On September 18th, our feeds were almost entirely concentrated on one topic, human rights and the genocide occurring in China against Uyghur Muslims. The Uyghur, Hui, Kazakh, and much more Muslim minority groups within China and their placement in what the Chinese government is calling “re-education camps,” or more commonly known as concentration camps; Making me ask why, when it comes to the Uyghurs, do human rights not matter?

Viral image on September 18th

China in itself is performing a genocide by utilizing not only these camps but other methods as well; here’s a formal definition of the word “Genocide” (via Encyclopædia Britannica) to give you a better picture:

Genocide, the deliberate and systematic destruction of a group of people because of their ethnicitynationality, religion, or race. The term, derived from the Greek genos (“race,” “tribe,” or “nation”) and the Latin cide (“killing”), was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-born jurist who served as an adviser to the U.S. Department of War during World War II.

Now, what does it really mean when we say that there is a genocide in China?

It means that this ethnic group or groups in the case of Muslim minorities in China are specifically being targeted against and persecuted solely based on their religion. But to fully understand the effect that these camps have, I’m going to give you a very, very brief history of who the ethnic Chinese Muslims are.

There are a total of 10 groups of Chinese Muslim ethnic groups, most popular are the Uyghurs, but the Muslim minorities in China include the Kazakhs, Hui, and many more. The religion was first introduced through the silk road by Muslim merchants and from there spread out. Throughout history, there have been many stages with clashes between China and ethnic Muslims but also many stages of prosperity for Muslims.

Starting with the republic of China and the Cultural Revolution, Muslims as a whole began to be persecuted. Mosques were defaced, hajj was prohibited, and all in all, religious expression was not allowed.

Once 9/11 happened and the 2009 riots in Xinxiang began slowly more restrictions started to be put in place, leading to what we have in the present day

But how did we get from lack of religious freedom to concentration camps?

With this context in mind, rather than beginning with what the common “western” information is out there, seeking out specifically Chinese report was vital to getting the full picture in mind.

In Chinese media, these camps are referred to as re-education camps, vocational education, and training centers. The government claims that people are being put in there in order to “improve the skill of the Uyghurs” and that the vast majority is only there for skill, and once they have learned it, they leave the camp. Also, claiming how with the camps, Uyghur income is statistically higher than before.

One of the main reasons, however, for the “reeducation camps” is for “deradicalization.” This isn’t uncommon when it comes to discussing the mistreatment and discrimination of specifically Muslims. Its essentially a cloak term and is used as justification for targeting Muslim minorities.

Via Twitter

Chinese media claims that the western press regarding these camps is not just “misinformation but disinformation.” In their eyes, everything being said are lies and subsequently is a tactic being used to ridicule and attack the Chinese government.

Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to get evidence of what actually occurs inside the camps is hidden. The only evidence we have is the rare video leaks as well as victim accounts. This, however, doesn’t diminish the occurrence that is occurring inside the camps. There are still many people who are being reported missing, can’t return home (have taken refuge), as well as have physical scars from the camps.

Mihigrul Tursun is an Uyghur woman who as in Egypt while she gave birth to her triplets, but when she returned to China after her trip, she was detained at the airport, and her children were forcefully removed from her. She was arrested and placed in the concentration camps for three months. She witnessed her neighbours, teachers, friends die and be tortured in front of her. When she was later released, she went to the hospital as her children were being kept there. When she got there, there were only two children. When she demanded where her other child was, she was told that he had died the prior morning and then told that if she makes a scene, the hospital would call the police. With this information, she took her two children and fled to the US, where she was granted asylum. To this day, there are scars on her children, indicating that feeding tubes were being used. The Chinese government claims that everything she claims is a “complete lie.” Today, Mihigrul remains vocal and continuously speaks against the ethnic cleansing to the public.

Mihigrul Tursun’s story is just 1 out of what we assume to be 2 million. It’s sad, really, that this is being ignored to the extent that it is. And I’m not talking about the general public, like you, me, or your followers; I’m talking about governments in general.

Here are some more links to more accounts and evidence:

In a joint statement to the High Commissioner of the United Nations, many nations called China out on the detention camps. As a rebuttal, 37 countries came to Chinas defence and disregarded the report of the detention camps. Nearly half of these countries are Muslim majority, which to me, is rather ironic. Some of these countries include Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwait, Myanmar.

Here’s a list of all 37 countries:

This is a human rights issue and all fo u are involved in some way or another. For example: Do you watch Disney movies? Mulan, maybe?

Well, if you didn’t already know, the social media campaign, “#BoycottMulan,” began at the beginning of September when the new live-action movie “Mulan” was released. This was because a major film company decided not only to film but thank Xinxiang for the treatment the company received within the area.

Not only Disney but Netflix. Currently, their Chinese Author Liu Cixins novel is being adapted to be put onto Netflix, an author who repeated Chinese propaganda regarding the “reeducation camps”.

The treatment of the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China is frankly disgusting to me, and the lack of support they have is equally as bad. This group is continuously being looked over, ignored, and lacks the basic human rights that they deserve, basic rights that we take advantage of. They do deserve to live in fear, have their children taken away from them, be humiliated, forced to believe something is inherently wrong with him, and be horrendously punished if they don’t follow extreme guidelines that are forced on them. Like I said earlier, I don’t know everything about the Uyghurs, and I don’t know if I ever will understand the pain they are going through, but I encourage everyone to the best they can to at least support the human rights of this group; it’s the least they deserve.

Heres a helpcarrd for information and ways to help:


About the Author

Hello!! I’m a first year Psychology major at UAlberta. I love putting my voice out there and being able to advocate or open up a dialogue about anything I’m passionate about. I’m so excited to create and work on new pieces that (I hope!!) you will all enjoy. Some of my hobbies are creating new Spotify albums and Pinterest boards while watching any docu series I can get my hands on.