By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - A bipartisan group of US senators has introduced a resolution seeking to label China's abuses of its minority Uighur population a "genocide," the Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced Tuesday.
Jim Risch joined John Cornyn and Robert Menendez in introducing the resolution Monday. It seeks to hold Beijing accountable for its policies and would start the process to coordinate an international response to bring them to an end, the committee said.
“The Chinese government’s systematic use of forced sterilization, abortion, and other practices in Xinjiang is truly abhorrent,” Risch said in a statement of the Chinese region home to some 10 million Uighurs.
“These actions targeting Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities constitute genocide, and I am proud to join colleagues on both sides of the aisle in introducing a resolution that defines them as such. The United States and countries around the world must continue to draw attention to what is happening in Xinjiang,” he added.
Beijing's policy in Xinjiang has drawn widespread criticism from rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who accuse it of ostracizing the 12 million Uighurs in China, most of whom are Muslims.
The region is home to 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45% of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused China's authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.
Up to 1 million people, or about 7% of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of "political re-education" camps, according to US officials and UN experts.
The camps have been linked to forced labor and mandatory sterilization.