The Uyghur Muslims are a Turk-speaking minority group that originated from the general region of central and east Asia and are recognized native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China. Islam arrived in Xinjiang in the 10th century and became the dominant religion in the region. Most Uyghur Muslims practice a branch of Islam called Sufi, which is usually tolerated.
The Uyghur Muslim and Chinese government have a long history of tensions/conflict. According to a 2009 Time Magazine article, riots broke out in Xinjiang in response to a violent dispute between Han Chinese works and Uyghur Muslims. This dispute leads to over 100 being killed by Uighur Muslim extremists and racists. The Time magazine article had shed light on some of the current tensions with the Uyghur Muslims and the government.
This included the order of participation in Haj in Mecca to be limited and forbidding Uyghur employees working for the government from fasting during Ramadan’s holy month. The chinse authorities also had permitted Iman’s at every mosque and dictated the type of sermons presented in Friday prayers. When the 9/11 attacks had occurred, tension reached a breaking point, and Beijing convinced Washington to list the Uyghur Muslim group living in the Xinjiang region as a terrorist group, resulting in some Uyghur Muslims being captured by coalition forces in Afghanistan.
On April 22, 2018, a satellite had swung over China’s far west, which had shown photos of a highly secure compound with 16 guards tower. These are how most of these camps look like in China, currently, 380 concertation camps have been spotted. These concentration camps are cultural genocide as they are meant to strip people’s traditional culture and language. Since 2019 it has been estimated that more than 1.5 million people, including Uygur Muslims and other Muslim minorities, had been forced into these camps and held over for two years.
China has continuously denied the camps’ claims of being concentration camps and have claimed they are nothing but reintroduction camps.
They have stated the camps are vocal training camps and are meant to counter extremism.
The camps are there to help teach new skills and help people find jobs with their skills. The blueprint, however, presented a different story. According to BBC news, new data leaked by the Chinese government found that the Deputy security of Xijin, the communist party region’s top security official made instructions for the camp. These rules never allowed anyone to escape, increase discipline, punish behaviour for violations, promote repentance and confession, make Mandarin studies a top priority, encourage students to transform truly, and ensure full surveillance of dormitories classroom. The end goal of these camps is to erase Islamic belfies and rephrase identities. These camps to date are still currently being operated in different regions in China.
On October 19, 2019, British UN ambassador Karen Pierce delivered a joint statement at the general assembly on behalf of 23 countries. The 23 countries discussed these camps’ conditions. They called out china to comply with the national and international obligation to respect human rights, freedom of expression, and belief and allow the UN to first-hand monitor these camps. However, a group of more than 50 countries had opposed and sought to “commend China’s remarkable achievements in the field of human rights.”
This statement was delivered by Belurs and was joined by Egypt and Russia. Just last month in October, during a parliamentary hearing in Ottawa, Canada’s deputy prime minister called out Beijing policies on Uygur Muslims as a genocide. This, in turn, led spokes for the foreign ministry of china to reject all claims stating Canada was trying to interferon countries’ internal affairs and made “groundless claims.”
So you might be wondering when all of this information presents the leaked data, why are these camps still running?
Why is there a lack Of responses from countries to do anything? Why are we letting a cultural genocide occur?
According to the Uyghur human rights project, Washington, it is taking a long time to stop these camps because china is a big country and reckless country. Therefore other governments are more hesitant to take a stand. James Leibold, an associate professor in politics and Asian studies at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, stated, there is “subtle, unarticulated bias against Islam.” Islamophobia is well and alive, and “Muslims, unfortunately, have very to little sympathy globally at the moment.”
According to Vox news, the way the U.S. could contribute right now to help with the situation on Uyghur Muslims in china ls through four steps. Firstly the U.S. should build coalitions; the U.S. should build coalitions with like-minded countries such as France, Japan, and Germany to create diplomatic, economic pressures on china and the Uygur issue. Secondly, the U.S. should cause economic pain until its reverse course.
The U.S. could stop importing products that have been made by Uyghur Muslims unwillingly, which would lower china’s revenue, and other countries might follow, putting China under economic pressures. They could also keep sanctions going and keep pressuring sponsors to back out of china for the 2020 Benji Olympics. Thirdly, the U.S. could continuously shame china for abuses the Uyghur Muslim face by continually putting them out in the media by using military satellites to take photos of the concentration camps. Lastly, the U.S. could continuously support affiliated Uyghur support groups by providing more money/ funding to the Uygur support groups that help them in the forefront.