For the first time, a minority in China is trying to use international law to hold Beijing accountable for alleged ill-treatment, including mass internment and repressive measures against their religion, reports NBC News.
Two organizations of Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority who historically lived in what is now northwestern China, filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court, accusing the Chinese government and certain senior officials of crimes against humanity, torture and genocide.
A similar litany of allegations formed the basis for new visa restrictions that President Donald Trump's administration introduced for several Chinese officials in July. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited "forced labor, arbitrary mass detention and forced population control" in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.
The more general allegations, filed in the court commonly known as the ICC, are that the Chinese government enforced birth control and sterilization programs among the Uyghur people, carried out mass surveillance and massacres in Xinjiang, and forced some individuals to inform informants about overseas to become living Uighurs.
Beijing has repeatedly denied any ill-treatment of the Uighur minority and insists that its anti-terrorism measures have been taken in Xinjiang. The lack of independent reporting in Xinjiang makes it difficult to gauge the extent of terrorist and militant attacks there, but there is no question that the region has seen several deadly attacks on civil, military and government targets over the past decade.
Read the full story on NBCNews.com