Auschwitz was the largest Nazi concentration camp in the 1940s, made to torture millions of Jewish prisoners. Today, Hitler’s barbaric acts are being mimicked within China’s horrific concentration camps used to torture trapped Uyghur Muslims.
At first the world of news and journalism was silent. China’s tight control and censorship over their media, allowed them to undertake their violent acts in hiding. However, social media became a voice against the inhumane acts, which slowly led to news stories being posted.
A recent article in The Guardian discusses how China’s desperate attempt to rid itself of the Uyghur culture, began with it forcing Muslim women to move away from their personal choice of wearing the niqab or hijab. This was just the first step to change their religious identity, as today multiple women are being raped and forced to marry Han Chinese men to get rid of the next generation of Uyghur Muslims. Yet, this persecution has been occurring for decades, since the presence of Islam in China;
The oppression began during the 18th century rule of the Qing Dynasty, when the state tried to assert control over parts of China, where majority of Muslims resided. The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949 which divided citizens into 56 ethnic groups, 10 of which were Muslim minorities, including the Uyghur Muslims. These man-made divisions led to chaos in the Cultural Revolution, between 1966-1969, where; mosques were vandalised, Muslims were stopped from attending the holy pilgrimage of Hajj, Qurans were destroyed, and people were disallowed to freely express their religious beliefs.
We live in the 21st Century yet around 3 million Muslims are being abused and tortured in these camps because of their religious identity. Innocent children are separated from their families and placed into orphanages, where they are taught to hate their religion, and forced to adhere to the Chinese culture. Yet the Vice-Governor of this region, Erkin Tuniyaz, defended these camps at a UN Human Rights Forum as a supposed aim to; ‘educate those influenced by religious extremism’, and to prevent them from being ‘victims of terrorism’. This builds on the ongoing stereotype in the media, towards Muslims as being terrorists. Once again the attack on innocent Muslims is being veiled and justified by an apparent attempt to rid the world of terrorism. As it did post 9/11, when the USA’s bombing on Afghanistan, for their manhunt on ‘terrorism’, led to Muslim civilians being killed.
Does destroying mosques help clear the world of ‘terrorists’?
Several Mosques are being destroyed by China, to rid itself of Islam. The before and after images below, show a once standing Kargilik mosque, which has now disappeared;
Suppressing Muslims from practicing their faith can affect them negatively as discussed by Peter Morey and Amina Yaqin in; Framing Muslims; Stereotyping and Representation after 9/11, who touch on how; ‘our identity is partly shaped by recognition or its absence, often by the misrecognition of others, and so a person or group of people can suffer real damage […] if the people or society around them mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves.’ Hence, if the ‘others’, in this case the Chinese regime, are dehumanising Muslims and painting them as wrongdoers, it can cause personal damage to them and the way they view themselves which works to control their minds.
The Guardian view on Xinjiang, China, also discusses the USA’s announcement of visa restrictions on Chinese officials believed to be responsible for the ill-treatment on Muslims. However, this will not stop the real extremists from continuing their barbaric torture in these murderous camps, that are being passed off as places of re-education for extremism. The world’s governments are still silent about the organs being harvested from the Muslims trapped inside these camps. Human lives are being destroyed for business purposes, and sold for financial gain, for the piece of paper which we call money.
So much more needs to be done by those in power, both from the West and the East, who can use their authority to put a stop to the ethnic cleansing occurring in China as we speak.