minorities and we're talking about one group. 

The issue with Xinjiang has never been an issue of race. It's been an issue of separatism. China will never allow Tibet to go independent, Taiwan to go independent, Hong Kong to go independent, Xinjiang to go independent. They are parts of China and territorial integrity is crucial for China. 

We won't tolerate racists here in the UK. China is not racist but China will not tolerate challenges to its governmental status by a group of terrorists who think they can create confusion and instability in one of the largest regions of China.