Mr. Speaker, doing what is right is rarely easy but it is often simple. Today, we are calling on the House of Commons to do a simple but hard thing: to recognize the reality that the Government of China is committing genocide. In this speech, I will seek to make the case for that reality, for greater certainty and for the benefit of those who have not heard the evidence before. I do so knowing that among scholars and experts, as well as among members here who have reviewed the facts, there is no serious basis for disputing them.
What makes the 1936 Olympics different from the 2022 Olympics is that in 1936, we did not know about the Nazi concentration camps. We had not seen the piles of children's shoes, the mounds of human hair or the bodies of victims being bulldozed. In 1936 we did not know, but today we do.
My sister and I went to Berlin a couple of years ago to discover, up close, the stories of members of our own extended family who were sent to concentration camps. We visited a site of deportation and we visited Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the outskirts of the city. What struck me, visiting those places, was that these were not in isolated locations. The deportation site we saw was surrounded by tall apartment buildings. Even the concentration camp had three- and four-storey buildings at a reasonable proximity, such that everyday people could have come to an understanding of at least some of the horrors that were taking place there simply by looking out their windows.
I thought about the people in those buildings who were neighbours to such horrors. What were they thinking? What action did they take or not take as they saw their neighbours, friends and fellow human beings taken away and massacred? I say to my colleagues today that they are the people in those apartment buildings.
All of us can see a genocide taking place in China, as we speak. Thanks to satellite imagery, we too can look down and watch people being loaded up and taken away. Thanks to survivor testimony, we now know about systemic rape and torture in these concentration camps. Thanks to published or leaked Chinese government documents, we can see an abrupt turn and plunge in birth rates following the commencement of a policy of forced abortion, forced sterilization and forced insertion of IUDs.
Anyone who says that there is not enough evidence is simply too cowardly to look through the window of their computer screen. Some here have drawn the curtains so they do not have to see the march of desperate humanity outside their windows, but for them there is still no excuse.
Imagine having been a member of Parliament in the 1980s who opposed taking action against the apartheid regime in South Africa. Imagine having opposed sporting boycotts targeting that regime, saying that athletes should not be political pawns. Imagine having claimed that there was not enough evidence of violations of human rights, or that we should wait for our allies, and then imagine someone having to explain that decision to their grandchildren 40 years later in terms of why they failed to do the right thing. I say, for every member of the House, that in the decades to come we will have to explain our votes to our children and grandchildren. They will likely not be satisfied if we tell them that we had not familiarized ourselves with the issue or we were just following our party whip.
So that there shall be no excuse, let me lay out again the clear case for the simple motion whereby Parliament would make an official declaration of genocide.
Canada is a party to the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which provides a clear legal definition of genocide and outlines our obligations in terms of response. As a definition, the convention says:
...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:
(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.
As my colleagues have mentioned, only one of the criteria needs to be established to necessitate a determination of genocide. The Government of China's treatment of Uighurs likely involves all five of the above, but in particular, the evidence that the government's actions respond to criteria c and d, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”; and, “Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”, is now completely irrefutable.
In the summer, the all-party Subcommittee on International Human Rights heard two full days of testimony from experts and survivors. Upon hearing the information, all members of all parties who had heard the evidence unanimously agreed to recognize that the actions of the Government of China constitute genocide.
Leading researcher Adrian Zenz told the committee the following:
Starting in 2018, a growing number of female internment camp survivors testified that they were given injections that coincided with changes in or cessation of their menstrual cycles. Others reported that they were forcibly fitted with intrauterine contraceptive devices...or subjected to sterilization surgeries.
Also in 2018, official natural population growth rates in Xinjiang plummeted. In Kashgar and Hotan, two Uighur heartland regions, combined natural population growth rates fell by 84% between 2015 and 2018.... For 2020, one minority prefecture set a natural population growth target of near zero....
New evidence shows that drastic declines in population growth are not merely linked with the campaign of mass internment but also related to a systematic state policy to prevent births in minority regions....
Further down, he continues with:
A stunning 80% of all newly placed IUDs in China...were fitted in Xinjiang, even though the region only makes up 1.8% of the country's population. By 2019, Xinjiang planned to subvert over 80% of women of child-bearing age in the southern four minority prefectures to birth control measures with “long-term effectiveness”. This refers to either IUDs or sterilizations.
The subcommittee heard that this campaign of sexual and reproductive violence including placing non-Uighur men to live in the homes of Uighur women after their husbands had been taken away. This community is subject to systemic sexual violence, which includes the rape of women inside and outside of concentration camps.
The subcommittee heard from many survivors, including Ms. Sayragul Sauytbay. She told us:
In the concentration camps, the Chinese Communist Party guards rape the women and girls they want. It's daily....
In one of the examples I remember, I was giving a lesson at a class on the Chinese language when they brought back a young lady. When she entered the class, she couldn't even sit on the chair. She just fell down on the floor. They started calling everyone by number. Every girl has a special number. They don't call them by their names; they call them by their numbers. When they called that girl by her number, she said, “I'm not a girl anymore, because they raped me.”
She further continues that one day,
[The guards] brought 200 prisoners to the hall, and they picked out one young girl, about 20 years old, and they forced her to accept the guilt for something that she never had done. She was crying and she was saying that she was guilty even though she was not guilty. She accepted it in front of the 200 prisoners. Then the Chinese guards—