While the world is occupied with the Covid pandemic, one of the most inhumane, man-made event is being pushed under the carpet. The communist Chinese government has been successful in keeping at bay talks about China’s treatment of Uighurs Muslims until late July 2020.

Before we touch upon what is reportedly going on with Uighurs in China, for those who don’t know, Uighurs are a mostly Muslim Turkic ethnicity who regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. Around 11 million Uighurs live in Xinjiang, China. There are a minority community in the region.

The following are a few shocking facts that could reach media over a period of time: 

United Nations and their worrisome findings in 2018: 

A United Nations (UN) human rights panel had gone on record stating that there were credible reports that China holds a million Uighurs in secret camps with the front cover of re-education camps. Human rights charities and Human Rights Watch have also long accused Beijing of mass imprisonment and torture. 

Gay McDougall, back then a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, also added that the members of the Uighur community and other Muslims were being treated as ‘enemies of the state’ solely on the basis of their ethno-religious identity.

The Chinese government in the name and cover of putting a fight against religious extremism was running a massive internment camp where Uighurs were captivated and held as prisoners with no end in sight.

News about the release of Uighurs from the Camp in 2019

With pressure growing from other countries, in July 2019, Chinese officials made a statement that most of the inmates in re-education camps, which were more like detention centres, have been released.

But governments and human rights protection bodies across the globe called it fake news. In fact, the State Department of the United States (US) released a statement that they were unable to verify the vague claims made by Beijing.

Reports on systematic sterilization of Uighur women in July 2020

Early in July 2020 investigations by German researcher Adrian Zenz and the Associated Press found that China is undertaking compulsory sterilization and even abortion for hundreds of thousands of Uighur women without their consent. There was systematic propaganda behind such cruel measures. The government aimed to put a hard stop on the increase of population of Uighurs.

Owning to such measures undertaken by government officials, birth rates dropped drastically in Uighur regions of Hotan and Kashgar, falling by more than 60% from 2015 to 2018, as per the latest available government statistics. Similarly, across the whole Xinjiang region, birth rates fell by nearly 24% in 2019 alone, compared to just 4.2% nationwide.

Report on a 13-ton shipment of beauty products such as weaves suspected to have been made out of human hair in July 2020

According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of New York/Newark, a 13-ton shipment of beauty products such as weaves, suspected to have been made out of human hair, was seized. The shipment originated in Xinjiang, China, signalling potential human rights abuses of forced labour and imprisonment. The products were worth over $800,000.

This was the second time this year that the CBP has seized products from China suspected to have been made from prisoner’s hair.

Face-off Uighurs labourers and International brands 

Reports by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and the US Congress, among others, have found that thousands of Uighurs have been transferred to work in factories across China, under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour. The Report linked those factories to more than 80 high-profile brands, including Nike, Apple and Gap.

On being called upon, the brands made public statements which changed little.

Gap said it has policies that bar involuntary labour in its supply chain and does not source clothing directly from Xinjiang. While Apple said it had not found any issues despite conducting several surprise audits of its long-time supplier O-Film which was reported to employ Uighurs illegaly.

China and The Genocide Convention

The Genocide Convention defines genocide as specific acts against members of a group with the intent to destroy that group in whole or in part. These acts include: 

(a) killing; 

(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm; 

(c) deliberately inflicting conditions of life to bring about the group’s physical destruction; 

(d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and 

(e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

China is a signatory to this Convention since 1949.

If sources are to be believed then detainees of the so-called education camps are abused, tortured, raped, and even killed by the Chinese officials. These camps are designed to cause serious physical, psychological harm and mentally break the Uighur people

Doesn’t all this fit the definition of genocide?

Despite tonnes of evidence available regarding the atrocities of the Chinese government, Beijing’s shameful denials regarding mass detentions in Xinjiang rightfully shocks the world. 

A few basic humanitarian steps can and should be taken: 

  • UN should be put in a tight spot to investigate the matter; 
  • Multinational companies should look beyond profits and save Uighurs by abolishing forced labour as well as by putting out rightful information exposing the Chinese government;
  • Many countries like the US, UK, Australia, Japan and others have already come together and raised their concerns against China. Many more need to join this race.

Let us all remember that awareness is the key. Raising Voice is the tools. Action against wrong is the only justice.