While there was so much of speculation and anticipation surrounding the Rohingya Muslims crisis in Myanmar, it occurred to me that the same news coverage was not explicitly done to the Uighur Muslims of China. The tremendous outrage on the Uighur Muslims needs to be addressed and thereby in the article, it will be an attempt to breakdown why the Uighur culture is under threat.
Uighurs are mostly practicing Sunni Muslims who make up for 11 million of the total Chinese population. They live in Xinjiang, an area northwest of China and borders Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia. Nearer to the Central Asian countries, the Uighurs consider themselves culturally similar to them and speak a language that is close to Turkish.
However, Xinjiang was under chaos when in 2009 there were riots by the Uighurs for the Chinese ill treatment of the minority groups. Xinjiang is a major logistics hub of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative which would help the country to boost its power – so it’s no clue why China is closing in on bringing Xinjiang under its control even more. This has led to more outbreak and curbing of religious freedom of the Uighurs.
In November 2018, The United Nations Rights Council reprimanded China for detaining around one million Uighurs in the western Xinjiang region of China. These Uighurs were detained in ‘re-education-centres’ where Uighurs are ‘re-educated’ to understand their place in the Chinese society.
These include interrogations as to why they went abroad, why they wore clothes that they weren’t supposed to, openly criticizing or praying at the wrong place at the wrong time etc. In addition, there is increased brainwashing and extreme torture.
Shohrat Zakir, Xinjiang governor, said classes were given on Chinese history, language and culture, and people in the centres were provided with "free diets". However, sources believe that some are kept in isolation sans food and water, are even prevented from sleeping’.
But the Chinese have overlooked the torment by saying the camps are ‘enriching experiences to eradicate extremism’ as part of the ‘de-extremification’ policy.
The ‘de-extremification’ policies are generally repressive, such as banning new-borns with Muslim names, facial recognition technologies to track down residents, confiscating phones to download information, seizing passports to prevent trips abroad etc.
The Chinese are dismissing foreign comments against the camps as ‘politically driven’ to hold them in China, rather than leaving the country. The camps, as stated by the top officials, are vocational centres to teach the detainees ‘valuable skills.’
What’s more is that the Chinese refuse to give substantial information and instead, present misleading data or completely refuse the accusations made against them. But leaked documents and papers are helping outsiders to understand the real situation at hand.
The worst part of the whole scenario is there is no strong nation to without the mistreatments against the Uighurs. The US urged Trump administration to place sanctions on officials having a hand in the Uighur detainment but it seems nothing has worked out so far.
If you're interested to help, check out these website which provides a detailed list of what action you can take:
We can't afford to be quiet so let's take a step ahead do whatever we can, for the sake of humanity!