Whenever you think about China what comes into your mind? Mobiles, laptops, alibaba.com or Jackie Chan, but does it ever occur to you or does it ever cross to your mind that nearly 3 million people are being held by China for so-called ‘re-education’, I am also pretty sure that a very few of you would even have the idea that China is indulging in such a gross violation of human rights on its own citizens for just a single reason, being a minority in China. If you have heard about this for the first time then read on.
China, the most populous country in the world, the second largest economy in the world, and the fourth largest country in the world looks just perfect from the outside but as you dig deeper you will discover how brittle this country is. Around 4,000 kilometres away from its capital, Beijing, lies the city of Kashgar or as the Chinese have renamed it Kaxgar. At one point of time, the city woke up every morning with the sounds of Muslim prayers from the local mosques but now only the sounds of marching boots of policemen wearing bullet proof jackets, having shields on one hand, batons on the other and a rifle on their back are heard. The Uighurs, are an ethnic minority who live in the Xinjiang province, which lies in the far western China. The capital city of Xinjiang is Ürüqmi. Uighurs are ethnic Chinese Muslims who have been living in Xinjiang for centuries. Uighurs essentially are a Turkic origin ethnicity who inhabit a lot of central Asian countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, etc. Not a very long time back it was revealed that Uighurs are being taken into so-called ‘re-education’ camps,which are run by the Communist Party of China or CCP. The numbers of these camps are speculated, some say that there are only around ten while other say that they go beyond hundreds.However, earlier China had never acknowledged that it had these education camps, which the world today label as detention centres. But after leaked documents of the CCP were published in the New York Times and were also highlighted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist (ICIJ), this whole inhuman project of social engineering of China with its Muslim citizens came to light. So, first let’s understand as to what is the Chinese Muslim genocide?
Majority of people who live in China are Han Chinese. This is the majority ethnic group in China which accounts to nearly 91% of the whole Chinese population. But there are several different ethnic groups who live on the other parts of China. Like Tibetans in Tibet, Mongolians in Inner Mongolia, Manchus in Manchuriaand so on. CCP for a very long time has considered the Han Chinese as the prime citizens of China. The Han Chinese, mostly loyal to the Communist Party command most of the high ranking posts in the government. They are also given an unspoken preference over all the other ethnic groups.This grand and ruthless plan of social engineering was initiated by Xi Jinping himself. Under the plan, various detention centres were opened and people were taken into these detention centres for crimes that are so small and negligible that it’s painstaking to even think about how China is committing crimes on its own people. Victims say that people like them are sent to detention camps for doing things like reading the Qur’an, learning Arabic, not eating pork, not speaking Chinese, travelling overseas and contacting people overseas without taking permission from the government. One victim even said that he was taken into the detention centre and was locked up for over seven years just because he had opened a kindergarten school which started teaching Uighur language. The people in Xinjiang are not allowed to speak to journalist and journalists themselves are not allowed to interview any person in Xinjiang without a permission from the government itself. This tells us as to how scared is the Chinese government about the truth of its activities being told to the world. Whenever someone is taken into a detention centre, their DNA samples are taken, their face and voice recognition is done. Victims have even claimed that pregnant women are forced to abort their children against their will. Moreover, on the other hand children are taken away from their mothers and sent to hostels which also act as re-education centres for children. The Chinese government has gone to such extents that now it does not even allow its citizens to keep the names freely, names like Muhammad have been banned in Xinjiang. Apart from this the most sophisticated surveillance systems are placed all over Xinjiang to monitor each and every activity of Uighurs. And based on these systems, the Chinese government stops any kind of revolutionary activity to take place. Think of it this way, cities like Kashgar, Hotan and Aksu in Xinjiang have CrPC 144 imposed on them but for life.The majority Chinese population which sits on the eastern corner of China blindly approves of this activity and this is where the Chinese government’s PR team comes into action. China has for long time taught its citizens about the so-called,‘The Three Together’. Which translates into Eat Together, Live Together and Work Together. Via this major statement the Chinese Communist Party wants to ignite a feeling of Nationalism in its citizens. The CCP, has for a long time told its citizens and has made them to believe that anybody who raises their voice against the Government of China, is raising a voice against the idea of China and against the people of China. The largest mosque in China, the Id-Kah Mosque in Kashgar was made out of bounds for its own worshipers. When the Uighurs protested against this action the Chinese government ‘appealed’ to its citizens that it should maintain unity and it should not stop the government for doing‘development work’. It is estimated that nearly 5,000 mosques in Xinjinag have been demolished and moreover converted into government buildings. The Chinese government calls the Education Campus, Vocational Centres where vocational training is done but the police forces here lockup the people and if the detainees do not obey the rules then not allowed to talk to their fellow inmates and they are not even given their food. Moreover to get your food you have to sing some songs without which you do not get anything, an example of which is, “Without the Communist party there won’t be a China,and the Communist party toiled for the nation”. If a detained citizen refuses to do these activities, they can also be shot dead. Chinese government also justifies its activities in Xinjiang because at one point of time this region was a hub for terrorism. Terror outfits like East Turkestan Liberation Organisation (ETLO)and East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) were mostly of Uighurian background and are even supported global terror outfits like Al-Qaeda and Tehreek-e-Taliban. These organisations demanded a free Turkestan or Xinjiang and did not want to be a part of China. The reason given by these people was that the cultural difference between these mainland China and Xinjianghuge and that China is trying to exert influence on to them. And therefore they want an independent nation. Though this is not the first time that China is trying to influence the culture of a place to make that place its own, we can see the very recent example of Hong Kong, where people still protesting day and night against thetyranny of an expansionist China. The difference between Chinese detention centres and the ones run by Nazis is that the Nazis wanted to kill the Jews. Whereas the Chinese are onto something even worse. It has no plans of killing the Uighurs but instead they want to kill their heritage, their culture, their language, their religion, their ethnicity and their pride. In short they want to carve out the ideal communist Chinese forcefully out of an ordinary citizen. This is the type of hyper nationalism that China wants in each of its citizens. Moreover this hyper nationalism is not directed towards allegiance with the nation but for the supreme Chinese Communist party. Cruelty in these cases goes beyond all measures. It is alleged that whenever an Uighur man is taken away by the Chinese authoritiesthe woman of the house is forced to live with another Han Chinese man and even forced to sleep on the same bed. Whenever a whole family is taken into detention centre their house is given to another Han Chinese family so that even when they come back to their houses they cannot find one.
But we have to ask, if we know so much about China then why anyone isn’t doing anything. This is where China’s economic supremacy comes into place. All of us have seen various activists speaking up for the independence of Palestine, about the Human Rights violations committed by the Israeli Defence Forces, Human Rights violations committed by US defence forces in Syria and the Human Rights violations committed by Saudi Arabian forces or Turkish forces in the middle eastern region but nobody ever, not even a single Muslim majority or Islamic Republic Nation has ever criticized China. The reason is that basically all of the Muslim majority nations around the World are under the debt of China. China has been building huge number of infrastructure projects and providing aides to these Nations and thus these Nations can’t really speak up. A very viable example is that of our beloved neighbour Pakistan. Pakistan has been very vocal about India and the Human Rights violation that India commits in Jammu and Kashmir, even though the evidence of it is not substantial. Still Pakistan goes on and on with this. But the Pakistani Government and the Pakistani people have never even bothered about this gross Human Rights violation in China. Muslims in China are forced to speak Mandarin, forced to not read the Qur’an. They are even forced to drink alcohol and eat pork even though it is forbidden in Islam to do these activities. But nations like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and numerous other Islamic activists have never spoken or been even vocal about this issue, the reason being, money. International politics also plays a major role here, any resolution which needs to be passed by the United Nations needs the vote of all the five UNSC (United Nations Security Council) members and China is part of this council. Even if the United Nations wants to pass a resolution against China based on these Human Rights violations, China would never let that happened because it has what we know as a ‘veto power’ with which it can stop any resolution passed by the UN without giving any reason whatsoever.
We as students also need to be ask is that, do Uighurs deserve such a treatment by their own countrymen. Does it not hurt you as a student that we in India have the right to question the government, that we in India have the right to protest against the government but in China if you do so, you will be taken into a detention centre and not released for years on end. I am not saying that we are the perfect democracy but at least we can fight for our rights. All of us students have the right to investigate and to go to which ever part of India we want and to which ever part of the world we want. But what about students and children in Xinjiang? They can’t learn about their culture, they can’t learn about their language, they can’t be sure whethertheir parents will be with them, they can’t maintain the name which was given by their parents and sometimes they can’t even meet their parents because they are forcefully sent into Foster homes. What have the Uighur children and students done to deserve this? The only crime according to Chinese government that they have committed, is that they are Muslim.
Respect all human beings irrespective of their religion, caste, sex, language, status, property, birth and so on.
Aniket Singh Chauhan
Feature Image Credits: Foreign Policy