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CAIR Action Alert: Urge Trump to Formally Designate China’s Oppression of Uyghur Muslims as ‘Genocide’

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/26/20) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is calling on all Americans to urge the Trump administration to formally designate China’s human rights abuses against the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority as genocide. 


According to Politico, two anonymous Trump administration officials have indicated the White House is in the early stages of internal discussion on whether it should label China’s treatment of Uygur Muslims as “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing” or “crimes against humanity.” 

The Chinese government has transformed Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region – where the majority of Uyghur Muslims reside – into repressive high-tech surveillance police state that has criminalized the practice of Islam and being Muslim – having arrested 1 to 2 million of Xinjiang’s Uyghur Muslim minority inhabitants, detaining them in barbed wired concentration camps for no other reason than practicing their Islamic faith.   

CAIR believes China’s anti-Muslim policies, acts of cultural erasure, forced serialization and abortion, and system of concentration camps meet the United Nations’ definition of genocide. The U.N. defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” 

“The United States must formally designate China’s brutal oppression of its Uygur Muslim minority as genocide,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw “China’s human rights abuses against its Uygur Muslim citizens meets the U.N.’s definition of genocide. The United States has a moral responsibility to formally make the designation of genocide and hold China accountable until it ceases its persecution of millions of innocent people. Anything less would effectively normalize China’s crimes against humanity.” 


The New York Times reports that the Chinese government will detain Uyghur Muslims for common Islamic practices such as “wearing long beards, giving up smoking or drinking, studying Arabic and praying outside mosques.” Leaked documents reveal Chinese government officials are being instructed to tell college students returning home to Xinjiang who find their parents or family members missing that “their behavior could either shorten or extend the detention of their relatives” – a veiled threat.   

Dubbed the “Xinjiang Papers” by the New York Times in November 2019, more than 400 pages of leaked Chinese government documents reveal classified Chinese government directives and private speeches by leaders of that country on the mass detention of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Included in the leaked files are quotes by China President Xi Jinping to government officials instructing them to use the “organs of dictatorship” to show “absolutely no mercy” to Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang region as part of China’s “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism.” The Chinese Communist Party boss for the region, Chen Quanguo, is also shown instructing officials to “round up everyone who should be rounded up.”   

Uyghur Muslim concentration camp detainees report being forced to listen to lectures, learn Mandarin, sing songs praising the Chinese Communist Party, and are coerced into abandoning their faith. Some inmates are forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, both forbidden activities in Islam. Some are tortured. Muslim women detainees have reported being sexually assaulted, raped, forcefully sterilized, and made to have abortions in Chinese detention facilities.   

In July, CAIR condemned President Trump’s reported approval of concentration camps for Uyghur Muslims in China.

Trump reportedly told Chinese President Xi Jinping that building concentration camps to “re-educate” Uyghur Muslims was the right thing to do, according to former national security adviser John Bolton.

In his book, John Bolton claims that Trump backed the camps during a conversation with Xi in 2019. Bolton also says Trump asked Xi to help him win the 2020 election.

Bolton’s claim against Trump surfaced the same day he signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, legislation to punish China for its crackdown on the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.   

 La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.     


CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw, 202-999-8292, 

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