The CCP Congress & China’s Human Rights Abuses

Written by Camden Hanley – September 5, 2022

Two major events occurred in Chinese news this past week that require attention. The date of the 20th Party Congress has been announced and the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights office released its report on the PRC’s actions in Xinjiang.

The 20th Party Congress will be held on October 16th in Beijing. A CCP Party Congress is held every five years and the top leadership roles in the party are determined for the next five years. At the 20th Party Congress, it is widely expected that Xi Jinping will be given an unprecedented third term in office as leader of the PRC. In the 1980’s, Deng Xiaoping instituted a two-term limit to prevent one man rule or the creation of a cult of personality forming around future leaders. This third term will further cement the powers Xi has been accruing over his tenure in office. New members will also be elected to the Politburo and the Politburo Standing Committee as several members have passed the unwritten CCP retirement age of 68–something Xi (69) has conveniently bypassed. The congress will occur as the PRC faces a myriad of issues domestically and internationally including heat waves, a property market crisis, the UN report, Taiwan, and more.

The UN report had much to say about the PRC’s actions in Xinjiang. It confirms much of the reporting that has been done about the PRC’s treatment of Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. It refers to “human rights violations” and says the PRC’s actions “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.” Notably, the report does not use the word genocide as some activists and the US government have in the past. It makes several recommendations including the PRC release individuals who have been “arbitrarily deprived of their liberty” and clarify the whereabouts of people missing in Xinjiang whose families have been seeking information about them. A spokesperson for the PRC said, “This so-called assessment is orchestrated and produced by the U.S. and some Western forces and is completely illegal, null, and void,” calling it “a patchwork of disinformation.” Other foreign leaders have called on the PRC to act on the report’s recommendations.

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