Identity Stripped Away from Uyghur Muslims in China

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By Sophia Cisse

An estimated ten million Uyghur Muslims face ethnic separatism and are being forced into concentration camps in the Western region of Xinjiang, China. These camps were created to “re-educate” and cleanse the minority.

The Chinese government claim that they are doing this “ethnic cleansing” to educate the uneducated. By “uneducated” they are referring to a specific group of people in Western China called the Uyghurs, many of whom are unable to speak Mandarin or Cantonese, but adopt a Turkic language originating from Central Asia. They’ve banned all relations to Islam and Islamic practices, such as wearing the hijab, growing out long beards, having Muslims names, and exposing Islamic teachings to children.

Concern arose last year when researchers publicized a satellite photo of the campsites they came across. A crew from BBC News went to check out the camps in Xinjiang but during their journey, five police cars were following and ended up stopping them. The Chinese government also continues to deny the fact Muslims are being locked away without trial and monitor media outlets to keep word from slipping out.

Xinjiang, China

The camps have a specific dress code in which Muslim women do not wear the hijabs, which is the Islamic headwear. Police are also forcing residents to give up their passports for “safe-keeping”. The Uyghur government completely forbids people from practicing Islam, fasting during Ramadan, or even going to pray at the Mosque. At the camps, different accommodations are provided for women and men. These camps in Xinjiang serve various purposes, such as schools and factories scattered across the city.

On the other hand, the Chairman of Xinjiang argues that in the past 21 months, there has been no violence or terrorism attack, and the criminal cases and security rating has decreases. He also claims that Xinjiang is safe and stable now.

Muslims are being forced to to drink alcohol and eat pork in China’s “re-education”  camps. Children are getting treated as orphans and the government is placing them in “Child Welfare Guidance Centres”, under the care of the state. The children are also denied of the care of their parents, then removed from Muslim communities and Central Asian, daily lives. Of the million, several Muslims were taken without their consent and the Mosques are burned down. China’s ruling Communist said that they are providing job training and helping them flee poverty, being less progressed, and trying to make them refuse their conservative beliefs. That is what they claim they are doing, but the truth is forced labor and hating their own beliefs. The goal is really to transform the minorities into disciplined, Mandarin-speaking industrial workers force for the Communist party and factory bosses.  

In support of the Uyghur Muslims, people are standing in protest in front of Chinese embassies and advise others to do the same. They want to catch the attention of world leaders and authorities for real action to be taken against the Chinese government. One public figure is Aydin Anwar, an Uyghur-American Activist, who gave her audience an insight on what is really happening with her people in China and the video she made went viral in December of 2018.  Many people are not aware of what is happening, but those who do are spreading awareness on social media and other forms of protest to end the suffrage the Uyghurs are facing in China.

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