China engages in genocide and we're looking away
China is a multi-ethnic country. There are currently 56 different nationalities living there. One of them is the so-called Uighurs.
They are the largest Turkic-speaking ethnic group in the autonomous region of the Uyghur nationality of the People’s Republic of China (Xinjiang; marked in red on the map). Around nine out of ten Uighurs live there. According to the 2010 census, more than ten million Uighurs are now living in China.
The majority of Uighurs belong to Islam. In addition to the Uighurs, there are still around ten million Muslims living in the People’s Republic. This makes China one of the largest “Muslim” states in the world. China, on the other hand, is a secular state and the majority of the population does not belong to any religion. By contrast, 20 million Muslims are in a minority, making up just 2% of China’s population.
This minority has been persecuted in China for some time now and deported to concentration camps.
Concentration camps for 1.5 million muslims
It has been suspected for several years that there are such re-education camps in China. Those camps do not only violate the human rights of the United Nations, but also seemed to have been unapproved in China itself for a long time. Patrick Poon of Amnesty International, for example, says that since October 2018, there has been certainty: “In the past, this has not been formulated so clearly, but now: the local authorities are building facilities in which people are re-educated and transformed.”
However, he also stresses that this approach has not been legalised even though it is now in the Chinese rules. Amnesty International continues to call on the Chinese government to refrain from this “arbitrary internment.” While the Chinese government still denies such deportations, more than 1.5 million Muslims are being held in such camps, according to the latest figures from the United Nations and human rights organizations. “Political re-education as state-given reintegration aid” is what Li Xiaojun, director of media affairs at the Chinese State Council, calls it.
»No, they are not mistreated there. They get professional education and training so that they can find better jobs and are better prepared for the future. And they also get basic knowledge of our law.«
In recent years, unrest and terrorist attacks have been more frequent in Xinjiang Province. The Chinese government sees extremist Uighur groups as responsible. For security reasons and to ensure stability, the region has therefore become a surveillance state. Religious freedom and the cultural self-determination of the Muslim population are increasingly being restricted.
Why do the muslims get locked away?
The Chinese government cites security aspects as justification. The above rules are intended to encourage local authorities to “educate” people classified as extremists. Officially, these rules are therefore referred to as ‘regulations on de-radicalisation‘. Adrian Zenz, who is researching Xinjiang Province, describes the situation differently:
“I think the goal is a strong synchronisation to achieve control. […] This is particularly directed against religions or other ideologies that are in competition with communism. Xi Jinping [secretary of state] also talks about the sinification of religion. That religions must adapt to the Chinese context.”
Under the guise of the fight against terrorism, one thing is to be practised above all: political and religious re-education. Islam should get out of the minds, the communist party in. But more-over there is another reason.
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In the video you can see Aydin Anwar, an American Uighur activist who draws attention to the grievances in China.
“They are forced to denounce Islam, adopt atheism, and pledge allegiance to the Chinese state” says Anwar.
She also reports on the arbitrariness with which the authorities persecute and imprison Muslims: “One of [the reasons] could easily be you were in contact with someone abroad, you have a family member abroad [or] you engage in religion.”
Anwar also cites the resource wealth of Xinjiang Province as a possible reason. This way, the Chinese government could gain control of the autonomous region’s raw materials.
As a place of deportations, some villages and towns are already almost deserted.
The chinese genocide in Xinjiang
Aydin Anwar also reports in the video on how to deal with Muslims in Xinjiang province. “They would spend hours on end chanting in their crowded cells, ‘There is no such thing as religion’ […] and if the detainees disobey, or if there’s any type of resistance there is torture being used.”
Anwar talks in detail about finger nails and toe nails as well as teeth being ripped out and that people are bitten by snakes during interrogations- sometimes to the death. In addition, people would be sterilized so that they could no longer reproduce. Uighur women are forcibly married to Han Chinese in order to get rid of the next generation of Uighurs.
There are no official figures on exactly how many people are being held in the camps and how many people have already died there. Anwar says that the bodies of the deceased are not handed over to the families as usual, but that they are cremated- methods that were already used in the Holocaust to eliminate the many corpses in a space-saving manner.
The Chinese government is committed to genocide – why do we not read about it in our media? Why do Western governments not intervene?
Why did we not hear about the genocide yet?
The fact that we in the Western world do not notice much of the genocide in China can certainly have several causes. However, the fact that our media do not report on it or that the Western world has not known about it is not one of these possibilities. The video of Aydin Anwar was released in 2018. It also shows the address of Scott Busby, a U.S. State Department official who speaks of at least 800,000 known cases of deportation to such camps. German media such as Tagesschau, Fokus, FAZ, SPIEGEL and Die ZEIT have also reported on this sporadically since 2018. Unfortunately, these reports have received as much attention as the fires in the rainforests in Bolivia, Siberia and Africa.
China has tightly controlled its media, so a lot of what's happening can't really be revealed outside to the rest of the world.
Governments are forced to remain silent due to chinese pressure.
Other governments do not react in the interests of economic and diplomatic relations.
China, as a permanent member of the United Nations, has a right of veto and can avert resolutions.
But: In order to combat the genocide in China, the issue must generate attention. Attention increases pressure on governments and encourages them to respond. You can also support local Uighur communities. In Germany, the largest Uighur community is located in Munich.
Deportations and genocide must never be silenced, regardless of which population groups are affected.