Denial is said to be the last stage of genocide. Yet for some time it has been apparent that, despite the crimes being perpetrated against the Uyghurs being ongoing, we have already reached this stage. It is an even greater shame that much of this denial is appearing, not from the right as one might expect, but from the left. A desire to protect the image of the largest communist state overpowering any moral grounding.
Over the past few years we have seen increasing genocide denial. In 2019 the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust released a study that showed 1 in 20 UK adults do not believe the Holocaust happened and 1 in 12 believe it has been exaggerated, while 1 in 5 believe the number murdered was less than 2 million.
"Genocide denial is, as Professor Deborah Lipstadt describes, a “threat to our democracy”. We cannot equivocate on our morals."
Similarly, denial of the genocide in Bosnia is growing. Srebrenica mayor, Mladen Grujicic, accepts that Bosniaks were killed but that genocide is the wrong term; apparently the massacre that occurred in Srebrenica in 1995 wasn’t that bad after all. Other genocides of the 20th century like Rwanda also face the threat of denial.
But it isn't just the past that is up for debate.
Today we can see similar denialism being circulated by major publications about the horrors the Uyghurs face. This week saw Vince Cable, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, calling for the west to “engage with the Chinese” and pushing genocide denial, in the Independent. He argues that the claims are merely being fabricated by the west for their own ends and that the Chinese government are justified in their acts due to a plausible “terrorist threat”.
Apparently Vince didn’t get the memo that you’re meant to start denyin