With all that is happening in the world, the Uyghurs are in need of help more than ever. Evidence of cultural genocide is persistent and various media outlets have struggled to provide adequate context on an issue that is largely being concealed by the Chinese government.
The Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim group of people who are culturally and ethnically Turkish. A large population of them are located in Xinjiang, China where they are currently being persecuted. The government of China had already targeted the population by banning their language, burning any related literature, restricting them, and criminalizing their religion. Since 2017, Xinjiang authorities have been sending their Uyghur population into what appear to be state-sponsored concentration camps where they are being “re-educated”. The United Nations has reported that around one million people are located in these camps, but it is estimated that the number could be up to three million people across five hundred camps.
The purpose of these facilities is for the Uyghur population is unclear; however, allegations of torture, surveillance, and the inability to practice their religion are rampant. Other charges include allegations of family separation – men being sent into concentration camps while children are left in orphanages and women are forced to marry non-Uyghur Chinese men. Former detainees have reported that while inside the camp, people are forced to drink alcohol, eat pork, and denounce Islam. Not only are the prisoners cramped into tiny spaces, they are also treated horribly. Although men are primarily sent to these camps, women may be sent as well, where there is anecdotal evidence of torture and sexual assault. There are also further allegations of other crimes against humanity and dignity that bring to mind some of the most notorious human rights abuses of history. The government of China continues to cover its scheme by denying accusations and it is suspected that they are covering up the numbers of the dead or missing Uyghur population.
The living conditions outside of these camps are not much better. Spyware applications are installed into their phones where their activity is monitored. Honouring the Muslim faith is surveiled, and freedom of religion is seriously restricted by the Communist regime. For many, escape is unlikely and their options for emancipation are unlikely.
The official position of the Government of Canada is that they are not quite yet willing to admit that the Uyghur crisis constitutes a genocide. Even though parliament recently voted to recognize it as one, Cabinet and Prime Minister Trudeau either did not attend or abstained from the vote. The Canadian government is currently in a not-so-politically advantageous position with respect to China, as the Chinese government is currently detaining two Canadian citizens – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – on charges of “espionage”. Canada’s government is also detaining Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on behalf of the United States, who have credible evidence that Huawei has pre-installed spyware on cell phone handsets with the intent of infiltrating 5G telecommunications networks.
No person deserves to have to face prosecution for their religious beliefs and it is our job to help stand up for the Uyghur people before they are forgotten. As of now, you can help by donating, petitioning, and using your voice to free the Uyghur population in China as they are in urgent need of help today.