BY MUSKAAN CHOUDHARY
According to the recent reports, the communist Chinese government has been holding Uyghur Muslims in China under a strict surveillance system, or to be more concise, in concentration camps. These concentration camps – now more than 85 in number – violate multiple basic human rights including forced labour, genocide, torture, etc. Critics say that these camps are nothing but a way to brainwash the Muslims and supress their religion all for the economic growth of the Chinese government. Currently, there are around 1 million people who have been detained in these camps. The numbers show that since these camps started functioning that is since around 2017, a cumulative total of 3 million people have been to them.
The Xinjiang region of China has been under the Chinese government since 1949 and includes the Uyghur Muslim minority. Fully legalised by the Chinese government, a huge part of the Han Chinese Community (China’s ethnic majority) started migrating to Xinjiang. Feeling threatened, the Muslim community began rioting. These riots happened around 2013 – 14 and have been claimed with full responsibility by the Uyghur militants. However, the government is allegedly holding these attacks over their heads as an excuse to declare them as “terrorists” or “extremists”. Initially, they completely even denied the existence of these interment camps but after a while they claimed them to be “re-education” camps.
The images that came out of these camps showed the facility tightened with barbed wires and fences, armed men, strict surveillance and various other aspects that would beg to differ from what the Chinese government wants us to believe. After all this evidence proves one fact that these are concentration camps. A camp which is so inhumane hasn’t come into existence since World War II, when the Nazis and Hitler subjected Jews to various forms of torture.
A few reports say that the government is only subjecting the Muslim minority to these horrendous camps for economic gains. Xinjiang has been an important region for agriculture and trade since centuries, has been declared a “special economic zone” due to its rich oil and mineral supplies. This region has also been china’s largest producer of natural gas, hence making it a very important asset in China’s road to become the next world dominating country by implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – a trillion-dollar infrastructure project – by far the most ambitious project the world has seen [Source: PBS News Hour]. China has claimed that this plan is for the benefit of a number of nations, while many countries have agreed, a whole lot also believe that this is simply a plan to turn China into a superpower and will result in them losing their sovereignty.
In a recent event, there were found several leaked reports which further prove the fact that the “voluntary vocational centres” are actually massive detention camps set to brainwash the minority of their religion, beliefs and culture. In 2017, the government restricted them from growing long beards and wearing veils, banned certain Muslim names for babies and tried to promote drinking and smoking. People were often taken into camps for reasons like praying after meals and not following China’s family planning policies. Women are forced to take contraceptives or abort. In October 2019, Radio Free Asia, a news agency backed by the US government, also reported that Han Chinese men were being sent to check in on and sometimes sleep with Uighur women, including those whose husbands were detained in the camps. The “Pair Up and Become Family” program, as it is called, is designed to “promote ethnic unity,” one local official explained [Source: Vox]. Several survivors also reported being forcibly sent into industrial set ups to work as skilled or unskilled labourers. After the revelation of these details, a number of big names in the fashion industry and various other industries stopped importing from China.
In a July letter to the UN Human Rights Council, 22 countries – mainly European – agreed to condemn the Chinese leadership, whereas 37 countries – including Muslim dominated countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Syria, Pakistan and UAE – defended China’s “remarkable achievements in the field of human rights” by protecting their country from “terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism “ [Source: PBS News Hour]. Hence, it is essential for the entire world to look into this matter, realize what exactly is going on and take immediate action against the Chinese government. A breach in human rights of this extent should be considered intolerable. Take the holocaust as an example, the Jews are left scarred for an eternity. The torture, pain, inhumanity they were subjected to has been accounted for in practical terms but can never be accounted for in terms of the trauma caused to its survivors or their generations that came along. Another holocaust is at its verge, or has it already begun?