Updated: July 14, 2021 06:53 AM GMT
Protesters gather outside the Belgian parliament in Brussels on July 8 as MPs vote on a resolution to recognize China's policies towards Uyghurs as genocide. (Photo: AFP)
China, which has been accused of ill treatment of its Uyghur minority, and its neighbor and ally Myanmar, which faces allegations of ethnic cleansing, have been named in a new US genocide report.
The State Department’s annual report to Congress on countries where there is risk of atrocities being committed named China and Myanmar along with Eritrea, Syria and South Sudan.
“This year, for the first time, the report provides direct, detailed accounts of atrocities taking place in specific countries, including Burma [Myanmar], Ethiopia, China and Syria,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a press briefing on July 12.
“These places represent some of the toughest foreign policy challenges on our agenda, and we’ll keep working toward resolutions that reflect our commitment to human rights and democratic values.”
Washington’s renewed accusations of genocide in China came after Blinken claimed in January that the People’s Republic was committing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang province.
The crimes against humanity include imprisonment, torture, enforced sterilization and persecution, according to the report.
The report also named Myanmar, which is accused of committing atrocities and genocide following the military coup
According to the Congressional Research Service, China has also been accused of using so-called re-education camps to forcibly assimilate Muslim citizens at the expense of their culture and identity since at least 2017.
On July 13, the US also expanded its warning about doing business in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by citing forced labor and genocide against the Uyghur minority.
Beijing has dismissed the report as an “outrageous and preposterous lie” as it has revealed the true face of the US government to the Chinese people.
“No matter how some in the US go to great lengths along its misguided course to hype up lies on Xinjiang, their political conspiracy to disrupt Xinjiang and contain China will only end in failure,” a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said on July 13.
The report also named Myanmar, which is accused of committing atrocities and genocide following the military coup on Feb. 1 that has attracted international condemnation.
The US continues to coordinate with allies and partners to call on the military regime in Myanmar to return power to the democratically elected government and halt brutal killings and attacks on protesters, forced disappearances and arbitrary detentions, according to the report.
Many of the coup leaders are responsible for atrocities against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine state in 2016 and 2017, which constituted ethnic cleansing, the report said.
More than 750,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh following the military’s brutal crackdown in August 2017.
China, the biggest investor in Myanmar, has shielded it from international pressure and punitive action from the UN Security Council
The US, however, is still avoiding use of the term “genocide” despite the UN fact-finding mission claiming that the Myanmar military committed four of the five acts constituting genocide against the Rohingya.
The UN said Min Aung Hlaing, the military commander-in-chief and coup leader, and five other senior generals should be prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity.
China, the biggest investor in Myanmar, has shielded it from international pressure and punitive action from the UN Security Council.
China, which has economic interests in Myanmar including the strategic One Belt, One Road project, avoided condemning the military coup in Myanmar in Security Council meetings.
The State Administrative Council of Myanmar, as the junta calls itself, has yet to respond to the latest US report.