Two Uighur organizations accused China of genocide and crimes against humanity in international court, NBC News reported Wednesday.
The two organizations—the East Turkistan Government in Exile and the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement—have retained human-rights lawyers based in London and the Hague to make the case for Chinese prosecution in the International Criminal Court. The complaint marks the first time Uighurs have used an international court to combat China's abuses against the ethnic group.
Compiling more than 20 accounts from survivors of Uighur labor camps, the legal team hopes to take aim at approximately 30 senior Chinese Communist Party leaders, including Chinese president Xi Jinping.
The Uighur population in Xinjiang—a province in western China—totals roughly 11.7 million, according to Chinese government figures. At least one million Uighurs are detained in forced labor camps, where Chinese authorities forcibly sterilize and torture the ethnic Muslims.
The new complaint in the international court follows the Trump administration's recent actions to fight Chinese human-rights abuses, including the passage of the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act in June and efforts to cut U.S. funds to United Nations programs that work with the Chinese government. In a July report, the administration's Commission on Unalienable Rights singled out China as a particularly pernicious abuser of individual liberty and religious freedom.
"Where the previous administration and many other world leaders delivered speeches and empty rhetoric, President Trump has taken bold action," National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot told the Washington Free Beacon last month. "President Trump's policies have demonstrated that every person—the born and unborn, the poor, the downcast, the disabled, the infirm, and the elderly—has inherent value."