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23 February 2022

Letter of the week: Uncovering genocide

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I wanted to congratulate the New Statesman on its special report on the Uyghur tragedy, especially the article by John Simpson (“Behind Xi Jinping’s Great Wall of Iron”, 18 February). It was passionate and well informed. Yet I was surprised there was no reference to Geoffrey Nice QC’s independent tribunal assessing the alleged genocide. (He prosecuted Slobodan Milošević at the Hague.) Witness after witness and document after document made clear the scope of oppression of the Uyghurs by the Chinese state.

Perhaps most chilling was the evidence of the population expert who, partly using data released by China, compared the size and nature of the Uyghur population with its Han neighbours. It is clear that by 2040 there will be millions fewer Uyghurs than there ought to be. This is not surprising given forced sterilisations, abortions, family break-ups and the “re-education” camps employed by the Chinese Communist Party. The tribunal’s judgment, condemned by China’s embassy in London, makes it plain that the genocide is all too real.

Rob Dunster, Rugby, Warwickshire

Alpha the elephant

There would be no risk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine (Cover Story, 18 February) if the president of Russia was a woman. None of the tyrants throughout history have been women.

The preponderance of men in positions of power is potentially dangerous, and the current combination of unsavoury alpha males strutting the world stage is creating a perilous situation. This is the elephant in the room that is never addressed.

Mary Slinger, Highnam, Gloucester

Whiff of hypocrisy

Martha Gill (Newsmaker, 11 February) writes that the journalist Holly Watt, “who helped break the parliamentary expenses scandal” in the Telegraph, was accused by irate MPs of failing to “understand the system”. The obvious joke was not laboured. Throughout the 12 years I spent at the Telegraph, we journalists understood the system all too well.

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Nevertheless, on more than one occasion I was rebuked by the expenses department for scrupulously itemising hotel claims (lunch, phone calls and so on) rather than submitting the bill en bloc. Therefore, it struck me in 2009, at the height of the Telegraph’s wallowing in the “scandal”, that the whiff of attendant hypocrisy was not entirely confined to the editorial floor.

Patrick Barclay, London SW13

Sticking-together plaster

Rachel Cooke’s critique of This Is Going To Hurt (The Critics, 11 February), an otherwise excellent drama, struck a note with me. The programme shows NHS doctors treating patients – and one another – with contempt. In reality, the NHS functions due to goodwill between staff and patients: we are all the victims of under-resourcing. The abuse doled out between colleagues rings particularly hollow. Having worked as an NHS doctor for more than a decade, I can say the culture is one of camaraderie between doctors, as well as a sense of privilege in treating patients.

Dr Alexander Carpenter, cardiology registrar, Bristol

Mention the war

Andrew Marr asks: “Would MPs remove their leader while an actual war in another European country is happening?” (Politics, 18 February). Didn’t something like that happen in 1940? Maybe Neville Chamberlain jumped rather than being pushed, but there was a change of leader while war in another European country – and in this country – was happening.

Dave Sissons, Sheffield

Curtains for austerity

I am surprised to read of curtains in Hove (Down and Out, 28 January). I would have thought no curtain could have survived austerity and the lack of funding for local government.

Jennifer Hopkinson, New Zealand

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This article appears in the 23 Feb 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Darkness Falls