It all started in the year 2018, when Individuals from the Uighur community separated from their families, lost absolute contact with anyone, in the Xinjiang “Chinese Concentration Camps” which China claims to be “reeducation centers”
The Uighur community residing in Turkey in support of Uighurs confined in the internment camps have come out together to end the injustice holding up banners “Stop the cruelty”, chanting “Murderer China, get out of East Turkestan (Xinjiang) The President of Turkey is silent on the ill treatment of the Uighur Muslims in the camps established in China. So much so that in a recent summit in Kuala Lumpur, Erdogan kept mum about the detention of the community at large in Xinjiang. United Nations Human Right Commissions has estimated around 1-2 million Uighur Muslims have been detained in the so called anti-terrorism campaign.
Who are the Uighurs?
In and around 8th Century A.D. the Uighur Muslims inhabited the North-central Mongolian region where they established their first kingdom. Later on, the Uighurs moved to the region of Xinjiang already inhabited by Persian and Turkic people. Currently, the region where the Uighurs reside is called the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The Uighurs find themselves close to Central Asian nations, culturally and ethnically. The migration of Han Chinese in few decades seems to pose a threat to their culture and existence, according to the Uighur community.
What happened exactly?
Since 1990, anti-Han sentiment rose in Xinjiang which led to occasional sparks leading to violence. For a long period of time even before 1990, the Uighurs have been illtreated and discriminated. The tensions brewed in 2009 with the intensified mistreatment and victimization, leading to clashes between the Uighurs and Han Chinese, killing around 200 people. The Chinese Government has been blaming the Uighurs for the mishappening and seems to has undertaken the task to eliminate the ethnic, cultural and Islamic ideology amongst the Uighur community.
What are these camps and what happens in there?
Under the directions of the Chinese Communist Party, on the pretext of “anti-terrorism campaign”, the Chinese propaganda has been to launch a crackdown on the Uighur Muslims- including forced labour, mass detentions, forced assimilation, sexual abuse etc. More than 1 million people have been held in captive in the internment camps illegally, cutting off their contact with their families and close ones. The Uighur women are subject to forced sterilization and contraception so as to suppress the Uighur community and gradually extinguish their population. Since 2018 there is a nosedown in the birth rate of the Uighur community, yet the Chinese Government has been denying any allegations of sterilization. Even before the policy-based mass campaigning took vigour, the Government banned growing long beards and wearing veils in public, prohibition to watch state-run television/ radio, naming a child by their religious name was considered illegal.
The so called re-educational camps make the Uighurs subject to learn Mandarin forcefully, brainwashing Communist thoughts, and communist party propaganda making it a cultural genocide. Uighur community is a victim of forced labour, sexual abuse, sterilization and what not- making it a testimonial of human rights abuse.
Over a decade ago, the Turkish President Recep Erdogan had staunchly denounced China for the ill-treatment of Uighurs, calling it a ‘Genocide’. His stance over the Chinese policies and treatment changed gradually with the heavy loans and investments from China which came to the rescue of the Turkish Government. All of it changed because of the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016, the western countries cut all their connections with Erdogan and down went Turkish economic support. With China coming to their rescue, Turkey has to tight-lip itself on the Uighur genocide.
Isn’t it hypocritic that being a radical defender of Muslims, strongly decrying Islamophobia, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is mum over the whole Uighur Muslims genocide? The answer is pretty simple.
Despite the recent decisions of majority Muslim nations to mend their relations with Israel, Pakistan has strongly condemned this move until Palestinians get justice in Israel. He publicly called upon the Muslim leaders of non-Muslims countries to counter Islamophobia and also censured French President, Emmanuel Macron’s encouragement to Islamophobia.
Even though Pakistan and Turkey make good allies and wants to support Turkish Uighurs in their protests- it cannot. The sole reason being Pakistan cannot afford to vex and lose China since it is Pakistan’s closest ally. Pakistan is majorly dependent on China, economically and politically.
Overall, the condition of the detained Uighur Muslims caught in the camps apparently meant for promoting anti-terrorism has made their lives encounter torture, torment and dolour. The Turkish Government who used to denounce China’s brutal acts, is constantly keeping their lips tight and turning a deaf ear to the Turkish Uighurs’ outcry. The Covid-19 vaccine, apart from the economic dependence, has made Turkey even more hinging on China’s arms. The Turkish Uighurs have developed a fear of sellout of the detained Uighurs to China in exchange for the vaccines- If Turkey itself keeps silent on the matter, absolutely no one can save the Uighurs from any predicament that might fall upon them in these camps
Manasi – Writer Bharat Bhagya Vidhatha