Inside China’s Crackdown On Muslim Uighurs
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Inside China’s Crackdown On Muslim Uighurs


My mother disappeared
into one of China’s prison camps, along with more than
a million Uighurs. Ferkat hoped to get his mother,
Minaiwaier, out quickly. He held meetings with
the U.S. government and started speaking out
on social media. But then, he started getting threats
from Chinese officials. Since I started speaking out, I kept receiving different threats
from the Chinese government The person also said
I have to shut up. If not,
I’ll lose my mom forever. Ferkat and his mother are
part of the Uighur minority. She was held in what the United Nations
calls an internment camp. Where did these mass detention
camps come from? What issues do the Uighurs face? And how is the world responding? Let’s lay out the basics. Around 11 million Uighurs live in
China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region. They are Muslim, speak a Turkic language
and descend from Central Asia. By blood, I am an Uzbek. But, by identity,
by culture, I am a Uighur. For centuries, the Uighur community
has lived in the region often influenced by China. But the People’s Republic of China
annexed the province in 1949 after the Communist Party
came into power. The Uighurs are Chinese citizens, but are different from
the Han Chinese majority in pretty much every other way. China recognized Xinjiang
as an autonomous region. That should have given the Uighurs
some freedom to govern themselves. But, that was never really the case. And soon, the Communist Party
began to relocate ethnic Han Chinese into Xinjiang. One is to see it as
straightforward colonialism, trying to establish
Han population in the region in order to better integrate it
to the rest of China. From the Chinese Communist
Party’s point of view, this isn’t a colonialist activity. It’s rather one of development. Tensions between the Han
and Uighurs grew as the new arrivals
prospered economically. The economic benefits from
that development went to Han Chinese. In the 1990s, authorities began
limiting the freedom of Uighurs to practice Islam. They banned Muslims from fasting
during the holy month of Ramadan and restricted access to mosques. At the same time, support for
Uighur separatist movements grew. And in the late 1990s, some Uighurs fled
Chinese crackdowns and set up training camps
in Afghanistan, which at the time was being
controlled by the Taliban. The ethnic and economic tensions
eventually escalated into riots in 2009 that left almost 200 people dead. The riots began in factories where Uighurs and Han Chinese
worked side by side. Then, in 2014, a series of attacks by Uighur separatists in multiple cities
killed dozens of people. China blamed the riots on religious
extremism and separatism. It was a turning point. China used the attack as
justification in launching what it called China put the Uighurs under
intense surveillance and began operating
the prison camps in 2017. That’s the year Ferkat’s mother was taken. She left us a message on WeChat, the Chinese version of WhatsApp, where she said that she
was going to school. The school is the code word that
they use for the camps. Then she came back after 22 days, but she changed totally. The first thing she said is, “Son, I cannot talk to
you guys anymore. Stop calling me.” Since then, eight people
from Ferkat’s family have been detained in these camps. And all except his mother
have cut off communication with Ferkat. China initially denied
the existence of these camps. – This is what we called vocational
education and training centers. They are there for
the prevention of terrorists. Critics maintain that in many cases
the camps are used for forced labor. And they also say these camps exist to
wipe out the Uighur language and culture. These images are from state TV, and they show a more sanitized
version of life inside. But detainees are forced to renounce
their religious beliefs and embrace the ideology of
the Communist Party. In March 2019, U.S. Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo met with Ferkat. He praised his bravery in speaking out. Three months later, Ferkat’s mother was released to her home in Xinjiang, but stripped of her freedom
and unable to reunite with her son. My mom was released
on the end of May 2019. Even though she was released, but she was given a phone
by the Chinese police to talk to us. China has tried to suppress
information on the camps. Journalists are not able to
access them without heavy restrictions. In this video, a state news outlet shows
Ferkat’s mom and uncle. It suggests even Uighurs living
outside the camps, like Ferkat’s mother,
remain unable to speak freely. Leaked government
documents confirm the camps aren’t
really educational with language like,
“never allow escapes,” and “increase discipline and punishment.” The documents compare Islam
to an infectious disease and say that freedom
is only possible when the virus is eradicated. With so much evidence of
human rights abuses out there, why has so little action been taken
by the international community? Well, it’s not really
in the interest of most countries to criticize the second
largest economy in the world. It’s no longer just “Made in China”
toys, clothes and food. China is building ports,
railroads and airports across Asia, Africa and Europe. That may also explain
why Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are silent. Many of them rely on China’s
investments and loans. Many states that are financially
dependent on China have been willing to
join Chinese efforts to say everything
in Xinjiang is fine. And then there’s China’s
“war on terror” rhetoric. The leaked documents showed
President Xi Jinping saying his government was only doing what America had done. In the period after 9/11, 2001 the United States rolled out
a new framework called the But it was very useful
for authoritarian governments all around the world, and in particular in China,
to latch onto that idea. But another reason countries
are reluctant to speak up is that they want the tools the Chinese government
is using against the Uighurs. Surveillance technology in
smartphones and security cameras allow the Chinese government to
constantly monitor people’s behavior and location without their consent. We have documented
facial recognition, the use of biometric data and then we actually reverse-
engineered an app that’s used by police to aggregate enormous amounts of information
about people’s behavior. Since 2017, China’s invested
billions on security in Xinjiang. And more than 60 countries have already purchased
Chinese surveillance tech, and it’s now being put into
use around the world. So can anything be done
to hold China accountable? In June 2019, 22 countries
issued a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council calling on China to
end its mass detention of Uighurs. China responded
by getting 37 countries to sign onto a statement
praising its policy in Xinjiang. Meanwhile, the U.S. doesn’t
seem to have a clear policy. But Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo has called China
out on the issue. And in December 2019,
the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Uyghur Human
Rights Policy Act by 407 votes to 1, calling for sanctions against
senior Chinese officials. But it still has to be approved
by the Republican-controlled Senate before it’s sent to
President Trump. The White House hasn’t
said yet whether Trump will sign or veto the bill. Unsurprisingly, China was
furious with the legislation. Lobbying efforts by Uighurs like
Ferkat, who spoke out despite the risk to
their families, helped persuade Congress. With 1 million Uighur
Muslims still imprisoned, the most high-profile
opposition has recently come from an
international football star and a girl on TikTok,
rather than from governments. But Ferkat and others believe
more people need to keep
the pressure up on China. A Chinese agent told me that I’m just one individual
going against the second superpower
in the world. And then compared to them, I’m just nothing. But I believe I am strong because of the people around myself. Take China’s increasing resistance
to diplomatic and economic pressure. Add in its growing technological
power and influence. Combine that with a lack of
information on what’s really going on in Xinjiang and consequences for those who speak out. With all those things in mind, it’s very difficult to see where the change
Ferkat needs will come from. It is lonely. It is scary. It’s a really hard process. But, I’m still here.

21 Comments

  • Gunasagar KJ

    It's high time that these questions and interrogations have to be carried out on Islamist theocracies, Islamist politicians, Islamist majoritarian societies, Islamist extremism and Islamist radicalism all over the world and especially where they have a deadly history and currently native pre Islamic cultures need the support urgently. Islamists supremacists, islamists theocracies, Islamist majoritarian societies, Islamist radicals, Islamist extremists and Islamist politicians form a Nexus spreading over from North Africa to parts of Europe to Arabia to Persia to Central Asia to South Asia to Southeast Asia involved in brainwashing, fear mongering, ignoring human rights, deny rights to native cultures, curb rights to non Muslims especially pre Islamic native cultures and all the Muslims just comply with it without fighting back. Not fighting such thing is contributing to the evil and I am afraid you are one of them. Let's see, you might be considered not bad or evil if you support these, if not then you a wolf that's in a sheep's skin. 1. the native hindu-indic cultures wiped out by Islamist supremacists and colonial missionaries is restored
    2. the Islamist fascism stops in the lands where Islamist majoritarianism and Islamist fascism is exorbitant
    3. Islamist extremism and Islamist fascism both in history and present should be discussed academically and made part of curriculum all around the world
    4. Native cultures that were wiped out in all parts of Asia, Europe, Africa and Americas should be restored along with giving back their lands

  • WORK TOGETHER TO SURVIVE RACISM

    AJ+ I tried to watch your video – Why are Black children dying from Suicide? AND YOUTUBE SAID ITS MARKED AS PRIVATE.

  • Farrock Yahya

    Family taken a part, threaten, colonialism, homeless, concentration camp, banned to practice religion, forced labor, suppress media, human rights abuses, privacy infringement,

    Ferkat

  • Yusuf Yusuf

    Somalia had stood with China at the time China wanted to join UN Security Council. However, Somalia and Somalis will never stand with the Strong and be supportive to their brutal Violence and Violation of International Norms.
    Somalia had also stood against the South Africa’s Oppression and their Apartheid Cruelty Rule in South Africa. Likewise, Somalia and Somalis will never look away from Palestinians Freedom Determination to have their rights for self determination and liberty from Apartheid Rule. I believe that’s what will matter mostly.
    You either be the side of Stronger or be the side of Survivors and Victims.
    That’s our identity as Somali-Black-African-Muslim to Stand Against Oppressors and Suppressors
    Because…………
    “Injustice anywhere is threat to Justice to everywhere!”
    RIP Our Brother African-American Martin Luther King

    “Treat people the way you would like to be treated even if tomorrow is going to be yours!”

    “What Goes Around Comes Back Around!”

    “Your leadership position shouldn’t have to depend on who you’re dealing with and changing your position. That’s not a leadership position”
    RIP Our African Father Madiba.

    “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”
    RIP Our African-American Brother Malcolm X

    I Stand with Muslim Ughers in China

  • Islamic Path

    Chinese govt. and their evil oppressors are paying the price for their Evil & injustice in the form of Natural Disaster and Disease. While the whole of China now a became detention center. That's one of the consequences of their Evil doings and hatred.

  • tys k

    this has been going on for a long time why hasnt it stopped ?
    why havent muslims around the world setup peacefull protests to raise awareness

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