The Chinese Muslim crisis

March 23, 2021

By John Mulvaney
Staff Writer

The Uighur crisis in China is something not many people know about, and even less want to talk about it.

 It is the result of an Authoritarian state cracking down on a religious and ethnic minority who don’t share the same views as them. The CCP has been detaining millions of Uighur Muslims and transporting them to “reeducation camps” only for practicing their religion. The camps themselves are harsh, and prisoners are made to denounce islam and praise communism. Many detainees who fled even say they were tortured.  

According to history teacher Mr. Newman, “The Uighurs are a group of 14 million people that are more culturally related to countries such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The territory that they are in used to be referred to as “East Turkmenistan” before it was taken over by China.”

“Culturally, the Uighurs are religiously Muslim just like their neighbors to the west. Ethnically, they descend from nomads and merchant traders on the Western Steppe and Gobi Desert who became followers of Islam as the religion spread through the Silk Road trading routes through their country on its was from the Middle East to India and eventually to Indonesia and Malaysia. Within the last two decades, China has focused onto the Uighurs and identified them as an Islamic minority population that seeks to inflict fundamental religious based terrorism in a country that under a communist regime, does not official practice any religion.”

The reason that most people agree on why China is doing this is religion. As Mr. Newman stated, the Uighurs are a religious minority living under an atheistic communist regime. The chinese government officially is State Atheist, but some religious worship is allowed, such as chinese folk religions. Many people still practice religion in secret, mostly in the countryside. 

“This is a continuation of the multitude of human rights violations in many regional areas.”

“China has had a well documented history of persecuting ethnic minorities and people with distinct religious beliefs since the communist regime took over after its revolution. This has affected these communities and people connected to these communities around the world as well as people of Chinese descent that are spread throughout the world.”

This is not the first time the CCP has cracked down on a group of people. A notable and much more well known example of this being Hong Kong, where large groups of protestors are demanding more autonomy and some even want a return to British rule. Similar to the Uighurs of Xinjiang, they are being met with harsh oppression and brutal crackdowns. 

“This is a continuation of the multitude of human rights violations in many regional areas”

“The question of weather the U.S and other nations were dealing with the situation the right way was brought up, and Newman’s response was, “I believe the US and other countries are dealing with the situation in the right way, however, it is easy to be frustrated or horrified at what seems to be a non-response with no action. Unfortunately, there isn’t much another nation can do with how another sovereign nation treats its citizens outside of sanctions or refusing to trade with that country like the US does with Cuba and North Korea.”

So basically, many nations know what’s going on, but are powerless to stop it, as they can’t govern how a nation treats its citizens, but they can do something by enacting sanctions and trade restrictions as Mr. Newman stated. 

Now, not many people know about this subject nor talk about it, and Mr. Newman might have an answer as to why, Stating, “This is an interesting question and I think it’s due to a few issues. First, this seems to be a scenario of a “Same-Old China” where they have again gone after another ethnic or religious minority. Second, many of the world powers, including the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, Spain, France, and, of course, the US, have had their own issues with an Islamic fundamentalist minority that uses terrorism to bring attention to their issues and yet again this can be interpreted as “same old story” but in China.

Another take could also be because of the U.S elections and Donald Trump, who has dominated the mainstream news in the past couple of years, and with this crisis starting in 2017, it’s been pretty much drowned out by talks about how Trump is doing this and that while putting many important subjects in the dark.

Senior GianCarlo Garcia was asked a few questions regarding the crisis.

“I learned about the crisis a few years ago as I was familiarizing with Foreign policy affairs in Europe/East Asia.”

As he confirms, he learned about the crisis through his own research and not the media. 

“I personally don’t know anyone affected by the crisis.”

When asked about why he thinks global powers aren’t willing to acknowledge the crisis, he stated, “I’d like to think there are two main reasons. One of which is because of the lack of solid information we have of the nature of this crisis. Two if global powers through the U.N. were to take further action they could potentially further Isolate China from the U.N.”

The question of what exactly was happening to the Uighurs was brought up, to which he responded, “As I mentioned We don’t have a great idea of what the nature of the crisis is. That being said we do know from witness testimony and investigative journalism that Uigher youth are being taken away from their parents and being put under massive “Reeducation programs” to further indoctrinate them into the CCP and assimilate them into the Han Chinese culture and there has been evidence of both mental and physical abuse going on at these camps”

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