Uyghur Muslims

The new Disney adaptation of the 1998 Disney animated movie, Mulan has recently highlighted a human rights issue happening now in China, the oppression of the Uyghur people.

The Chinese government is allegedly oppressing the Uyghur people and some Muslim ethnic groups in the region of Xinjiang through forced re-education in concentration camps and, forced sterilization among its women. 

Moreover, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is currently under heavy surveillance from the Chinese government.

According to the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), an international organization representing Uyghur interests in East Turkistan and abroad, since 2017, more than 1 million Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslims have been detained in concentration camps in the region of Xinjiang. 

In an Orwellian kind of situation, Uyghur Muslims are taken to these camps to undergo “re-education” and various human rights violations.

According to WUC, survivors say that the camps are a way to assimilate Uyghurs in the culture of the Chinese majority. 

Moreover, re-education is a way to “stabilize” the autonomous region of Uyghur. 

Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim groups in the diaspora communities are not that safe either. 

In a report by Amnesty International, many Uyghurs outside China are still experiencing repression from the Chinese government.

Chinese authorities track and intimidate them using social messaging apps. 

In many cases, China threatens them with their families and friends who are left in Xinjiang.

Despite reports and evidence against China, the Chinese government still denies that such violations are happening in the country.

Just recently, the Chinese Ambassador to the UK denied footage in a BBC interview. 

The footage shows Uyghur Muslims possibly being sent to a Xinjiang concentration camp. 

The ambassador also made an excuse saying it is normal to transport prisoners in various countries. 

Moreover, the economic implications against other countries and information blackout from China are also possible reasons why actions against the Chinese government are quite slow in the international community. 

For example, Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country in Asia and a former haven for the Uyghur people has reportedly succumbed to CCP pressure.

This is due to China’s massive assistance in Turkey’s economy through huge investments. 

According to recent reports from the Telegraph and Axios, Muslim dissenters are repatriated to China by sending them to a third country before being deported to China. 

Islamophobia In China Might Have Been Influenced By The West 

The crackdown on Uyghur Muslims might have been influenced by the West’s Islamophobia and the idea that Islam is related to extremism and terrorism. 

In 2006, the US State Department declared the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a terrorist group. 

Controlling extremism and violence in the region has been China’s justification for its extra surveillance and control against the region. 

Moreover, China has often blamed the group for inciting violence and extremism in the region of Xinjiang. 

According to some reports about the Uyghur situation in Xinjiang, the re-education of Muslim Uyghurs is an effort by the Chinese government to purge out Muslim doctrines, which it deems dangerous.

Legally Everyone Has To Take Action

A group of human rights lawyers from England, the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC), maintains that China has the responsibility to uphold the rights of its minorities due to various international treaties. 

China, being a signatory to various agreements on human rights protection can be sanctioned by international bodies for its treatment of the Uyghur people and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

According to BHRC, because of these agreements, other States have the responsibility to create measures in preventing China’s violation under international laws.

China’s actions against the Uyghur people are rising to a level of genocide through its forced sterilization of women and reshaping the ethnic group’s cultural ideologies through concentration camps. 

It also violated its commitment to another Convention to eliminate “all forms of racial discrimination.”


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