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The Ongoing Persecution of Uyghurs in China

By: James Dartt

· Global Affairs

The Uyghurs, an ethnic group located in the northwest part of China, are at risk of having their ethnicity and culture destroyed. The Uyghurs consider themselves ethnically and culturally closer to Central Asia, rather than the Han Chinese. For the last few decades, the region of Xinjiang, where the vast majority of Uyghurs reside, militant Islamic groups have caused major trouble for the Chinese Government, mostly in the form of stabbings and bombings. In response, the Chinese Government has imprisoned, according to a United Nations estimate, over one million people in detention camps, or, as the Chinese Government has called them, “Re-Education Camps,” to assimilate Uyghurs into Han Chinese culture. In these camps, the people are forced to learn Mandarin Chinese, swear loyalty to Xi Jinping (the current President of China), and criticize their faith. These “Re-Education Camps” have warranted extensive international condemnation and have even been accused of being concentration camps.

Nearly the entire province of Xinjiang, along with any area with prominent Uyghur influence, has extraordinarily grown in its semblance to a surveillance state. There are facial recognition cameras and QR codes on doors. The Chinese Government now considers acts such as growing a beard, quitting drinking, and reading a book about Uyghur History as “extremist, illegal acts.” Uyghur citizens are rewarded for telling the Chinese Government about “un-Chinese acts” committed by other Uyghurs. Han Chinese are encouraged to migrate to Xinjiang, in order to out-populate the ethnic Uyghurs. The rising brutality against Uyghurs has resulted not only in much human suffering, but also in the rise of an Uyghur seperatist movement calling for the establishment of Xinjiang as an independent state called “East Turkestan.”

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