The Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group situated in the Xinjiang province of China. They are one of the oldest dated Turkic language speaking in Asia. In Xinjiang, their capital is Urumqi and the majority of the Uyghurs are Sunni Muslim.
One article from the Diplomat found China has put over a million Uyghurs in concentration camps. No, not “re-education” camps as they are trying to be wrongfully labelled, but actual concentration camps where they commit unspeakable acts upon individuals who are detained there.
This first started in 2016 with the Communist Party’s new leader, Chen Quanguo. It continued with the banning of the Uyghur language in schools, the shutting down of Mosques, additionally with cameras being put into them so they are able to track who comes in and out.
On USA Today, Rushan Abbas, an Opinion contributor, spoke about the tortuous and oppressive state that the Chinese officials make the Uighurs go through. This being: Mosques being bulldozed, parents unable to give their children Muslim names, Muslim men being forced to shave their beards and being banned from practicing Islam.
Inside the camps, the violent and authoritarian state is shown more visibly. “Inside, prisoners are indoctrined with Communist Part propaganda, forced to renounce Islam, and have been forced to eat pork and drink alcohol in violation to their religious beliefs” said Abbas.
There are different ways this torture is passed onto the children as well, as children are seperated from their families and sent to orphanges where they force them to attend schools that teach them the ideal lifestyle of the Communist Party. Many video evidences of these broke out on YouTube, as well as of Uyghur Muslim women being forced to marry Chinese men.
Mihrigul Tursun, a 29 year old Uyghur woman, gave her testimony on what she endured in China. “My hands bled from their beatings…Each time I was electrocuted, my whole body would shake violently and I could feel the pain in my veins…I thought I would rather die than go through this torture and begged them to kill me,” Tursun said.
On YouTube, a channel by the name Uyghur Aid, gave a total of 360 Uyghur testimonies by people who speak on behalf of a family member, relative, friend or acquaintance that have disappeared in China.
The rise of these testimonies have escalated over the past few months of this year, as before speaking as an Uyghur about the concentration camps could result in the detainment of a close one still in Xinjiang.
These concentration camps in China that innocent Uyghurs and others from different Turkic backgrounds and more are held in is exactly like the Nazi concentration camps — the only thing differing is being that it’s the year 2019.
China is a humongous country in terms of international affairs and one of our strongest and largest manufacturers. However, this does not excuse the fact that they have actual concentration camps in their country. China being halfway across the world is not an excuse to dismiss the existence of this tormenting authority.
The Uyghurs do not just need acknowledgment, they need involvement, support, help, they need their stories to be projected to strong audiences who can make a difference. This form of ethnic and religious genocide cannot be neglected.