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What Is China Doing to the Uighurs in Xinjiang?


The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has hogged the international spotlight for the past few months. For China, the bad press the Biden administration got for effectively allowing the Taliban to retake power has been a welcome distraction from another grim situation in the remote northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang.

In the past few weeks, however, allegations that China is committing massive human rights abuses and even genocide against the Uighurs in Xinjiang have begun to reclaim international attention. On Monday, the U.N. human-rights chief announced that her office has been unable to obtain access to the region but is assembling a report on the allegations based on information obtained through other means. Last week, a coalition of human-rights groups issued a joint letter to major international broadcasters, including NBC, urging them not to cover the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing to protest China’s abuses against the Uighurs and other minorities. And meanwhile, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has stepped up efforts to intercept imported goods made using forced labor, specifically targeting Chinese cotton that is widely suspected to be grown in Xinjiang by Uighurs in forced-labor camps.

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