An expansionist China is not just a threat to its neighbours but also a trouble maker for its ethnic minorities. While the situation of the Tibetans under the dominance of the Chinese is known across the world, the plight of the Uyghur Muslims, in the face of the stranglehold policy of the country that is threatening to decimate several ethnic minorities, has largely gone unnoticed.
Residing in China’s Xinjiang province in the western part of the country, the Uyghur Muslims are considered to be a threat by the Communist government of China. The hatred towards the Uyghurs, who are considered to be ethnic Turks, has led to major demographic changes in the region. The Chinese state has been settling the Han population, the dominant ethnic group in the country, in the area in an attempt at hanification of Xinjiang province. It is thought to be the precursor of a larger plan of the Communist Party of China to erase Uyghurs off the map through genocide, rapes, mass exodus and re-education plan.
The Chinese government has been repeatedly criticised by the United Nations Human Right Council for its mass detention of the Uyghur community. Despite several Western countries like the US and Canada taking up the calls, China is yet to budge from its activities. According to various estimates, China has detained over one million Uyghurs in internment camps. The Chinese have tried to maintain an iron grip over the Xinjiang province as the area is a major logistical hub for the country’s ambitious belt and road initiatives. Words cannot explain the horrific torture Uyghurs face from the Chinese — their women raped, men abducted, children separated. But the biggest crime is denying the Uyghurs the right to practice their faith.
At the internment camps, the detainees are forced to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party and renounce Islam. Most of them are forced to learn Mandarin, the dominant language of the country, and many are forced to separate from their families, forever. The processes and policies adopted by the Chinese dictatorial regime, for decades, have forced the Uyghurs into isolation and left them to suffer in silence. However, some brave journalists have been able to provide the World a peek into the human rights violation and genocide of the ethnic Uyghurs.
Despite such details coming out of the country on a regular basis, the Islamic countries of the world have decided to maintain a stoic silence over the issue of human rights violation of Uyghur Muslims. In fact, most Muslim countries, like Pakistan, have contributed to the plight of Xinjiang’s Muslims. While the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a 57-country consortium that calls itself ‘the collective voice of the Muslim world’, have responded vehemently against the alleged atrocities committed by the Myanmar government against the Rohingyas, they have been rather muted in the criticism of China even when horror stories of Xinjiang’s internment camps continue to pile up.
However, in recent years, the OIC did once acknowledge “disturbing reports” of Beijing’s Muslim crackdown, but later it rowed back its comments. It even went as far as saying that it “commends the efforts of the People’s Republic of China in providing care to its Muslim citizens.”
But all the world’s conscience is not lost. Last year, 23 countries banded together to condemn China’s oppression of its Muslim minority and called upon the country to put a stop to arbitrary detention in the province. However, most Muslim nations were again found to be conspicuously absent from the statement. In fact, many Muslim countries are openly defending China in its crackdown against Uyghurs. It is high time that the Muslim world looks beyond their economic motives and come out in support for the rights of the Uyghur community, which has been facing unprecedented atrocities at the hands of the Godless communist regime.
Citizens of the Islamic nations also need to force their governments to take a strict stand against the Chinese government which is hell-bent at permanently altering the demographic nature of the Xinjiang province. Unless there is worldwide support for the Uyghurs, their future under the Chinese regime will continue in the dark phase.
Vivek Bansal is former Media Consultant to Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India. He is currently working as a poll strategist and digital media professional.