For the past two years, China has claimed that the camps in the Xinjiang province are “vocational skills training centers.” New information has recently come forward confirming fears that these are concentration camps housing Uyghur Muslims.
The Uyghur people are a Turkic ethnic minority, most of whom are Sunni Muslims. Around eleven million Uyghur Muslims live in the Xinjian region of western China.
Muslims in China who attempted to go on a pilgrimage, worshipped at a mosque, or had “suspicious” friends (among other reasons) were targeted and sent to concentration camps or prisons. Over a million Muslims have been held at these for the last two years. They do not receive a lawyer, bail, or a trial.
Inside these camps, detainees are forced to renounce their religion and culture. Uyghurs are forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, both of which are forbidden by Islam. They are subjected to vocational classes for practical skills and taught about Han Chinese language and culture.
A woman who managed to escape a detention center named Sayrugul Sauytbay has stated that she was subjected to beatings and starvation, and she witnessed medical experiments performed on other prisoners. In fact, the UN Human Rights Council learned that the Chinese government has harvested organs from imprisoned Uyghurs and other ethnic minority groups.
Some detained have since been released after passing a “graduation exam,” which supposedly assesses a “student’s” Mandarin skills, understanding of Chinese law, and practical skills. Chinese officials have refused to reveal the criteria they use to determine a person’s release.
However, many Uyghur Muslims are still incarcerated. BBC reports that leaked instructions state that strict discipline, punishment, and absolutely no escapees are all aspects of these camps.
The BBC article says:
The memo includes orders to:
– Never allow escapesRoland Hughs (BBC)
– Increase discipline and punishment of behavioural violations
– Promote repentance and confession
– Make remedial Mandarin studies the top priority
– Encourage students to truly transform
– [Ensure] full video surveillance coverage of dormitories and classrooms free of blind spots
Strict requirements are also in place for sitting, laying, sleeping, eating and going to the bathroom, among other things. Over fifteen thousand people were sent to these camps in just one week in 2017.
BBC also reports thats detainees are awarded “points” for “ideological transformation, study and training, and compliance with discipline.”
Outside of these detention camps, Uyghur Muslims have been relocated from camps to be used as factory labor for big corporations, such as Apple, Samsung, and Nike. China has installed surveillance software on Uyghur’s phones and prevented them from communicating with people outside of the Xinjiang region.
Because the majority of Uyghur Muslims sent to camps and prison are men, Chinese men of authority have been sent to women’s homes to monitor them and sleep in their beds while their husbands are detained; the Chinese government has said that this program is to “promote ethnic unity.”
China is pressuring Han Chinese men to marry and reproduce with Uyghur women in an attempt to “dilute” Uyghur genetics (read: ethnic cleansing). These women are vulnerable to sexual abuse and unable to turn down forced marriage proposals.
While the Uyghur men are taken away to concentration camps, the Uyghur women are forced to marry Han men. The girls nor their families, can reject a forced marriage, for fear of repercussions. If they say no, then they will be viewed as Islamic extremist who didn’t want to marry non-Muslim Chinese. So, they cannot reject a proposal.Rushan Abbas (Campaign for Uyghurs)
Additionally, Uyghur women are made to regularly take pregnancy tests. If they test positive, they are forced into abortions. China has also forced women to be fitted with IUDs to prevent pregnancy, and some have even been sterilized. These measures have impacted hundreds of thousands of Uyghur women.
What can you do about the concentration camps?
Help spread the word by sharing this article and other with friends and families. At this time, it is hard to do much else, especially considering that this crisis is taking place in a foreign country that continues to deny the mistreatment and oppression of the Uyghur Muslims.
ANI News. “China Advertises Marriages to Uyghur Women to Attract Han Men into Xinjiang.” ANI News, ANI News, 1 Aug. 2020, www.aninews.in/news/world/us/china-advertises-marriages-to-uyghur-women-to-attract-han-men-into-xinjiang20200801224718/.
Bostock, Bill. “China Is Forcibly Sterilizing Uighur Women and Giving Them Unwanted Abortions in a Mission to Purge the Muslim Minority, Report Says.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 29 June 2020, www.businessinsider.com/china-forcibly-sterilizing-uighur-women-xinjiang-abortions-contraception-ap-2020-6.
Hughes, Roland. “China Uighurs: All You Need to Know on Muslim ‘Crackdown’.” BBC News, BBC, 8 Nov. 2018, www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-45474279.
Kelly, Jack. “China Moves Uyghur Muslims Into ‘Forced Labor’ Factories.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 5 Mar. 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/03/05/china-moves-uyghur-muslims-into-forced-labor-factories/.
Ma, Alexandra. “China Is Reportedly Sending Men to Sleep in the Same Beds as Uighur Muslim Women While Their Husbands Are in Prison Camps.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 4 Nov. 2019, www.businessinsider.com/china-uighur-monitor-home-shared-bed-report-2019-11.
Ma, Alexandra. “Maps Show 500 Suspected ‘Re-Education’ Camps and Prisons Where China Is Locking up and Torturing Its Muslim Minority.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 25 Nov. 2019, www.businessinsider.com/china-uighur-prison-camp-suspected-locations-maps-2019-11.
Martin, Will. “China Is Harvesting Thousands of Human Organs from Its Uighur Muslim Minority, UN Human-Rights Body Hears.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 25 Sept. 2019, www.businessinsider.com/china-harvesting-organs-of-uighur-muslims-china-tribunal-tells-un-2019-9.
Radio Free Asia. “Kazakh and Uyghur Detainees of Xinjiang ‘Re-Education Camps’ Must ‘Eat Pork or Face Punishment.’” Uyghur Human Rights Project, Uyghur Human Rights Project, 23 May 2019, uhrp.org/news-commentary/kazakh-and-uyghur-detainees-xinjiang-%e2%80%98re-education-camps%e2%80%99-must-%e2%80%98eat-pork-or-face.
Simmons, Keir. “Inside Chinese Camps Thought to Be Detaining a Million Muslim Uighurs.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Oct. 2019, www.nbcnews.com/news/world/inside-chinese-camps-thought-detain-million-muslim-uighurs-n1062321.
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