(CNSNews.com) — Up to two million Uyghurs — men, women, children — are in Chinese concentration camps today, and the U.S. State Department has declared that China is engaging in “genocide and crimes against humanity” in reference to the Uyghurs. The genocide has been condemned by many nations.
However, when Tik Tok CEO Shou Zi Chew, from Singapore, was asked by Congress last week whether he agreed that the “Chinese government has persecuted the Uyghur population,” he did not say.
Tik Tok, a video hosting platform very popular with young people, is owned by ByteDance, a Communist Chinese company.
Chew was questioned at a March 23 hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee entitled, “How Congress Can Safeguard American Data Privacy and Protect Children from Online Harms.”
During the hearing, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) asked, “Mr. Chew, do you agree that the Chinese government has persecuted the Uyghur population?”
He replied, “Congresswoman, you — if you use our app, and you open it, you will find our users who gave all sorts of content [inaudible].”
Lesko interjected, “That’s not — that’s not my question. My question is, do you agree that the Chinese government has persecuted the Uyghur population?”
Chew said, “Well, it’s deeply concerning to hear about all accounts of human rights abuse. My role here is to explain what our platform does on this –.”
Lesko tried again, “I think you’re being pretty evasive. It’s a pretty easy question. Do you agree that the Chinese government has persecuted the Uyghur population?”
Chew replied, “Congresswoman, I’m here to describe TikTok and what we do as a platform.”
The exchange continued,
Chew: “And as a platform, we allow our users to freely express their views –.”
Leso: “All right.”
Chew: “On this issue or any other issue that matters to them.”
Leso: “Earlier today — well, you didn’t answer the question. Earlier today, Chairman [Cathy McMorris] Rodgers [R-Wash.] asked you, and I quote, ‘Have any moderation tools been used to remove content associated with the Uyghur genocide, yes or no?’ Your answer, ‘We do not remove that kind of content.’ Yet, in 2019, TikTok suspended the account of Feroze Aziz, an American 17-year-old after she put out a video about the Uyghur genocide.
“So, your answer, sir, does not align with history.”
Chew: “That particular case was a missed moderation.”
Chew: “I believe that video had a picture of Osama bin Laden.”
Chew: “So, we thought it was content that was inappropriate.”
Leso: “No. Yeah, I looked it up. That was a different post that they banned.”
Chew: “I can get back on the specifics, yes.”
At that point, Lesko’s time ran out and the questioning then turned to a Democrat member of the committee.
The camps where the Uyghurs are detained are in northwest China, a region called the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
In a 2021 report, the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, on behalf of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, concluded that “the People’s Republic of China bears State responsibility for committing genocide against the Uyghurs in breach of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) based on an extensive review of the available evidence….”
It further explained that under Article II of the Genocide Convention, China has the “intent to destroy” the Uyghurs. It then presented several facts to bolster its conclusion. These include the following:
— In 2014, President Xi Jinping launched the “People’s War on Terror” in XUAR. “High-level officials followed up with orders to ‘round up everyone who should be rounded up,’ ‘wipe them out completely … destroy them root and branch,’ and ‘break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins.’” Chinese officials likened the mass internment of Uyghurs to “eradicating tumors.”
— “[F]orcibly sterilizing Uyghur women of childbearing age and interning Uyghur men of child-bearing years, preventing the regenerative capacity of the group and evincing an intent to biologically destroy the group as such. … Uyghur women are subjected to forced IUD insertions, abortions, and injections or medication halting their menstrual cycle.”
— “[I]n 2017, China began building a vast network of massive State-run, highly securitized boarding schools and orphanages to confine Uyghur children, including infants, full time.”
— “[S]ystematic torture and cruel treatment, including rape, sexual abuse, exploitation, and public humiliation, at the hands of camp officials and Han cadres assigned to Uyghur homes.”
— “Internment camps contain designated ‘interrogation rooms,’ where Uyghur detainees are subjected to consistent and brutal torture methods, including beatings with metal prods, electric shocks, and whips….”
In 2019, the China Tribunal, an Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China, concluded that “forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale and that Falun Gong practitioners have been one — and probably the main — source of organ supply. The concerted persecution and medical testing of the Uyghurs is more recent and it may be that evidence of forced organ harvesting of this group may emerge in due course.”
The tribunal also said that if the accusations against China are proved, “they will, inevitably, be compared to the worst atrocities committed in conflicts of the 20th century; but victim for victim and death for death, the gassing of the Jews by the Nazis, the massacre by the Khmer Rouge, or the butchery to death of the Rwanda Tutsis may not be worse than cutting out the hearts, other organs and the very souls of living, blameless, harmless, peaceable people.”
Since the Communists took over China in 1949-50, an estimated 65 million Chinese have been killed for political reasons, according to The Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press).
Many American parents, educators, and members of Congress — from both sides of the political aisle — are very concerned about Tik Tok because the evidence available shows that the Chinese Communist Party can access Tik Tok user data. This apparently is a potential threat to national security.
Tik Tok users reportedly surpass one billion worldwide and more than 150 million in the United States.
In December 2022, the Tik Tok app was banned from U.S. government devices.
Last week, House Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said of Tik Tok, “I want to say this to all the teenagers … who think we’re just old and out of touch. You may not care that your data is being accessed now, but there will be one day when you do care about it.”
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