On June 17, 2020, the President of the United States officially signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 into law. The act aims to discipline the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for its blatant human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims and other Turkic Muslim minorities. Beijing was quick to respond, with China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanding the United States, “immediately correct its mistakes.”
The government of the PRC has long seen the preservation of internal order in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region as key to its overall success. As such, it has devoted an immense amount of time and resources to squashing groups that may interfere with or go against the goals of the state. In May of 2014, the world watched in silence as Beijing used threats of terrorism as a pretext to mercilessly crackdown on members of minority communities in the region. It is believed that as many as 900,000 Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other minorities have been sent to 're-education camps' since the start of the de facto anti-minority campaign.
These supposed places of learning offer no benefit to minorities, only pain and despair. Inmates are forced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the government of the PRC to undergo relentless political indoctrination, endless torture, and repeated periods of food deprivation. Furthermore, and perhaps most hurtful to these minorities, is the denial of religious and cultural freedom. Deaths of the infirm, elderly, and outspoken are commonly reported, although the exact number of those killed remains unknown.
The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 encourages President Trump to condemn the abuse of Turkic Muslims, demand the closure of re-education camps, and consider the use of sanctions to punish officials responsible for the atrocities.
Undoubtedly the PRC will seek to respond to Washington's action. Exactly what steps will be taken by the dragon, however, remains unknown.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.