Genocide of the Uyghur People, China

We explain the plight of the Uyghur ethnic group, and speak to leading Uyghur activist Rahima Mahmut. 

Who are the Uyghurs?

The Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group originating and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia. There are around 12 million Uyghurs, most of whom are Muslim, living in Xinjiang (China’s largest region).

The Uyghurs speak their own native language, similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to central Asian countries.

Over recent decades there has been a mass migration of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) into Xinjiang, allegedly orchestrated by the state to dilute the minority Uyghur population there.

What is happening in the ‘re-education’ camps?

Human rights groups believe China has detained more than one million Uyghurs against their will over the past few years in a large network of what the state calls “re-education camps”, and sentenced hundreds of thousands to prison terms.

“They told me I needed to be educated,” Abdusalam Muhemet explained to the BBC when being interviewed about his detainment in a secretive Uighur camp in Xinjiang in 2014. Despite the CCP’s claim that Uyghurs are sent to schools to mitigate religious extremism, compelling evidence regarding the specifics of China’s internment camps highlight alarming details about their true purpose. Tenders by the government, sent to contractors, were discovered that called for the installation of comprehensive security features, such as watchtowers, razor wire, surveillance systems, and guard- rooms. All to form the brutal setting for a monotonous routine of exercise, bullying and brainwashing for Muhemet and the millions of other Uyghurs trapped in China’s cultural genocide machine. Deprived of basic sanitary necessities such as toilets, citizens turned inmates, hidden from the world, are force-fed a diet of CCP propaganda while being routinely beaten in designated rooms. As the increasingly authoritarian Xi Jinping continues his genocide on the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang the number and size of the camps are only growing while unfiltered access inside to expose the reality is nearly impossible.

Is it genocide?

The UN defines genocide as at least one of the following: killing members of a group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to a group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. According to a formal legal report from the Essex Star Cham- bers there is a “plausible” argument that the “acts carried out by the Chinese gov- ernment against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region amount to crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide.” Due to descriptions revealed first by the BBC of the group being subject to “enslavement, torture, rape, enforced sterilisation and persecution”. They have seen “credible evidence” of forced sterilisation procedures being carried out on the Uyghur people. The report took six months to produce as they considered a vast array of evidence to come to the opinion that it is genocide. China denies these accu- sations and claims that the camps are for re-education purposes.

On December 9th 1948, the UK government pledged to prevent genocides occurring not only on their own shores, but also in other countries across the world by signing the Genocide Convention. Since that day, our government has not intervened and, some say, have turned a blind eye to every single genocide that has occurred since the Holocaust, including genocides in Rwanda, Darfur and Bosnia. Is the dreadful persecution of the Uyghur people going to be another example of yet another genocide to be ignored by the UK government and the rest of the world? Who will step in and act to prevent the hor- rors that the Uyghur people currently face at the hands of the ruling Com- munist Party in China today?

The Chinese government denies any allegations of genocide and it appears that the situation in Xinjiang will only get worse for the Uyghurs. Unless one of the 152 counties who agreed to prevent all genocides on December 9th 1948 steps in and does something about it, then this event could quickly turn into a terrible catastrophe for mankind.

Meeting Rahima.

We had the great privilege of speaking to Rahima Mahmut recently. She is a fearless Uyghur campaigner who was forced to leave her homeland several years ago. Since then Rahima has worked to raise awareness of the plight of her people.

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