The Globe reports on the recent parliamentary declaration that labelled the Chinese government’s acts against its Uyghur Muslim minority as genocide. Despite clear evidence of the atrocities, including forced labour, sterilization and forced abortions, the Liberal cabinet did not vote in support of the declaration, most likely out of concern for two Canadians being held by the Chinese.
This lesson is designed for senior students working at home or in class. Using the article and the Internet, students will learn about the Uyghurs’ plight, as well as their own possible complicity via their purchases of goods that may be products of forced labour.
Start with this activity: ask students to check their clothing, shoes, any articles they have with them, to see what’s been made in China. At home, they can check their closets, computer, TV and pretty much any object they can find. They are to make a list of those that are manufactured in China.
Subject Area(s) covered
Social studies, international law, current events
New Terms to explain
Genocide, Geneva Convention, Uyghur, incarceration, intrauterine
Access to the article, the Internet, especially:
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
Key things students can learn from this lesson
- Why the Canadian parliament voted to declare acts against the Uyghur genocide;
- How the declaration relates to the Geneva Convention of 1948;
- Ways in which students–and all of Canada–can show support for freeing the Uyghurs.
Action (here’s how we’ll do it)
Here’s an old-fashioned fill-in-the-blanks exercise. Students will need the link to the Geneva Convention on genocide, above, as well as this article to complete the following:
Consolidation of Learning
- When they’ve finished their assignment, students will revisit their list of Chinese-manufactured objects and try to determine whether they might have been made using forced labour.
- Explain the reasons why the Canadian parliament voted to declare acts against the Uyghurs as genocide;
- Describe how the declaration relates to the Geneva Convention of 1948;
- List ways in which students–and all of Canada–can show support for freeing the Uyghurs.
- Students critically examine objects made in China relative to their questionable production practices.
Helpful Internet Searches
Activities to do together
- If students identify as Chinese, they could discuss the issue with their parents or other family members.
- Note the source of articles as they are purchased, to become more aware of the conditions that those who make them might have to endure.