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Canada's parliament votes to label China's persecution of Uighurs as genocide (cbc.ca)
326 points by lawrenceyan 52 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 172 comments



Interesting that the parliament went ahead with a vote, from which the 'leadership' (cabinet) abstained; I wonder what's going on behind the scenes.

>"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and almost all of his cabinet colleagues were absent for the vote. Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau was the only cabinet minister present. When it was his turn, he said he abstained "on behalf of the Government of Canada." "


It's pretty straightforward; from 2012-2015 the previous government, led by Stephen Harper (Prime Minister), and in partnership with Erin O'Toole (at the time Parliamentary Secretary with oversight over International Trade) negotiated a trade agreement with China [1].

Under this treaty, if the Canadian government takes actions that damage or undermine Chinese investment in Canada, then Chinese companies can sue Canada in a tribunal that is separate from both Canadian and Chinese court systems; these tribunals have broad authority to mark the findings as confidential, keeping the rulings and outcomes, including financial penalties secret. The duration of the trade agreement is 31 years.

If Trudeau and his Cabinet had endorsed this motion, it would have been a tacit attack on China, and grounds for Canada to be sued under this treaty, with virtually no defense.

Naturally, Erin O'Toole (the current leader of the opposition party in Canada) is aware of this, and the easy political points he can score by attacking Trudeau for failing to support this policy, since he had a direct hand in promoting and passing the legislation.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada-China_Promotion_and_Rec...


I wish more Canadians were aware of this.

It's easily the worst trade agreement we've signed in generations. Harper _really_ screwed us over.


After reading that wiki article (i.e. not the actual treaty), it seems like any argument that Canada’s vote harms profitability of Chinese companies could be flipped around just as effectively. China’s restrictions harm Canadian media companies. So I don’t see why Canada should be all that worried about passing this law.

I think it’s more likely just straight politics as usual. Trudeau might very well have done the same thing without the restrictions of the treaty.


Here[1] is an article that illustrates how much China has invested in Canada. In contrast, Canada has invested very little. Canada has a great deal to lose by provoking China, and due to foreign policy implications in the United States under their previous administration, Canada was basically pushed into apprehending the CFO of Huawei. That went over well in China.

There is no doubt that there is a political motivation for doing this, but in particular this treaty presents a specific extra-judicial legal jeopardy for any government at any level in Canada for taking action against China.

[1] https://nationalpost.com/news/as-geopolitical-tensions-rise-...


Also from the wiki article:

"Corporations from either country can sue if the country in which they have their operations has public policies even those intended on protecting the environment, health, or safety that the corporation says "interferes with the corporation’s profitability".[10]:23[5] Canada's risk of such lawsuits is much greater than China's, since "China's foreign direct investment in Canada is much higher than Canada's in China."[5] By 2015, Chinese foreign direct investment in Canada in 2015 was roughly three times the amount of Canadian investment in China."


Wow, that is nasty, and the article makes no mention of this?

Is there a page on the canadian government website that details this agreement with china?



That still doesn't explain why Liberal MPs voted for the resolution. Presumably Trudeau could have prevented them from voting, or forced abstention.


How would be prevent them from voting or force them to abstain? He doesn't have the power to do that.

Also, back-bench MPs speak on behalf of their constituencies more than on behalf of the government.


The party whip has that power; the threat is to lose access to committee appointments, cabinet positions, or to even be kicked from the party. Or simply to have the party not adequately fund your re-election campaign.


These things are retaliation. If your only option is to retaliate afterward, then by definition you're not able to force it.


You're arguing semantics. For all intents and purposes, Canadian parties can force their members to vote a particular way. They don't always do so, especially on less important matters.


Of course he has that power. Voting party lines is much more of a thing in parliamentary systems. Typically it’s always party line unless they otherwise allow it.

And you can be booted from the party for not voting party lines.


> Of course he has that power.

This isn't true.

> Voting party lines is much more of a thing in parliamentary systems.

People choosing to vote party lines, yes.

They can boot you out of the party, but they still can't require you to vote a certain way. People choose to vote party lines, but they're not forced to. If you don't vote how your party wants the worst they can do is not let you be in their party any more.


I don't understand what you're arguing. In the Westminster System generally, and the Canadian variant specifically, the leader of the party holds immense power.

Obviously there is no legal requirement for MPs to vote a certain way, but in practice the party leader, and the whip will force votes it deems important from party members . And yes, getting kicked out of the party or losing cabinet or committee assignments is normal punishment for insubordination. The end result is that MPs are much more disciplined around voting along party lines than, for example, House members are under the American system. In fact, the American Congress is a wild-west compared to the strict discipline you find in the Canadian Parliamentary system. You would never see a Joe Manchin-type of behaviour when a party member breaks ranks to vote against a candidate pushed by the party leader (or whatever the equivalent would be in the Canadian system). That never happens.

I suspect that Trudeau in this case wanted to have his cake and eat it to. He allowed a free vote for Liberal MPs while he and leadership abstained. This way he isn't on record one way or the other and therefore limits how pissed China would be, and at the same time limit the amount of criticism he would get from opposition had he forced a particular vote on his MPs.


Right. Which means most MPs change their vote so they vote with their party.

I mean, if you want to leave you house but I threaten to beat you if you do - does that mean I can’t really stop you from leaving? Seems like I just did.


>He doesn't have the power to do that.

He's the party leader. He can force his will.


You cannot force an MP to vote in any particular way. You can only retaliate afterward.


They can't force an MP to vote in a particular way, but they can fire them, like O'Tool (leader of CA Conservative party) recently fired Poilievre and Sloan, or Ford (ON PC) fired Roman Baber for dissent.


If I threaten to kick you off a committee and you change your vote as a consequence I just forced you to vote a certain way.


Because it would have still passed, and they'd look bad in the press.


> Under this treaty, if the Canadian government takes actions that damage or undermine Chinese investment in Canada, then Chinese companies can sue Canada in a tribunal that is separate from both Canadian and Chinese court systems; these tribunals have broad authority to mark the findings as confidential, keeping the rulings and outcomes, including financial penalties secret.

And people still think they live in democracies.


Quickly reading the treaty itself (you can too at https://www.international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/trade-agreeme...), I see this bit in 33(5)(c):

> Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed [...] to prevent a Contracting Party from taking action in pursuance of its obligations under the United Nations Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Labeling an act as genocide and taking measures against China as a result of it would fall under that clause, so any Chinese investors who would sue would be out of luck.


The tribunals are outside of the scope of the normal Canadian justice system and can act entirely in secret; there's no guarantee, really, that they can be counted on to agree that such a declaration is within the scope of that clause. We Canadians might not ever know how they ruled, if they ruled at all, and how much it cost us in total.


To me, an average citizen, this sounds absolutely insane. Why is there a need for such secrecy? How does that benefit us?


It generally doesn't. As an example of what kind of things might be kept secret, take a look at the history of softwood lumber disputes and aluminum disputes between Canada and the United States.


Again, reading the treaty quickly, I don't see any mention that the tribunals "can act entirely in secret." Actually, to the contrary, Article 28 does lay out:

> Where, after consulting with a disputing investor, a disputing Contracting Party determines that it is in the public interest to do so and notifies the Tribunal of that determination, hearings held under this Part shall be open to the public.

In other words, the tribunals are really no less secret than any other regular court case.


Article 28 also states:

> Any Tribunal award under this Part shall be publicly available, subject to the redaction of confidential information.

> To the extent necessary to ensure the protection of confidential information, including business confidential information, the Tribunal may hold portions of hearings in camera.

> To the extent that a Tribunal’s confidentiality order designates information as confidential and a Contracting Party’s law on access to information requires public access to that information, the Contracting Party’s law on access to information shall prevail. However, a Contracting Party should endeavour to apply its law on access to information so as to protect information designated confidential by the Tribunal.

Article 33 states:

> Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to require a Contracting Party to furnish or allow access to information the disclosure of which would impede law enforcement or would be contrary to the Contracting Party’s law protecting Cabinet confidences, personal privacy or the confidentiality of the financial affairs and accounts of individual customers of financial institutions.

That's more than enough rope to hang public access.


Have you never seen regular court documents that are redacted or even sealed to protect confidential information? That clause is basically saying the tribunal has the power to do that.


Yes, I have; often the document is redacted to the point of being worthless for public consideration.

IE:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/commons-law-clerk-we-charit...


China would argue - reasonably if debatably IMO - that the situation in Xinjiang is “internal” and thus not an issue of international peace or security.


Sounds like somewhat the TPP. I wonder what in the trade agreement made this a worthwhile compromise.


It basically ensured that Canada could do little to stymie resource exploitation projects that receive Chinese investment funds; this is a boon to Albertan/Saskatchewan oil companies, and BC coal companies.


This is pretty much the essence of international “free” trade agreements...


I'm a huge Liberal supporter, but am disappointed by Trudeau's decision on this. I never thought I'd say this, but good for the Tories. The most generous interpretation I've heard is that Trudeau's government is currently engaged in highly sensitive talks with China regarding captured Canadians and couldn't afford to take a stance on this.

Canada is part of the core UN group about to present a resolution in the UNHCR on human rights violations in Sri Lanka soon and I hope the government shows more spine.


See the other comment https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26254381

It's obvious realpolitik, the actual hard decisions that have to be made in politics.


Fair, but I don't think their decision ended up on the right side of history.



If they didn't abstain, China would likely respond with tariffs, costing Canada billions. They're also worried about the two Michaels, a couple of Canadians imprisoned in China that have been used as political pawns for the past few years.


Indeed, the response to the CCP must be multi-lateral to soften the blow for all involved nations.


>costing Canada billions

Sometimes you can't have both principles and profit at the same time.


These types of moves are usually not looked upon favourably by China, and might risk the fate of the two Michaels (who were locked up in retailation for Meng Wanzhou's arrest).


Not surprising.

The Trudeau family has always supported dictatorships, such as the Castro regime in Cuba. The son even went as far as calling Fidel "larger than life leader who served his people" [0]

[0] https://www.cnn.com/2016/11/27/world/justin-trudeau-castro-e...


Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau (18), and Alexandre Trudeau (16) had a vacation in China 1 year after the Tiananmen Square Massacre

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/09/16/trudeaus-in-ti...


Not going on either side here but for what it's worth, Cuba is viewed differently in Canada vs the US


Canada remained quite cozy with Cuba despite the US position.

As a Canadian it always felt a little questionable. Cuba was always a major vacation spot for Canadians and the foreign currency they brought it certainly helped prop up the regimen.


Don't forget, Justin said he admires China


Considering how easy it is to take quotes out of context, your comment that doesn't provide a source, a direct quote, or context only really serves to start a flamewar.

Perhaps this type of rhetoric should stay on Reddit and Facebook.


Nothing interesting is going on behind the scenes.

1. The Liberals hold a minority government, and whipping the entire party rank and file into voting against the motion would not prevent it from passing.

2. The cabinet doesn't want to piss China off, and doesn't want to give their opponents ammunition (by voting against the motion), so it didn't show up to the vote.

3. This provides the cabinet with freedom of action, to quietly apologize to China in private, while not looking bad domestically. Or, alternatively, if world sentiment supports this position, and other parliaments and governments follow suit, this gives them the option to come out in support of this condemnation.

4. This will make a few rounds in the news cycle, maybe result in a small adjustment in foreign policy, but will not result in a major political shift in Canada.

tl;dr - the opposition is hammering the Liberal Cabinet on the morality of this issue, the rank-and-file Liberals go along with it, because they either have a conscience, or don't want to lose elections, while the Cabinet is playing Realpolitik.

For Americans, you can think of the Cabinet as the executive branch of government - closer in powers to the President, and their subordinate agencies. But unlike a President, the Cabinet, and the Prime Minister [1] can be removed by a 50/50 vote in Parliament.

[1] The Prime Minister in particular can also be removed by a 50/50 vote of their own party.


It's also worth noting that China doesn't even need to pursue tariffs; they can simply leverage the China-Canada FIPA to sue the Canadian government for damaging Chinese business interests in Canada based on legislation passed by the opposition while they were in power.


Take a look at what they did to Australia. No tribunal needed. Just hold up perishable imports for more detailed “inspections” until they spoil.


Very strange - does it mean they are not serious about it?


The government is officially reprimanding the act but they personally shield themselves from backlash. Win-win, cake and eat it too, etc. Every politician does this (because the ones that don't fail to remain politicians for long).


Good to see a stand being taken. Hopefully allows for more pressure put on China to be more humane.

Also I think there is too much us vs China going around - another war would be terrible, and even without a war, negative consequences could arise.

One world should be the dream we aspire for.


If we aspire to one world, and that one world is going to be persecuting minorities, who's going to stand up and tell the whole world that it's doing it wrong?


Not snark: in the ideal case, that would be the people.


There is no way to avoid another Cold War. A hot war is impossible. I am glad that the Soviet Union ceased to exist. I will be glad with China being contained. I will also be glad in a multi-lateral world where America does not go unchecked and can be held up by others to its ideals.


A hot war is most certainly not impossible. Just because nuclear weapons might be off the table doesn't mean conventional bombs aren't. And frankly, even nuclear weapons might not be off the table fully.

Desperation leads people to do strange things.

China really is a sort of "early 1900s Germany" stage, which is rather frightening.


China is in some ways like pre-WWI Germany in that it does not have an empire and everyone else does so it wants one to. But Chinese are not starving due to sanctions and have not lost a war, etc. Chinese are doing well. China is just flexing its muscle because it can. That is all. Not because it needs to or that it's people are psychologically in fascism mode.


Bingo, comfortable upwardly mobile populations aren’t too friendly to any sort of serious war. Let alone total

A majority in an agitated state that is being repressed or prodded (realistically or not) by other power blocs is what is worrying.

Even ideological extremism most just happens locally. Like the Russian socialist Revolutions and countless jihads.


There's also the whole frightening frame of thought that as people who were alive to see nuclear detonations being performed in the 50s/60s continue to die off, as a society we're going to slowly forget what makes nuclear weapons so awesome (in the original definition of the word), and the willpower around their restraint will slowly be eroded away until it's too late.


A hot war is very likely. Why do you think everyone is building armies, weapons and trying to get nuclear toys (Iran). Just look up what triggered world war I and II.


Cold War already started years ago, the leadership in the west was just was too naive and arrogant to see it.


This might be a bit naive but doesn't a cold war by definition imply the possibility of it getting hot? Or in other words: Isn't a cold war that is impossible to get hot just peace?


The war has been waged for decades already and the west has already lost. This was a war fought with information, influence, and economic warfare. When you think about all the things you need to secure and defend one's country (e.g. PPE, pharmaceuticals, rare-earth minerals, manufacturing supply chains, patriotism, jobs, economic growth, geopolitical soft/hard power), you realize that China has all these things and America has none and is stuck battling itself over nonsense domestic issues.


Finally peace in our time!


We're in the beginnings of a new Cold War with China, and we're not winning.


[flagged]


One of our dirty secrets is that we in the West improved our own local environment by shipping off all the polluting industries to somewhere else, preferably overseas.

While all of your points are valid and I believe we should stop being deferential to China (including on topics like Taiwan), their pollution is our pollution, too, at least partly so.


Agreed and per person the Chinese actually pollute less than Americans.

Same with NYC vs all of Nebraska. Per person, sure NYC is very low as most of the 8 million citizens use public transportation. But the number of trucks and busses bringing people and goods into the city still results in a huge amount of pollution. Also the heating and cooling for buildings that are hundred+ years old or super tall structures.

In comparison, Nebraska has a small population but they have a thing for trucks and no subway. Less pollution overall but more per person.


china overproduces things and trade dumps on other countries because of local government quota and made-up numbers for GDP. that's not a country we want to produce goods for the long term. buying from democratic countries would be a good start


Totally! I’ve been avoiding “Made in China” products for the last 3 years. I’m always looking for alternatives. Yet, there are cases when there aren’t ... but still, in most of the time there are.


If you buy from another country, that country will need to burn fuel to make your products.


not all countries run mostly on coal.

before you say "but then we won't have enough production" good, maybe we should create less things based on coal. we have item shortages now, and the world hasn't ended.


Well, now we see the true color of some of the visitors:

None of these points make much sense after some minimal amount of facts and reasoning. But I’ll add more counter points to these items because of typing on iPad.

Why I am doing this? Because I am a CCP buyout!

No, unfortunately, anything important is never that easy. I was indeed called that before, for stating facts as well.

I have to make facts straight, because I am a Chinese immigrant to US. For that I have to clear out the facts. I am not going to let some mental bias and laziness threaten my family’s chance in this wonderful land.

And, US deserves the openness and rationality that made her great! I am not letting it gone without some fight.


> The final tally was 266 in favour and zero opposed.

Great news and I hope more countries follow the lead.


Considering there are 338 seats in total, that's still 72 people who abstained.


I am not sure what term is apporopiate for the horrific treatment, but I found the Economist's point quite valid.

> By the common understanding of the word, it is not. Just as “homicide” means killing a person and “suicide” means killing yourself, “genocide” means killing a people. China’s persecution of the Uyghurs is horrific: it has locked up perhaps 1m of them in prison camps, which it naturally mislabels “vocational training centres”. It has forcibly sterilised some Uyghur women. But it is not slaughtering them.

[...]

> By accusing it of genocide instead, in the absence of mass murder, America is diminishing the unique stigma of the term. Genocide should put a government beyond the pale; yet American officials will keep doing business with the regime they have branded genocidal. Future genocidaires will take comfort


It's worth pointing out the self serving and cynical reason for pursing a "genocide" determination when cultural genocide or crimes against humanity is more appropriate. "Cultural genocide" would equivalate Xinjiang forced integration with Canadian self-professed cultural genocide of indigenous peoples. Which would create the difficult position of questioning disparity in reprisal for one event and not another, both domestically and abroad. Canada literally admitted to cultural genocide - explicitly because it's a consequence free label.

It's the same reason why Pompeo pressed for genocide on his way out, despite his own state department finding there's insufficient evidence for such determination, compared to more appropriate "crimes against humanity" or "cultural genocide". Bluntly because the latter two have no formal conventions, i.e. there is no obligation to punish. The semantic game is significant and self-serving. If punishment for "crimes against humanity" were ever formalized, it would open up US actions to similar scrutiny (i.e. war crimes). Similarly for Canada, labelling XJ "cultural genocide" and setting norms to punish it would open Canada to punishment. Hence elaborate propaganda, exaggerated word games and non-binding resolutions. To be clear, XJ is absolutely "cultural genocide" / "crimes against humanity" - but it's not genocide. If the US state department, under lying Pompeo can't comfortably rationalize the determination, it's because the accusation is flawed. Rather these efforts are specifically designed to target only Chinese human rights violations while insulate against western ones.

A serious campaign actually sympathetic to human rights will attempt to prosecute XJ as "crimes against humanity", for which there is a feasible avenue for prosecution, and start a formalize process for punishing this and future events. But Canada doesn't want to do that, because they will suffer from the fallout. The US doesn't want to do that... because lol, the Hague Invasion Act exists specifically so US can get away with "crimes against humanity". Realistically no country wants to go down that route, not just because no hands are clean, but because no one wants to be punished the next time their hands get dirty. Finally, there's no compelling reason to insist on "genocide" label outside of domestic politics, which will never stick internationally, least of all because China still has plurality international support, from Islamic nations no less, for XJ being a counter insurgency response. TL;DR: it's theatre.


I don't think there is any strict consensus that genocide is only about slaughtering people as in murder/killing. Sterilisation and making their living conditions worse than others in order to kill their culture and ethnicity can also be considered genocide, as the ultimate goal is to erase them. In this case it just happens slowly in training centers, work camps and prisons.

In the larger picture I agree with you however. If you give someone that label there is only one stance that would be acceptable and it would have to be a strong one, otherwise you are diminishing the importance of the word.



The labeling is not arbitrary but based in the UN definition:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    - Killing members of the group;
    - Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    ...
    -Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    ...

https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide.shtml


For which the Economist argues

> But if conventions are worded with unusual broadness, they must also be used with special care. Until now, America’s State Department had applied the “genocide” label only to mass slaughter, and even then it often hesitated, for fear that uttering the term would create an expectation that it would intervene. It did not call Rwanda’s genocide a genocide until it was practically over.


All three definitely apply to Han Chinese:

- The number of executions is treated as a state secret, but most likely a lot of people are killed every year, including for political "crimes".

- Chinese prisons used to be labor camps by default and many continue to operate as such, including torture and rape by prison guards.

- The one-child policy was all about preventing births and involved sterilizing more than half of all women.

Which makes me wonder why the Canadian declaration is limited to Uighurs instead of also applying to persecuted Han Chinese or members of the fifty-odd other recognized ethnic groups in China. Is it just because Uighurs have gotten comparatively more attention recently?


The overlooking of certain behavior never was justification of the the same behavior on other occasions.

The dilemma faced by China and the West, regarding their ways of life, is that they are operating on 2 systems that are different down to a very fundamental level.

In short, China and the West have different values.

The sad thing is that outside of China and the West, there are actually more people being entirely left out of the discussion. And neither have the universal systems and resources to bring these people out of their suffering.

Til this day, China's treatment on Uighurs are still highly secretive. That leads to the claim of internment of 1 million Uighurs become a superficial paly thing by both sides:

* China certainly are very content that no domestic instability because that 1 million figure is obviously not trustworthy to Chinese people. (Note that there is no way to verify the truth, as that's CCP's tactic all along; there is always the national security card prevent any forceful international investigation).

* The West are also very comfortable because they can outrageously condemn CCP for various political objectives. Do they really care about the 1 Million Uighurs? Obviously yes, but probably is behind a long list other concerns.

This dilemma (or pleasant situation if we think about it as a whole) is a reflection of the incompatibility of 2 systems. It is a clash of civilizations. And that clash is not movable by the seemingly good will of the people: if you ask the people in China and the West they would universally say that they like the people from the other side, and they just dont like their government. But they are merely unconscious of the fact that the clash is happening not because of the government, but really was by the people's will, through the thousands of channels of influences that the puny Human brain will never fully grasp.


I am not so convinced by this "clash of civilizations" or "different values" rhetoric. I know this is the standard party response to many foreign criticisms of Chinese politics, but to me it comes across as a bit like the Chinese version of American exceptionalism. The recent effort to push a Chinese view of human rights[0][1] into the UN, I find to be cynical and politically motivated.

The idea that Chinese people and "Western" people are fundamentally different seems to deny the fact that humans as whole share common needs and common motivations. If China and the West have incompatible values, where does that leave other countries of the East? Does India count as the West? What about Japan or South Korea or Taiwan? What about countries in the Global South, are their values incompatible with both the West and China? Plenty of those countries have ratified ICCPR[2].

[0] http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-02/22/c_139758736.htm

[1] https://thediplomat.com/2021/02/can-china-change-the-definit...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Covenant_on_Civi...


> I know this is the standard party response to many foreign criticisms of Chinese politics

This is not true.

This was even rejected by Mr. Xi himself, quote [1]:

""" The world must "oppose politicization and stigmatization" over Covid-19, Xi said in the pre-recorded address, urging world leaders to embrace the "concept of a big family... and avoid falling into the trap of a clash of civilizations." """

One could interpret this as Xi actually agree with this view point, and simply try to avoid fall into the trap. Then we can reasonably conclude that Xi and CCP do not want to follow this line of thinking. Here I am assuming Xi is so powerful that he can largely shape CCP thought, which was widely agreed upon as a truthful statement.

> deny the fact that humans as whole share common needs and common motivations

This is quite a bland statement. And itself bears little factual support.

Political values, as we are here discussing, seldom agree. CCP in its face adopts socialism and intends to move towards communism. That's 180 degree opposite of US domestic political theoretic.

The so-called common value is quickly turning into a lie when it goes beyond typical bodily needs. Even that is a problem, like many Western media would state Chinese need to consume less pork, because of the climate change concerns. Since when the West believe one should be subject to the whole's needs?

[1] https://news.abs-cbn.com/overseas/09/23/20/xi-defends-chinas...


It is useful for people like Wang Yi and Xi Jinping to pin the "clash of civilizations" terminology on American hawks and seemingly wash their hands of it, but the party media outlets still persist in implying that Chinese people and Americans (or is it "Western people"?) have fundamentally different values, and this is what I dispute.

I really think it's disingenuous to imply that in a country of over a billion people, with countless regional traditions, where many different languages are spoken, there is a singular unified set of values that is somehow unique to within the political borders, as compared to people who live just across the mountain, just across the river, or just across the strait.

It is a misunderstanding of American politics to imply that adopting socialism and intending to move toward communism is 180 degrees to their opposite. There are plenty of American politicians who admire socialism, and who call themselves socialists, and who would like to implement socialist policies - if not taking it all the way to communism. There are lots of grassroots communist publications in the US. Communism is discussed in school and universities, and it has champions in members of the public.

In any case, your claim was that the West as a whole had different values to China, not just the US. There is explicit Communist Party representation in the EU and other Western governments, so even if it were true that all Chinese have exactly the same political values as defined by the CCP, it is not true that no people in the West share those.

To get back on the actual topic, which is human rights, the UN has discussed human rights since the very beginning, and plenty of people from all around the world have agreed on some basic fundamentals, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and so on. Personally, I find it hard to believe that one country's citizens are so unique that a definition of human rights coincidentally matching their current authoritarian government's ideology is merely a difference of opinion that should be immune to foreign criticism.

But also, personally, I do not think there is enough evidence to definitively call what is happening in Xinjiang "genocide". However, I also think that the words do not matter so much. The basic point is that it seems to be a universal human rights violation to imprison people solely because of their religious or cultural beliefs.


People are OK to throw radicals into internment camp, just because they showed signs of radical religious behavior.

Are you OK with that?

You did not seem to get the idea of clash of civilizations. That framing is about the civilization as a whole. In that scale, you cannot apply your concept of people individuals etc.


Personally, I am not okay with that. But also, I have lived in several countries (China included) where the government did exactly this, and I did not object, because I had no power, and anyway it did not much impact my life directly.

When people have no power, it does not really matter whether they object or not. This is why you see Canadian politicians making bold statements about "genocide", but the vast majority of Canadians you meet on the street do not even know what a Uighur is, and even if they condemn the idea of internment of suspected terrorists in theory, they do not feel the need to make some statement on the record about the livelihood of people imprisoned 10,000km away. Many do not even care about people imprisoned in their own country.

This, in fact, is very similar to how most people in China view things, and most people in the US, and many other countries too. Their immediate personal and household concerns outweigh their greater ideological beliefs. This is why I think it is misleading to imply that "China" and "the West" have diametrically opposed value systems.

What might be true is that the political party currently governing China has a different ideology to many of the political parties currently governing other countries around the world. But that's just politics. The special situation in China is "party, government, military, civilian, and academic, north, south, east, west, and center, the party leads everything". So, in China, the average citizen will never have any power, not unless they filter through the party framework. This makes the party ideology a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In my opinion this is why people both inside China and outside China get the impression that there is such a thing as "Chinese values". In reality, I think ordinary people in China have just as much diversity of opinion and diversity of values as any other country, they just have less power to express it politically, so it seems more like a monolithic culture than it actually is. Of course, in any case, many people do not much care about political ideology anyway.


> There is explicit Communist Party representation in the EU and other Western governments, so even if it were true that all Chinese have exactly the same political values as defined by the CCP, it is not true that no people in the West share those.

The post-Maoist CCP has very different ideology from Western Communist parties (heck, even the original Maoist CCP had a distinct ideology from the contemporary Stalinist Soviet Communist Party.)

But even if ignoring that, it's the fallacy of composition to conflate “some people in the West have the same ideology as the dominant ideology of the PRC” with a contradiction to “the West as a whole has a different ideology than the PRC”.


The problem with that article is that it focuses on parsing language in the context of similar words; genocide as a word was coined in 1944 with a focus on framing the Holocaust in the context of other historical attempts to wipe out a people.

It's explicitly important that genocide can't only be focused on murdering living people, because for the most part, you don't wipe out a race or group of people just by killing them.

Trying to scope genocide down to the simple act of murdering people is a bloody-minded case of exceptionalism that overlooks the ongoing attempts to commit genocide around the world by actively destroying cultures, their history, and severing the ties that future generations have to both of those.

It's also very easy to understand why folks have a hard time closing the gap; virtually every country in the world has some history of tribalism and violence that falls into the broad strokes of genocide, and several countries are still actively engaged in it; it's worth noting that taken in the context of Central and South American immigrants to the United States, a case could be made that the child separation policy is a genocidal act.

There is a reason why the definition of genocide in legal terms steps away from the dictionary definition of the word, and it's documented here -> https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide.shtml

I would suggest that anyone that doesn't find each of the items of the formal definition of genocide from the U.N. listed below as horrifying as the first line, it's probably worthwhile to spend some time evaluating and learning about the impact policies and governments that have done this in recent history (post World War II) to understand why the scope of genocide can't be limited to murder.

Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.


The prime minister of canada declared that canada had conducted a genocide against the pre-european inhabitants of the continent. It looks like Louis Riel's Metis revolt in 1885 was the last [0] real battle or war. The genocide Canada has declared they conducted was also not a violent slaughtering of people. So I guess they are in good company with the Chinese as soft-genocidaires?

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_North_Ame...


Yup, what China is doing isn't so different to what Canada has admitted it has done to its indigenous population, and is attempting to make amends for.

Part of making amends must be ensuring that vigilance is taken to prevent it from happening again.


What about the Acadian peoples? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expulsion_of_the_Acadians

EDIT: You can downvote all you want, it won't change what happened.


Yes, we are. It is generally acknowledged by our various Governments at every level that Canada has a history of committing and supporting genocidal acts against indigenous peoples. It's not about the wars either; our residential school systems, ongoing issues with child separation policies across the country contribute to our ongoing complicity with this.

It turns out that when a country is built on genocide and disenfranchisement it's kind of hard to stop.


Personally i don’t think what happened in Canada is anywhere near on the same level of “genocide” as what is going on in China, but it is impossible to truly know. I Was hoping to get some discussion on the comparison between the two situations, but I got two apologetic Canadians who agree with the prime minister and the upvote/downvote roller coaster.

It is a difficult topic to discuss without aquiring a label, and obviously very few are willing to wade in to those treacherous waters.


I agree. Not only does it exaggerate the offense and water down a specific term, it also allows for the predictable digression: "it's not genocide, look at the US/Canada/etc trying to lie and vilify China!". That said, I'm not sure what alternative appropriately weighty term exists. Moreover, the US also does this internally all the time, with various political groups claiming genocide against various minority groups or else "concentration camps".


> ...“genocide” means killing a people

Killing a people doesn't necessarily mean killing individual people. Sterilization is killing a people.


That's not valid; genocide is not simply death camps, it can be the purposeful and systematic erasure of a culture.


I took a course on this, and part of it was just arriving at a definition. One way to think about it is literally the name - genocide is anything that prevents future generations of that culture or population


> It has forcibly sterilised some Uyghur women.

I think the Economist is being pedantic. The above, applied broadly, would "kill a people" within one generation.


It's not being pedantic; it's moving the goalposts. The UN's definition of genocide does not require death camps.

https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide.shtml


> It has forcibly sterilised some Uyghur women

Forced sterilisation is a form of genocide [0]

[0] https://asp.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/asp_docs/Publications/Compen...


It is neither necessary nor sufficient to meet the definition of genocide.

Forced sterilization with the intent of destroying a people, in whole or in part is a form of genocide, but that second part is required.


I think there is substantial evidence that organs are being removed from Uighurs while they are alive or are being killed for organ harvest. Depending on how much business the media organization does in China, it gets reported or not. I don't think China should get a pass because they only kill of the very annoying people or those with blood type matches.

https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=0D8...

https://www.businessinsider.com/china-harvesting-organs-of-u...


That still doesn't make it genocide. To be clear, it makes it sickeningly evil, but insofar as distinctions matter, it isn't genocide.

Genocide implies the intent of erasing a people from existence. Simply detaining them and subjecting them to torture -- however horrible that may be -- is insufficient to meet the definition. A better argument would be that of forced sterilization, but then you'd have to show that this is both systematic and done with the intent of erasing an ethnic group.

To be clear: we must take a stand against China's behavior, but we should also label it correctly.


You are incorrect. The legal definition of genocide under the UN, and recognized as international law by ratified signatories is discussed here. https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide.shtml

The reality is that child separation, sterilization, and the acts taken by the Chinese government to destroy Uigher connections to their cultural history meet the definition. Genocide isn't just about killing people, it's about obliterating a people and their culture, and you can't stop the definition at mass murder.


You are mistaken. In fact, your link quite clearly supports my position (namely: that intent is key):

>In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: [...]

(Emphasis mine)


I don't know what point you are trying to make; the intent is key, but the intent is clear. The Chinese government is targetting the Uigher people and their supporters with the intention of destroying the Uigher cultural identity.

The Chinese government is doing all of these things to the Uigher people, and I am not going to replicate the exhaustively cited information that is summarized in the article[1] below to support each individual claim. I recognize that Wikipedia articles may have bias, but the bulk of the citations in that article are from recognized news sources.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uyghur_genocide


>The Chinese government is targetting the Uigher people and their supporters with the intention of destroying the Uigher cultural identity.

This is begging the question -- what are those things that reveal the intent to eradicate?

We both agree that Uighur's are being specifically targeted, of course, but the Wikipedia article is weaseling in the "cultural" qualifier, i.e. "cultural genocidie". That's a comparison to genocide. I still don't see clear and compelling evidence of intent to eradicate.

Evidence of intent to torture? Yes.

Evidence of intent to marginalize? Yes.

Evidence of intent to harvest organs for the benefit of others? Yes.

Evidence that Chinese policy wishes to remove the people from existence? I could be convinced, and it wouldn't surprise me very much, but the evidence is unclear.

What am I overlooking?


You are overlooking the policies of child separation and forced sterilization. Read the sources in the article I linked to.


You're overlooking that these were addressed in the parent comment...


There is a big danger in labeling it genocide: what are you going to do about it?

If you label it genocide, and continue doing business as usual apart from some strongly worded letters, you are in effect saying that "genocide" is not a big deal.


This is false and China obviously considers it so, otherwise they wouldn't apply so much political and economic pressure on countries simply to prevent them from calling their treatment of the Uighurs genocide. And they aren't alone: Turkey behaves the same way.


Then cut business ties with them and sanction any country that continues doing business with China.

Just calling it genocide and not doing anything about it really weakens what the term means.


So are they going to boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics?

Are they also going to stop exporting agricultural products to China?

Talk is cheap.


Where's the line between the Chinese population and the Party's indefensible acts? Will more expensive food in China help to resolve this [or are Canadian ag exports re-exported]? I say this because I'm not convinced sanctions have been effective in cases like Cuba, Iran, etc


They have been relocating Uighurs to different parts of China. I've talked to a number of different friends who live in China about this. So it seems that at the end of the re-education, they reintroduced them at other locations so it likely limits their ability to organize.

because I've been studying Chinese and speaking with Chinese people online for the last few years, I've also met quite a few Uighurs who were studying English. They are fluent in Chinese plus a couple of other languages, and as best as I can tell, I have been reintroduced as they say. This is not a topic I was able to discuss with them, but they seems like nice people that were living a decent life.

Now what happened in the past and maybe what still continues to happen in these camps is surely something that will be discussed for years, and China will have a better reputation. I just study what's happening and I'm hoping that there will be some good that comes out of it too.


This website and its mods are a joke.

When I posted about two countries pressuring tech companies into silencing oppressed communities (including one country credibly accused of genocide) [1] it was flagged for being “political”.

But China bad. Whatever fits your agenda I guess. Goodbye.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26117559


Ok... I'll play devil's advocate here: genocide (quoting Wikipedia) "is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group—in whole or in part" - meaning physically killing them. What China is doing (forced reeducation, mass surveillance etc.) is of course worthy of condemnation, but calling it "genocide" goes too far in my opinion, and diminishes the real genocides of the past. There are enough holocaust deniers already (not to mention the other skeletons that countries like Turkey would like to keep in their closets). If this "Uighur genocide" is not actually as bad as it sounds, it'll make it even easier to say that the Shoah or other genocides weren't such a big deal either...


It's not really necessary to play the devil's advocate to an ongoing genocide. In fact, it's a pretty bad idea. The definition of Genocide clearly includes destroying a culture with forced removal, education, and forced birth control all of which China is doing.


I think she is lying.

> Tursun said she was forcibly sterilized in 2019 through a surgical procedure, along with hundreds of other Uighur women.

(2019) "Kalbinur Tursun, 36, entrusted five of her children to relatives when she left Xinjiang to give birth in Istanbul but has been unable to contact them for several years" - https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/28/world/asia/china-xinjiang...

But happy for a logical explanation, since we are talking genocide after all.


It's not clear to me from the quotes you provided why you think she's lying? She said she was sterilized in 2019 at the age of 36 after having given birth to five or more children. I don't see anything especially suspicious there.


Istanbul in in Turkey. As per NYT she fled to Istanbul, to give birth. This is why she has not seen her children, she is in Istanbul.

Kalbinur Tursun might be a made up name being used for Uyghurs being interviewed. It's probably two people.

I see now the Chinese government have stated the original Kalbinur Tursun was a pseudonym - http://jeddah.china-consulate.org/eng/zt/xjfk/t1767403.htm


Got it. Something is off in the facts of that story for sure. She left Xinjiang in 2019, and the article says that she handed her children off as she left. Then the article claims she hasn't seen her children for years. These facts can't all be true simultaneously, at least one of them must be false, unless they mean she hasn't seen her children for 1.5 years?



It's the correct word if Canada is to apply the definition on others that it applies upon itself.


Paywalled for me. Can you give us the gist of it?


TLDR: The Economist tries to argue that without death camps there is no genocide; which is false.


It's slightly more nuanced, arguing that referring to such scenarios as genocide lessens the impact of the term for the more murderous forms of genocide.

I don't agree with that viewpoint at all. Both forms are vehemently barbarous, and the world has enough problems with genocide denialism that engaging in technical arguments over the definition is only going to give more cover to denialists.


What's Biden's position on this issue?


"I point out to him no American president can be sustained as a president if he doesn’t reflect the values of the United States, and so the idea I’m not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uighurs in western mountains of China, and Taiwan, trying to end the One China policy by making it forceful … I said, and, by the, he said, he – he gets it. Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow."

My original thought: Wow... Biden's stance is essentially it's a cultural difference.

I think I may have misinterpreted.

I didn't originally catch "and so the idea I’m not going"

Edited for correctness. Thanks for others who posted the full quote. I couldn't pull it well from quickly listening to the vid.


> Wow... Biden's stance is essentially it's a cultural difference.

This is a prime example of how taking specific cuts of quotes can lead to wildly misleading conclusions.

This is what he actually said:

"I point out to him no American president can be sustained as a president if he doesn’t reflect the values of the United States, and so the idea I’m not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uighurs in western mountains of China, and Taiwan, trying to end the One China policy by making it forceful … I said, and, by the, he said, he – he gets it. Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow."

And as you can see, he's saying that as POTUS, he must speak out against it because he is POTUS; that the US has different cultural norms than China and that we don't condone these things.


>>that the US has different cultural norms than China and that we don't condone these things.

No, what is he is doing is reassuring Xi that while he may have to speak out publicly about how many US Citizens will disagree culturally with china, rest assured that while He is president there will be no action.


This is mind reading. I don't do that.


>And as you can see, he's saying that as POTUS, he must speak out against it because he is POTUS; that the US has different cultural norms than China and that we don't condone these things.

But what is he saying about China's cultural norms? Your statement doesn't contradict this statement:

> Wow... Biden's stance is essentially it's a cultural difference.

They are focusing on what Biden thinks are Chinese cultural norms, and you are focusing on what Biden thinks are American cultural norms. The two statements aren't contradictory but also aren't complete.

Ultimately the press should ask for clarification and Biden should clarify. We shouldn't have to interpret like this. To my knowledge that hasn't happened.


> Your statement doesn't contradict this statement:

That statement is claiming that Biden says we shouldn't say anything because their treatment is just a "cultural difference".

Biden's whole statement literally says the opposite.


And what is Biden saying about how the Chinese leader should act based on history, expectations, and cultural norms?


Thanks for posting the whole thing. Kinda hard to follow in the video.


What are you high on? I have no idea how you can twist that into saying it's ok he doesn't like it. The hypocrisy of people condoning this when if Trump has said anything remotely similar they'd want him to hang.

He's also passing plenty more China friendly orders but sure he's definitely not "condoning" it. This is what's called "speaking out both sides of your mouth".

This is clearly Biden saying we don't like these things in the US but I'm not gonna do a damn thing to stop China from continuing on with genocide because it's their culture.So, he will continue to pander to his moronic supporters and they'll eat it up while he does nothing.


Can you please not post in the flamewar style to HN? This one combines personal attack, political flamewar, and nationalistic flamewar. We're trying to avoid all that kind of thing here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Then maybe you should consider banning political posts? Did you also reply to the individual defending our senile president who's condoning genocide? Allowing political posts and then turning around and telling people they can only comment in a specific way on them seems a bit counterproductive.

If you want to point out the fact that I called him high I guess you have somewhat of a leg to stand on for personal attacks. The other two things you listed as "flame war" material are literally no different than his comment defending Biden.


It's a little hard to say, although he specifically addressed the matter last week at a town hall meeting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JptyShvF2E8


This needs followup from the press and clarification.


"I point out to him no American president can be sustained as a president if he doesn’t reflect the values of the United States, and so the idea I’m not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uighurs in western mountains of China, and Taiwan, trying to end the One China policy by making it forceful … I said, and, by the, he said, he – he gets it. Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow."

Biden talking about conversation with Xi


"Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow."

On the face of it, this is shocking, disturbing, and disgusting. But I'm not prepared to pass judgment. Did he simply misspeak? Was there any clarification after the fact? Has the press followed up on this?


what happens next? Wouldn't this now imply canadians are now open to doing business with genocidal govt?


We continue to sell military equipment to Saudi Arabia despite objections to their actions in Yemen. A lot of what our gov't does is very ceremonial with no teeth


> We continue to sell military equipment to Saudi Arabia despite objections to their actions in Yemen.

But we never declared it a genocide. Isn't a big difference, otherwise why would this even be news worthy.


[flagged]


>Uyghurs (mostly on Chinese social media) pushing back against the charge of “genocide” by US politicians and Western media. Some of them are even laughing at the absurdity of it.

I see these kind of strange examples posted. Like you posted, and others usually involve travel stories where the person was supposedly in the region and "didn't see anything".

The general idea here is that the oppression has reached the level of genocide... with that in mind:

Are people supposed to find an oppressed people showing up on video convincing of anything? Is the opposite even possible from inside China?

Does anyone find hostage videos convincing?

Is "laughing at the absurdity of it" supposed to convince people of something?


> Is "laughing at the absurdity of it" supposed to convince people of something?

Look, no one can convince someone of something when they are hellbent on seeing things in a certain light. I’m sure if you look hard enough, you can find some Uyghur somewhere in those videos blinking out “HELP ME” in morse.

But if Westerners are hyperventilating over Uyghur genocide while thousands of actual Uyghurs living in Xinjiang are making videos laughing at the allegations, don’t you think there’s something wrong with that picture? Rhetorical question.

Here’s another great channel from an Uyghur Vlogger showing everyday life in Xinjiang (she posts on Bilibili but her fans have been reposting to Youtube). Nothing about that screams genocide to me, sorry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KvC89nKCHo


>But if Westerners are hyperventilating over Uyghur genocide while thousands of actual Uyghurs living in Xinjiang are making videos laughing at the allegations, don’t you think there’s something wrong with that picture?

This is what I don't get. Such reliance on one off social media examples.

If I found a video that said otherwise ... would that convince you? Why would you think it works the other way?

Such reliance on such heavily anecdotal things (on some social media posts) seems very ... simple / a strange way to choose what to believe or even convince people.


It's not only one-off social media samples...

When an actual genocide happens, you see massive flows of refugees trying to escape. Where are the news of massive flows of Chinese refugees in Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan?


It’s no different than how the entire Western media establishment has been relying on one-off style testimonies pushing atrocity propaganda and basing almost their entire genocide thesis off of anecdotal evidence.

You’re acting like it’s my goal or duty to convince you, which is not the case. You can choose to believe what you want to believe.

My simple goal here today is to make the point that the US has a long track record of manufacturing consent to achieve its geopolitical goals and that we all should be aware and on guard for it. This Uyghur genocide story throws up too many red flags for me.

Here’s Lawrence Wilkerson (retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell) being very candid about America’s interest in Xinjiang. Hint: it’s not because they care about Uyghurs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKBTT827b84


I don't think you're required to provide me anything at all.

>It’s no different than how the entire Western media establishment has been relying on one-off style testimonies pushing atrocity propaganda and basing almost their entire genocide thesis off of anecdotal evidence.

I think you greatly misunderstand how western media operates.

But that's not really surprising. I find folks who sympathize with non free states often misunderstand that their government's propaganda is not equal to how western media operates. It's just not a 1:1.


You are conflating my skepticism of the official US State Department narrative on China with “sympathizing with non free states”, which is quite telling.

> I think you greatly misunderstand how western media operates.

I definitely used to greatly misunderstand how Western media operates. I was naive to the extent that I believed the invasion of Iraq was necessary. Now I’m under no such illusions.

https://swprs.org/the-propaganda-multiplier/

https://swprs.org/the-american-empire-and-its-media/


The Gray Zone is not a trustworthy news source.

To start, Gray Zone founder Max Blumenthal attended the same expenses-paid 2015 gala in Russia, celebrating RT's 10-year anniversary, at which Jill Stein and Mike Flynn were photographed sitting with Vladimir Putin. Like Flynn, Blumenthal was paid to be there:

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/flynn-putin-din...

One month after the gala, Blumenthal founded The Gray Zone. At this time he did a 180 from his earlier anti-Assad reporting to become one of that dictator's biggest supporters:

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/bruce-bawer/usef...

The Gray Zone also publishes pro-dictator reports on Venezuela, another ally of the Russian government. Here's a 2019 video of Blumenthal personally & cheerfully receiving honors from Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who has ruled that country by violence and decree since 2015:

https://twitter.com/NicolasMaduro/status/1156588153945427970

Here's a piece that goes into detail on shortcomings in The Gray Zone's Venezuela reporting. Blumenthal and his employees have denied the existence of that country's ongoing humanitarian crisis, in which 20% of the Venezuelan population has fled the country as economic refugees:

https://medium.com/muros-invisibles/grayzone-grifters-and-th...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venezuelan_refugee_crisis

Not all of The Gray Zone's reporting is flawed, but there's enough to make me seriously question their aims and journalistic integrity. Their source of funding remains obscure. They don't run ads, don't sell subscriptions, and their Patreon is tiny, yet they're flying people all over the world. Blumenthal is also now a frequent Sputnik and RT contributor. It's my suspicion that they're a propaganda outlet aimed at Western skeptics, the anti-war crowd, and intellectuals.


They're using "genocide" in the same sense of the word as people who allege "white genocide", i.e., to mean that policies are reducing fertility of a certain demographic.

Specifically, they allege:

> the use of arbitrary detention, political re-education, forced labour, torture and forced sterilization

The traditional, dictionary definition of genocide is "the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group".

To use genocide in this other sense seems to me disingenous; it's an attempt to invoke the strong emotional reaction we have to mass-killings when that is not what is alleged to be ocurring.

It is, in a sense, fake news: many people will see just the headlines, and assume that China is in fact carrying out vast, demographically targeted killings.


No, they aren't.

They are using genocide as a generally accepted legal term, and not a dictionary definition, or an interpretation of the root words that make up the word. Read the definition of genocide as it pertains to international law by reviewing the UN page on the topic[1].

There is a specific meaning, and it relates to the intention of destroying the Uigher people as a cultural identity through a campaign of imprisonment, physical harm, forced sterilization and family separations. Each of those are detailed in well respected publications around the world, and links to the articles backing that can be found by reviewing the citations on the Wikipedia article on the Uigher Genocide[2].

[1]https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide.shtml [2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uyghur_genocide


Ah, I see. Interesting. So the claim is (I presume) that China is "imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group" with "intent to destroy".

Fair enough.

(It's too late to edit my comment, but I would strike out the disingenuous claim if I could.)


> In contemporary international law the crime of genocide is part of the broader category of “crimes against humanity,” which were defined by the Charter of the International Military Tribunal (Nürnberg Charter). The charter granted the tribunal jurisdiction to indict and try the leaders of the Nazi (Nazi Party) regime for inhumane acts committed against civilians, as well as for acts of persecution on political, racial, or religious grounds; in so doing, it also contributed to the international criminalization of other forms of abusive conduct. The momentum created by the Nürnberg trials and the ensuing revelations of Nazi atrocities led to the passage by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly of Resolution 96-I (December 1946), which made the crime of genocide punishable under international law, and of Resolution 260-III (December 1948), which approved the text of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the first UN human rights treaty. The convention, which entered into force in 1951, has been ratified by more than 130 countries. Although the United States played a major role in drafting the convention and was an original signatory, the U.S. Senate did not ratify it until 1988.

> Article 2 of the convention defines genocide as

> any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

> (a) Killing members of the group;

> (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

> (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

> (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

> (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

This is from Encyclopaedia Britannica 2010


This is largely a (smart) political move by the opposition right-wing party.

Canada is embroiled in a political issue with China right now. They're holding a Huawei exec named Meng Wanzhou at the request of the US, who are investigating Huawei for violating sanctions against China[1].

China retaliated by arresting two Canadians without apparent cause[2]. They're been in jail for two years.

The Conservative party put forth this motion for a vote as a move to put Trudeau's Liberal government in an awkward place: they would either condemn China's treatment of the Uighurs and make the Michaels/Meng Wanzhou situation more painful, or they wouldn't and would appear to condone genocide.

FWIW I suspect Trudeau and the Liberal party do believe Uighur treatment to be genocide (I do). But stating it publicly would make life even more difficult for them.

1- https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46462858

2- https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/two-michaels-mark-two-jailed-y...


It's supported by the NDP, Greens, and Bloc as well. In fact, it was all Yay and Abstains.


None of those parties are the Cabinet, the face of Canada on the international stage, and the one China is looking at.


AFAICT from the way that China's diplomats engage with Canada, they don't seem to understand how Canada operates. While the PMO is powerful, it's not able to dictate how the judiciary operates or pass legislation without house/senate approval.

OIC notwithstanding, I guess. ;)


>it was all Yay and Abstains.

not surprising. Voting nay would be political suicide.


The liberals abstained but the far left like the NDP and Greens and the centrist conservative party all voted in favour. Overall, they would be included in voting in favour but abstaining was just politics.

I think the reality is that it's not really genocide. It's not a holocaust in that sense. Rather than genocide, the reality is that it's Gulags. Communism basically can't function without some sort of forced labour. Vietnam has their "Rehab concentration camps", USSR had the gulags, North Korea has their concentration camps: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pukchang_concentration_camp

It's not genocide exactly. The problem is that China can't give up their concentration camps.


Genocide is a bit of a hyperbole if you looked at what happened to the Jews/Cambodia under Pol Pot/Rwanda Tutsi's and Armenians.

It would call it forced cultural assimilation by taking away their religion , language and culture and making them conform to the dominant Han culture.


Meanwhile at home, Canada tortures people. [1]

[1] https://www.vice.com/en/article/93wj78/canada-is-torturing-i...


Yes. This is a problem, and folks in Canada are working to hold our government to task for it, in the same way we are working to hold our government to task for other bad acts.

I am not sure what point you are trying to make?


If you can't see the difference between this and what's happening in China, I don't know what to tell you.

We can agree that solitary confinement is also bad, and still think that China's treatment of Uighurs is much, much worse.

Your whatabboutism is not helpful. Nor is it original, deep or interesting, to be frank.




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