By Umar Mohammad
April 26, 2022
UPDATED 12:00 PM EST
[Photo Credit: TRT World]
We have all come across this significant issue, at least once from a passerby, or from a mere Instagram post. The topic is nothing new, but the fact that such a calamity is still occuring is a cause of great alarm. The Uyghurs are a minority ethnic group that reside in Xinjiang, with a population of 12 million people. The Chinese government has been trying to reduce their numbers through ethnic cleansing, which is defined as the systematic removal of a certain group of people based on their race, ethnicity, or religion through methods such as deportation and genocide to create a homogenous population.
Countless pieces of evidence have been made aware to the international community, but China has chosen to ignore and deny this information. The state sends the Uyghurs to “re-education camps” when in reality, they are confined in concentration camps. In these places, the Uyghurs are indoctrinated such that they forget their culture. According to the BBC, there is evidence that forced labor, sexual abuse, torture, and sterilization are prevalent in these camps. The government sends in Han (ethnic majority) Chinese men to reside in the homes that are left, breaching family households. Children are taken away, brainwashed, and undergo forced assimilation. All this is done under the guise of public betterment to stamp out ‘Islamist militancy’ and separatism. All forms of religion have been banned.
The genocide began in 2014, which started off with mass arrests. This torment is still ongoing. What triggered this extreme action was some tension between the Hans and the Uyghurs. Chinese government officials insist that the entire race plots against the state, causing unrest and discord, leading the government to rule over with an iron fist, in order to maintain supposed peace. The state’s official reason for the mass arrests is because of these claims, however, in no way does these reasons justify the erasure of a whole culture.
In light of this situation, a few countries have boycotted the Beijing Olympics, including The United States, Japan, Canada, Australia. Cotton from Xinjiang is also apprehended in the United States due to the forced labor used in the process. Additionally, the EU took part in multilateral sanctions, including the ban of products produced with unjust labor. Although the situation is receiving a significant amount of attention, more support is required to help. To support the Uyghurs against this genocide you can sign petitions, raise awareness, or simply contact political bodies.
News, B. (2021, June 21). Who are the Uyghurs and why is China being accused of genocide? BBC News; BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-22278037
News, B. (2019, November 24). Data leak reveals how China “brainwashes” Uighurs in prison camps. BBC News; BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-50511063
Regencia, T. (2021, July 8). What you should know about China’s minority Uighurs. Aljazeera.com; Al Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/8/uighurs-timeline