The Chinese government has committed a series of ongoing human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang that is often characterized as genocide. Since 2014, the Chinese government, under the administration of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping, has pursued policies that incarcerated more than an estimated one million Turkic Muslims in internment camps without any legal process. Operations from 2016 to 2021 were led by Xinjiang CCP Secretary Chen Quanguo, who dramatically increased the scale and scope of the camps. This is the largest-scale detention of ethnic and religious minorities since World War II. Experts estimate that, since 2017, some sixteen thousand mosques have been razed or damaged, and hundreds of thousands of children have been forcibly separated from their parents and sent to boarding schools.
Government policies have included the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs in state-sponsored internment camps, forced labor, suppression of Uyghur religious practices, political indoctrination, severe ill-treatment, forced sterilization, forced contraception, and forced abortion. Chinese government statistics reported that from 2015 to 2018, birth rates in the mostly Uyghur regions of Hotan and Kashgar fell by more than 60%. In the same period, the birth rate of the whole country decreased by 9.69%. Chinese authorities acknowledged that birth rates dropped by almost a third in 2018 in Xinjiang, but denied reports of forced sterilization and genocide. Birth rates in Xinjiang fell a further 24% in 2019, compared to a nationwide decrease of 4.2%.
These actions have been described as the forced assimilation of Xinjiang, or as an ethnocide or cultural genocide, or as genocide. Those accusing China of genocide point to intentional acts committed by the Chinese government that they say run afoul of Article II of the Genocide Convention, which prohibits "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part," a "racial or religious group" including "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group" and "measures intended to prevent births within the group".
The Chinese government denies having committed human rights abuses in Xinjiang. In an assessment by the UN Human Rights Office, the United Nations (UN) stated that China's policies and actions in the Xinjiang region may be crimes against humanity, although it did not use the term genocide. International reactions have varied. Some UN member states issued statements to the United Nations Human Rights Council condemning China's policies, while others supported China's policies. In December 2020, a case brought to the International Criminal Court was dismissed because the crimes alleged appeared to have been "committed solely by nationals of China within the territory of China, a State which is not a party to the Statute", meaning the ICC couldn't investigate them. The United States has declared the human rights abuses a genocide, announcing its finding on January 19, 2021. Legislatures in several countries have since passed non-binding motions describing China's actions as genocide, including the House of Commons of Canada, the Dutch parliament, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, the Seimas of Lithuania, and the French National Assembly. Other parliaments, such as those in New Zealand, Belgium, and the Czech Republic condemned the Chinese government's treatment of Uyghurs as "severe human rights abuses" or crimes against humanity.