China is committing crimes against humanity in its treatment of the Uighur ethnic minority and other Turkic Muslims in the northwest region of Xinjiang, and is responsible for “policies of mass detention, torture, and cultural persecution, among other offenses”, Human Rights Watch has said in a new report.
"Break Their Lineage, Break Their Roots" documents a “range of abuses” that also include enforced disappearances, mass surveillance, separation of families, forced returns to China, forced labour, sexual violence and violations of reproductive rights. As many as a million people have been detained in 300 to 400 facilities, including “political education” camps, pretrial detention centres and prisons, the report said. Meanwhile, children whose parents have been detained are sometimes placed in state institutions. Since 2017, the Chinese government has also “used various pretexts to damage or destroy” two-thirds of mosques in the region.
Since 2017, when Beijing intensified its crackdown, arrests in Xinjiang accounted for 21 percent of all arrests in China, despite the region accounting for just 1.5 percent of the population, the report said. Arrests in the region increased by 306 percent in the last five years as compared to the first five years.