The Story of Uyghur Muslims

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The Uyghurs are Turkic ethnic group living in east and central Asia. They are primarily living in Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region in the People’s Republic of China. Uyghur are mainly Sunni Muslim.

The development, from 1950’s, of mineral resources and opening up of the region for cotton production, brought an influx of ethnic Chinese which drastically altered the province’s ethnic balance.

In 1949 Xinjiang had 3.2 million Uyghurs and only 1,40,000 Chinese. Now the 40% is Hans and 47% is Uyghurs, out of the total population of the region. They are living their lives under the constant fear of getting outnumbered.

Many Uyghurs complain of discrimination and marginalization by the Chinese authorities. Anti-Hans and separatist sentiments have become more relevant since 1990’s, flaring into violence on occasion.

Uighurs had a difficult and uncomfortable sort of relationship with Chines authorities. They have their own language, culture and ethnically distinct from rest of Chines population. Also, the fact that they are Muslim in a country that is aggressively secular is tough for them.


The Endless Suffering

This ethnic group in China systematically surveilled and poisoned in attempt to wipe their culture off the map. The Chinese government is treating them terribly.

A UN panel says that the region resembles a massive internment camps. A lot more than 1 million Muslim minorities have been rounded up detained and forcibly indoctrinated by Chinese regime.

Witness account, satellite imagery and communist party documents reveal what appears to be the largest imprisonment of people on the bases of religion since holocaust.

Uyghurs are shifted across China, and not always willingly to work in factories. The irony is the very close thing we all are using in this pandemic outbreak; the PPE kit and mask are made by Chinese companies who used Uyghur labors to produce it.

In Beijing,Uighurs are dispersed across the city. Many works at streets and restaurants. The stand out due to unique features. Some have Chinese hold prejudices against them, they see people from Xinjiang as robbers and thieves.

Part of the discrimination is which top jobs in the country are given to Chinese people over Uyghurs. A better understanding of this can be understood by comparing the condition of Shudras in India back in early 20th century.

A riot in between the Uighur Muslims and Han Chinese in 2009 had killed more than 200 Hans. Hence the state is claiming the same as religious terrorism. Things escalated when xi jinping came as president and instituted in 2004 what is known as strike hard campaign against violent terrorism.

The Uighurs are seen as potential terrorist in china. Not only that Chinese authority had kept these people under heavily policing area and under surveillance, like when you go to a Uighur area you will find a camera at every 100 metres and over every house entrance. By this government keeps tab on their activities.

The extreme steps that are taken by the government is horrifying. They have identified 75 behaviors that indicates religious extremism. The examples of this will blow your mind, for example people who store large amount of food, or a sudden change in drinking and smoking habits etc.

Though the arguments provided by the other side that is Chinese govt is that, they are just being proactive and taking necessary precautions to avoid any terrorist activist or riot situation. They believe that one should not wait for criminal to commit a crime when they are capable to prevent.

The issue remains the same the Uyghurs are arrested and thrown in the Re-educational camps despite committing no crime. The individual arrested is separated from his/her family and cannot meet them, on their own will neither can leave the camp.

The camps are not only designed as prison but also have rules like that. The situation in camps is worst and stand in contraction what Chinese govt speaks about it as an educational camp.

In an interview a detainee shared that they only go to washroom once in a day and have to make sure that they are quick by any chance if they are late , electric shocks are the outcome .and the victim have to later say that ‘we will be quick from next time’

The authority also controls the abortion process, birth rates and sterilization of this ethnic group. There are number of things which government is doing that is leading to cultural erosion of the community. 

They have created massive labor transfer for their own good. Australian strategic policy institute investigated that for 2 years more than 80,000 labors are transferred from Xinjiang to china.

There are horrific practices hidden in the supply chain of global capitalism. There are 83 foreign and many Chinese companies that are directly or indirectly benefited by Uyghur Muslim.


Across the World

USA has taken little initiatives over this issue like imposing sanctions on Chinese officials over mass detention of Uyghur Muslim, the house also passed Uyghur human rights policy act earlier this year. Though trump signed it but later said that Xi is doing right by building camps and educating them.

United Kingdom has led 22 countries at UN in disapproving china regarding the country’s detention of Muslim. The issue is supported by Australia, France, Germany, Canada and Japan.

But the government across the countries should come forward and speak on this issue also UN should look more deeply and concerned in the matter. And hire journalist and investigators to look into china ‘s detention camps.

The companies related to it should not only clear their supply chains but take some strict action that could actually impact china financially and create pressure on the government.


In Nutshell

The current scenario in which Uyghur Muslims are living can be compared with the book 1984 written by George Orwell where he discussed about a dystopian world, where government controls every movement of the citizens.

The situation in China is not only about how they are dismantling the ethnic minorities but also that people don’t have the basic rights like privacy .It is a huge humanitarian crisis in the world and major steps should be taken for the same by countries all over the world united.

Human rights should be kept above everything and should be non-negotiable.


Written by – Shalaka Pathak

Edited by - Adrija Saha

The Story of Uyghur Muslims The Story of Uyghur Muslims Reviewed by Adrija Saha on August 02, 2020 Rating: 5

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