Opinion: How you can help the Uyghurs

The Uyghurs are facing ethnic genocide in the concentration camps around the Xinjiang region.  An escalating amount of detained women, children, men and elders endure inhumane treatment by the Chinese Communist Party as the rest of the country is silent — often due to restricted media awareness on the matter. 

This is an ongoing issue, and will not stop until enough people are aware and express this unacceptable form of treatment to high officials. 

It is time for change, and it’s easier than we think. Whether it’s a five second repost of data concerning the number of deaths and detainments inflicted on Uyghurs, or simply creating your own post and sharing it amongst the community, you are assisting in spreading awareness — which is a form of solidarity. 

Gulnaz Uighur, an Uyghur activist, informs the public about how people can help using social  media platforms, listed on The Muslim Vibe. 

“Write letters, tweet them [government officials] on social media, tag them on Facebook or try to petition them. Ask them to call out China and stop them from wiping out our community,” said Uighur.

Facebook is a good platform to utilize in terms of finding events near your community that advocates for the rights and freedom of Uyghurs and offers a space for them to give testimonies.

In addition to the testimonies, the Youtube channel titled “Uyghur Aid” has hundreds of testimony videos of Uyghurs explaining what their people must endure in these camps. The more views they get, the better the understanding. 

Remember, this is an ethnic genocide. A lot of Uyghurs are Muslim, therefore part of the torture they endure is being forced to eat pork, drink alcohol, and dress unnacordingly to their religion.

With the Chinese Communist Party wanting to erase the Uyghur culture completely from China, it is only right to continue spreading and gaining knowledge on their traditions, customs, music, art and history. 

Save Uighur, a non-profit that is powered by Sound Division, offers a step by step process to make a political change for this conflict. The first step in this as listed is to call Congress, with a text ready for both the House and Senate. The second is to contact representatives and lastly to tweet to elected officials. 

There are events planned specifically by the Peace Catalyst, in which they have scholars speak upon the conflict, which events like this were at UW Seattle and other places in Washington State. Being up to date on their social media is crucial for future events. 

If you’re having difficulty understanding the full conflict, BBC News has a longread titled “China’s hidden camps; What’s happened to the vanished Uighurs of Xinjiang?” by John Sudworth, it offers more in depth information about the location of the camps and testimonies of people who have been persecuted but escaped from this. 

Ablet Tursun Tohti, a 29 year old Uyghur past detainee explained what he had to endure in that longread. “We sang the song called ‘Without the Communist Party There Can Be No New China… And they taught us laws. If you couldn’t recite them in the correct way, you’d be beaten,” said Tohti. 

Supporters for Uyghur human rights have been partaking in boycott towards all Chinese owned and Chinese manufactured goods. Alibaba, Wish and Anker are all China based companies. 

According to an article titled “U.S. businesses, now owned by China” by Ed Leefeldt on CBS News, American companies such as Motorola Mobility, Ingram Micro and General Electric Appliances are owned by China. 

China plays a big role in the international economy world and manufactures many of the goods we own, but it does not justify that it is a country that holds concentration camps. 

Every voice counts, no matter the amount it can project to the community. Contact your Congressional representatives. “There are two bills in the U.S. Congress to address human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims in China, Senate Bill (S. 178) and House Bill (H.R. 649). Find your representatives here and ask them to support this legislation,” which was retrieved from the Peace Catalyst International. 
As a UW Tacoma student or faculty member who wants to contribute in spreading awareness of this conflict, the Representatives of the City of Tacoma to contact would be Councilmembers Chris Beale, Anders Ibsen, and Catherine Ushka.