The United States on Tuesday officially declared China's campaign against Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, as well as other ethnic and religious minorities in the western Xinjiang province, a genocide. The U.S. is the first country to adopt the term to describe the human rights abuses (which Beijing denies), though officials hope it will compel other governments to take a harder stance against China on the issue, The New York Times reports.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his department came to the conclusion after a "careful" review, stating that the crimes include: arbitrary mass internment of more than 1 million people, forced sterilization, torture of those detained, forced labor, and restrictions on religious freedom, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement. "I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state," Pompeo said.
The decision will likely be the Trump administration's final action on China, the Times notes. It's not clear yet how the incoming Biden administration will respond to the declaration, but the Biden campaign did publicly refer to the situation in Xinjiang as a genocide last year. Read more at The New York Times and Axios.