Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been almost universally condemned by his country’s mainstream press for refusing to say the G-word about China and the Uygurs. “We are extremely concerned about that and have highlighted our concerns many times. But when it comes to the application of the very specific word ‘genocide’, we simply need to ensure that all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed in the processes before a determination like that is made,” Trudeau said this week. “It’s a word that is extremely loaded and is certainly something that we should be looking at in the case of the Uygurs.” Whatever his reason or weakness, though, he is actually right. He is also following the international norm, as no other governments besides the United States have condemned China for genocide, though plenty have singled out its actions as blatant violations of human rights. I don’t think there is any doubt that severe repression and human rights breaches have been, and are being committed, by the Chinese state in Xinjiang. China deserves to be called out and pressured to reverse the more repressive measures. As a Chinese, I am ashamed as I have always hoped, and continue to hope, that Beijing would pursue more enlightened policy with its domestic minorities. But China is not committing genocide. Genocide is what the Nazis did to the Jews, or what happened to the Armenians during the first world war and the Tutsis in Rwanda. The United Nations’ Genocide Convention has a very clear and narrow definition, and whether or not a country is guilty of it is not up to the say-so of Washington. It has codified: “Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” What the US has been doing in recent years, but especially under former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, is to cheapen and politicise the term for its own purpose by calling out the crimes of foes while keeping quiet about those it and/or its allies have committed. In his book, A Different Kind of War: The UN Sanctions In Iraq , Hans-Christof von Sponeck, a former UN assistant secretary general and UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq who resigned in protest, denounced the sanctions regime engineered by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair with UN support as amounting to genocide. And if we want to use the debased, free-for-all word to describe China’s repression in Xinjiang, it would, with more justice, be applied to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, and what two of its closest allies in the Middle East have been doing in recent years, with US-supplied weapons, intelligence and military-logistical support. China’s dirty hands need to be called out, but not by the US with its own terribly bloody hands.