The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg will be hosting a panel event this week on the ongoing genocide of ethnic Uyghurs at the hands of the communist Chinese government.
"April is Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month," the museum says on their website. "Join our virtual event and participate in a live discussion about the genocide committed by China’s government against the Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious groups in the northwestern region of East Turkestan, now known as Xinjiang."
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a government-funded museum, receiving $29.2 million in taxpayer funding in the 2020-2021 fiscal year according to The Globe and Mail. However, despite receiving government funding, the museum operates with a great deal of independence from the Canadian government and does not require government approval to put on events.
The panel features Dr. Adrien Zenz, the foremost researcher on the topic of Chinese genocide of Uyghurs. Zenz has spent years researching the Chinese government's genocidal policies and has uncovered mountains of evidence, playing a key role in bringing international attention to the government's human rights abuses.
For his work, Zenz has been targeted by legal action accusing him of spreading "rumours" about Chinese companies profiting from forced labour in the region which "damaged their reputation and caused them to suffer economic losses." Zenz has accused the Chinese government of being behind the lawsuit.
Also featured is Mehmet Tohti, a Uyghur Canadian human rights activist who co-founded the World Uyghur Congress and serves as executive director of the Ottawa-based Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project. The event is moderated by Gary and Andrea Dyck, who lived in East Turkestan before becoming campaigners for Uyghur rights.
East Turkestan, which the Chinese government refers to as Xinjiang, is a region of vital economic interest to the Communist Party of China, offering it a land route to the rest of Eurasia of key importance for the government's Belt and Road Initiative. However, as the Uyghurs who dominate the region are not ethnically Chinese, the CCP has engaged in a genocidal campaign to secure the region, which has historically been politically independent, as an integral part of China.
Uyghurs living in East Turkestan have been subjected to mass arbitrary detention in a network of concentration camps across the region. Survivors of these camps have described China's use of forced sterilization of women, sexual abuse, sadistic torture, slavery, overcrowded cells, communist indoctrination, and cultural suppression, among other human rights abuses.
After a Canadian parliamentary subcommittee declared that the Chinese government is committing genocide in a manner which they directly compare to the Nazi Holocaust, Parliament voted to officially recognize the Chinese government's policies in the region as genocidal, becoming the second country to officially do so after the United States. While the motion received broad bipartisan support, including from Liberal MPs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet abstained from voting on the measure.
The Canadian government has since joined with its international allies in placing sanctions on Xinjiang to pressure the Chinese government into ending its genocidal policies.
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