The Uyghurs – victims of the Twenty First Century Holocaust

The genocide of the Uyghur people at the hands of the Chinese government can only be described as the Holocaust of the twenty first century. Sterilisation, organ harvesting, brainwashing, waterboarding, starvation, torture, gang rape, electrocution and experimentation.

Who are The Uyghurs

The Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim Turkic ethnicity who are culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. The majority of the, 11 million, Uyghur population, live in Xinjiang their historic Homeland, China, an area which came under the control of communist China in 1949. Now two million of them are being held in China’s ‘re-education camps’.

China vs The Uyghurs

The malignant treatment against the Uyghurs, at the hands of China has occurred for centuries. Revolts began at a time when the Qing dynasty of China ruled over Xinjiang; after which, a series of political/military revolts have occurred throughout China’s transition of political regimes. The Uyghurs have been fighting for their right to openly practise their traditions and religion for centuries. China sees The Uyghurs as a threat to their Communist state. However, their response to this ‘threat’ is hugely disproportionate, a fact that has become alarmingly apparent over the last decade.

Systematic Oppression

From violent shutdowns of demonstrations to oppressive law enforcement specifically targeting the Muslim population, it is clear that China’s only aim is to strip the Uyghurs of their basic human rights.

According to the US State Department, the Chinese government has detained three million people in what the state defines as ‘re-education camps’, we know them better as 'concentration camps'. The government initially denied that these camps existed before claiming they were a necessary means

to stop separatist violence.

However, survivor stories, journalist reports, satellite footage and most recently government leaks, have made it clear that these camps practice nothing less than relentless indoctrination.

In total there are approximately 1,200 camps in the region, each filled with Uyghur Muslims. This is nothing less than a concentration camp where the conditions are reportedly abhorrent.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HMR) has accused Beijing of mass torture and imprisonment. The charities state that prisoners, as young as 14 years old, have never been charged with crimes, received legal representation and have been taken without notifying family members.

President Xi Jinping stated in 2017, that “Religions in China must be Chinese in orientation”, leading to a clampdown on Uyghur Muslims, in particular. Longbeards and veils were banned, alongside the destruction of many holy sites and Mosques.

Sterilisation, organ harvesting, brainwashing, waterboarding, starvation, torture, gang rape, electrocution and experimentation. The list of physical and psychological torment upon these victims is endless. Let us remind ourselves of the holocaust where Adolf Hitler tortured and murdered innocent Jewish people for their faith and ordered the medical experimentation of his victims. How is President Xi Jinping and the Chinese government any different to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis?

China’s methods of ethnically cleansing the Uyghur population extend beyond murder and brainwashing, to the point that Uygur men are being detained whilst their wives are being forced to sleep in the same bed as Han men! Could you imagine being forced into this position?

It begs the question, which is the better end? Survival or death? Their only escape is to denounce their faith and traditions. Is this not the very definition of genocide? To eradicate an entire population of its identity?

Sayragul Sauytbay, a survivor recalled; “A young woman was forced to disrobe after being forced to ‘confess’ her sins in front of around 200 prisoners...

...The young woman was then raped by several police officers.”

“Punishments could range from being deprived of food, to having ones fingernails ripped out

Who is condoning such barbaric behaviour?

Many fashion brands, globally, have been accused of profiting from Uyghur forced labour. The region in Xinjiang where the Uyghur population live has become a stronghold for cotton production globally. A human rights coalition reported that cotton produced by Uyghur forced labour finds its way into 1 in 5 cotton products sold globally.

Conditions in these factories mirror the camps, by which if an assignment is incomplete Uyghurs are punished with “arbitrary detention”. The factories are under heavy surveillance, with both police and cameras. The surveillance is to such an extreme that there are cameras in the bathroom, to monitor the women.

According to the Guardian, 84% of China’s cotton output is sourced from Xinjiang and China is the biggest supplier of cotton worldwide. Brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Adidas and Zara are only a few of the brands connected to Uyghur labour.

What can WE do?

Though there has been an outcry from Muslims around the globe to end the suffering of the Uyghur population, very little has been done to combat the problem on an international level. Experts claim, the main reason behind this being that countries are not willing to ruin their relationship with China due to its economic stronghold. The world is acting cowardly. When Adolf Hitler was gassing Jews in concentration camps, the world went to war to save them, why hasn’t a single nation spoken out now?

To help the Uyghur PEOPLE and hold the Chinese government accountable for their doings, share this information and speak up about it. Use social media to the best of its ability to spread the information that China has tried so hard to cast a black hole around. Writing to MP’s is a powerful step as they can raise the issue in front of people who can make the biggest difference and it is their duty as your elected political representative, use them. Sign petitions and boycott Chinese goods, especially where Uyghur slave labour is involved; and PROTEST!

This has been classed as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world and a modern-day cultural genocide; something needs to be done and it needs to happen now. We said never again, yet here we are.