China calls ‘genocide’ what the United States did to Native Americans

The Chinese Embassy in Washington DC released a statement titled “The American Indian Genocide – Historical Facts and Real Evidence” in the “news” section of its website. The statement identifies the definition of “genocide” and goes on to state that “under international law and its domestic law, what the United States did to the Indians covers all acts that define genocide and unquestionably constitute genocide.”

The Chinese Embassy did not respond to Indigenous News Online‘s requests for comments.

The article is a brief but in-depth look at the American Indian experience from the time of the Declaration of Independence and the “vilification” of American Indians with the phrase “ruthless Indian savages”. It further explores the vicious and genocidal atrocities committed against Native Americans by the U.S. government and white settlers, and cites numerous U.S.-based nonprofits, media, and thought leaders on the matter.

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Select citations from the article:

“The American soldiers considered the massacre of the Indians as natural, even an honor, and would rest until they were all killed. Hateful rhetoric and similar atrocities abound and are well documented…”

“In 1930, the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs began sterilizing Indian women through the Indian Health Service program. Sterilization was carried out in the name of protecting the health of Indian women and in some cases even carried out without the knowledge of the women. Statistics suggest that in the early 1970s over 42% of Indian women of childbearing age were sterilized…”

“Unfortunately, to whitewash this part of the story, American historians often glorify westward expansion as the continued economic development of the American people on the western frontier, claiming that it accelerated the improvement of democracy America, stimulated economic prosperity, and contributed to the formation and development of the American national spirit.They make no mention of the brutal slaughter of Native Americans.

The article also explores the issue of Indian boarding schools and disenfranchisement, in addition to the failure of American schools to properly teach Native Americans as part of United States history. He points to former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum as an example of this ignorance:

“[Santorum] said publicly… that ‘We have raised a nation out of nothing. I mean, there was nothing here…but frankly, there’s not a lot of Native American culture in American culture. His remarks rejected and denied the influence of [I]indigenous peoples in American culture.

To put China’s deeply documented statement into context, we spoke with Perry Link, chair of the chancery for interdisciplinary education at the University of California-Riverside, and a Chinese scholar who has spent much of his career at Princeton.

The article is coming out now, he said Indigenous News Onlinedue to controversy in recent years over the incarceration and treatment of Uyghurs in China’s northwest Xinjiang region.

In Trump’s final days in office, Link says, his administration called China’s oppression of Uighurs “genocide.” The Biden administration has maintained this position.

“It’s a radioactive word,” Link said, adding that using it forces the government to take action. For the government labeled as having committed it, “it’s embarrassing”. Link points to the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton debated whether to use “the G-word”.

In the case of the Uyghurs, “you have this proud People’s Republic of China which is very worried about its international image”. And, he says, he is deeply resentful of being called a genocidaire.

“One way to fight back is to look at how native people have been treated,” Link says. “It’s a good report. They did their homework. Americans should be ashamed of that. Genocide applies. All of this is fair.

However, while the United States is currently grappling with its past and present atrocities with Native Americans, China, on the other hand, is not.

“In fact,” Link notes, this report is in part an “attempt by the Chinese government to cover up and disguise” the Uyghur genocide.

Uyghurs are an ethnic minority, they speak a different language and they are Muslim, Link explains why they are targeted by a government that is wary of groups that might organize and cause unrest. Daily life in Xinjiang is very different from the rest of China. The time is even different, because Xinjiang is naturally 3-4 hours later than Beijing. (All of China is in one time zone, Beijing time.) “There’s their time, and there’s the official time, so there’s a bifurcation even there,” Link says.

Link says the number of Uyghurs who have been killed is hard to say, although he says the number currently in prison camps is between 1 and 2 million.

“They’re hoping to blunt criticism of what they’re doing,” Link says. “And that can work in part. It’s a good report. It’s a sad story, and it will give many Americans the impression that yes, we don’t have to criticize others. This is the psychological effect that the report aims to trigger.

Link notes that it won’t work on all Americans, and that just because the US government isn’t squeaky clean doesn’t mean Americans can’t speak out against injustice and atrocities committed by other governments on other peoples.

The Chinese Embassy article ends by exposing the US government’s genocide and hypocrisy:

“The massacre, forced resettlement, cultural assimilation and unjust treatment that the United States committed against the American Indians constituted de facto genocides. These acts fully meet the definition of genocide in the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and have been continuing for hundreds of years to this day. It is imperative that the US government abandon its hypocrisy and double standards on human rights issues, and take serious racial problems and atrocities in its own country.

“I sympathize with Native Americans and Uyghurs,” Link says. “In a sense, they’ve suffered equally, and it’s great that that bond is made… They’re comrades in abuse. Beaten underdogs who have been unfairly beaten. It gives them [connection].”

For more on the Uyghur situation, Link recommends China File and the People’s Court in the UK

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Nohemi M. Moore