(See: BBC- China’s Hidden Camps, BBC News Article)
Refer to the links I have attached above. They have gathered evidence of camps existing but have yet to gather evidence on the real objective of the camps and who are the inmates.
The chinese officials there call it a a centre of re-learning, thus calling them “Reeducation camps”.
Oddly enough, this reminds me of another issue from China- controlling the LGBT community. The following are from a article from the Washington Post on this matter:
“It’s been more than 20 years since China decriminalized homosexuality, but LGBT people are still subjected to forced confinement, medication and even electric shocks to try to change their sexual orientation,” said Graeme Reid, LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch.
In July, a 38-year-old gay man in central China successfully sued a psychiatric hospital, after alleging that staff members detained, drugged and beat him in an attempt to “cure” him of his homosexuality.
(See: BBC- China’s Gay Conversion, Washington Post Article & Related News Article) China’s government seems to be controlling people who are the minority, using “correction” treatments and if all else fails, they keep you away from the community they strive to perfect.
Back to the topic, I decided to do some more readings on the people that have supposedly “gone missing” from the neighborhoods surrounding the camps. It seems that most of them could be a specific ethnic group called the Uighurs or Uyghurs.
The Uyghurs (, ) or Uygurs (as the standard romanisation in Chinese GB 3304-1991) are a Turkic ethnic group who live in East and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, where they are one of 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities. Uyghurs primarily practice Islam. Like many populations of Central Eurasia, they are genetically related to both Caucasoid and East Asian populations.-WikiPedia
Rights groups say people in camps are made to learn Mandarin Chinese and criticise or renounce their faith.
-Quoted from BBC Article
(See: BBC: China Uighurs: All you need to know on Muslim ‘crackdown’, Vox- China just legalized “reeducation” camps for Uighur Muslims, Vox-China’s reeducation camps for Muslims are beginning to look like concentration camps )
China, based on the basis that Uyghurs have had associations with ISIS and Al-Qaeda, started up such camps to “control or reeducate the Uyghurs affected by extremist values and teachings”. Based on the few Uyghurs, they decided to do this at such a massive scale.
Based on the numberous articles I have read, rights groups have gathered from loved ones visiting those inside the camps that inside, they are taught to know the communist values and adore their Chinese President. Otherwise, they would be tortured. They are also forced to learn mandarin. Chinese authorities even stop the circulation of halal items, associating them with the extremists.
It is estimated that there are about 1 million Uyghurs in the concentration camps.
So what is the world outside doing about this?
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned the treatment of the Uighurs, but so far the Trump administration hasn’t acted.
(See: ‘Awful abuses’: US denounces China’s treatment of Uighurs)
Their own people are trying to reach out for help (See: Exiled Uyghur leader seeks UN Security Council action on China). This article highlights some depressing details:
The exiled leader of the World Uyghur Congress urged the United Nations Security Council to take action on China over its use of detention camps for Muslims in the western autonomous region of Xinjiang.
A former human rights activist while at a university in China, Isa fled to Turkey in 1994 under fear of detention. He became a German citizen in 1996 and helped establish the World Uyghur Youth Congress.
Isa said the U.N. should pressure Beijing to close the camps through means such as passing resolutions to sanction Chinese officials, though he added that it could be difficult with China a permanent member of the security council. The leader of the group also called on U.S. President Donald Trump to take action.
China has vehemently denied allegations that it is mistreating Muslims in the region, which the Uyghur people call East Turkestan.
Hu Lianhe, a Chinese official involved with Xinjiang policy, told the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that there was no arbitrary detention or re-education centers.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said late last month that criticism of China’s policy in the region has no factual basis.
“Those measures in Xinjiang are aimed to promote stability, development and unity, and to ensure better livelihoods,” she said at a regular briefing in Beijing. “They are carried out in order to combat ethnic separatism and terrorist criminal activities in accordance with the law, and to safeguard national security and protect people’s life and property.”
While only about 1.5% of China’s population live in Xinjiang, it accounted for more than 20% of arrests last year, according to data compiled by Chinese Human Rights Defenders.
“Conditions have deteriorated since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012,” Isa said. “There are police monitoring stations every 200 to 300 meters in the city, they have facial recognition cameras, and they are building new camps.”
The UN has started its investigation on the matter (See: UN ‘alarmed’ by reports of China’s mass detention of Uighurs) and China reacted: “Beijing has denied the allegations but admitted that some religious extremists were being held for re-education.”
Their reaction is akin to the many issues that many other races in many countries face. Take for instance, in America, the African-Americans are often accused to be criminals (See: Black People More Likely to Be Wrongfully Convicted of Murder, Study Shows, Nordstrom Rack apologizes after 3 black men are falsely accused of stealing from Brentwood store), while in Europe, the Muslims are accused to be “terrorists” (See: Street attacks on Muslims rocket in UK as perpetrators ’emboldened’ by terror attacks and political rhetoric, report finds, Terrorism has changed. Blaming Islam is blinding us to the new reality). I could state many more, but basically, in every country, there is a group that is always victim to false accusations to wrongful doing just because one of their people messed up.
China in turn, has turned the reports from the UN down, saying that the report is based on “unsubstantiated and irresponsible information” (See: China hits back after damning UN report on Uyghur ‘re-education camps’) and stated:
“China is committed to ensuring the religious freedom of the Chinese citizens,” she said, adding she hoped US lawmakers “can stop this kind of bias and stop hurting the mutual trust and cooperation between the China and the US.”
As of now, 26 October 2018, there is no firm action taken by any government or ogranisation outside of China. The Xinjiang Conflict has been on-going since the 1960s and has worsened in the recent years, especially in the past month as they launch the Anti-Halal campaign.
With the growing power of China, who else could resolve this conflict, whilst ensuring the safety of the millions of Uyghurs detained by the Chinese? Could this be the warning sign of a genocide of the modern 21st Century after Hitler’s?
For I am just a normal student, I can only do my part to spread the awareness of such an issue, while I pray for the millions affected. Feel free to research and read up more about this matter and spread the word! The Uyghurs deserve to be free and have human rights!