There had been intensive internal debate after US Congress passed legislation on December 27 requiring the Government to determine within 90 days whether forced labour or other alleged crimes against the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities were crimes against humanity or genocide.
"In addition, after careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that the PRC, under the direction and control of the CCP, has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang".
U.S. Secretary of StateMike Pompeo has determined that China's "morally repugnant" treatment of the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the country's Xinjiang region amounts to "crimes against humanity" and "genocide". He said a revised amendment will now be put to the House or Lords, Britain's upper legislative chamber, as the bill goes through the parliamentary process known as "ping pong". "The Secretary made the determination in his role. that this is the tool that we need to deploy at this time in order to advance this vitally important cause".
China has been widely condemned for its Xinjiang complexes, which it describes as "vocational training centers" to stamp out extremism and give people new skills and which others have called concentration camps. It denies accusations of abuse.
Unlike many decisions by Mr Pompeo seen as boxing in President-elect Joe Biden, the genocide declaration could be welcomed by the new administration. -China ties having plummeted to their lowest level in decades during the past year of President Donald Trump's administration.
Meanwhile, he said he hopes his probable successor Antony Blinken will not launch an "apology tour" after the Biden administration takes office.
Then-Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates said previous year that the Chinese Communist Party's policies amounted to a "genocide".
Xinjiang is a major global supplier of cotton, so the order could have significant effects on worldwide commerce.
China has imprisoned more than 1 million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups, in a vast network of concentration camps, according to U.S. officials and human rights groups.
Politicians across the political spectrum have called on the United States to declare that China is carrying out genocide against the Uighurs, saying that evidence was increasingly clear.
Last week the United States imposed a ban on all cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang.
After the US announcement, other nations could be prompted to make a similar determination. As the U.N. Office on Genocide Prevention notes on its website, "To constitute genocide, there must be a proven intent on the part of perpetrators to physically destroy a national, ethnical, racial or religious group".
The State Department officials declined to say if Mr Pompeo consulted with Mr Biden's team, but noted there had been bipartisan support on the Uyghur issue for a number of years.
A USA official said while there was no mandatory legal response to the determination, it did trigger a review of visas for entry to the United States.
US officials briefing reporters on the move said in a call that "an exhaustive documentation of [China's] own policies, practices and abuse in Xinjiang" viewed by Pompeo led him to make the determination that such acts had been committed since at least March 2017.
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