Many people view China as a wonderful country but what many might not know is that China is brutally killing and detaining its own people, the Uyghur people.

The autonomous region of Xinjiang is home to over 11 million Muslims and most of them belong to the Uyghurs. The Uyghurs are a minority Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the regions of Central and East Asia.

Between 1 and 3 million Uyghur have been detained in detention camps and the Chinese government has been reportedly expanding these camps to suppress and separate the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang.

China has over 85 reported detention camps used to detain, interrogate and beat Uyghurs. The government denied their existence for years. But after images emerged of camp buildings with barbed wires and watchtowers, the government admitted that these are not camps but rather, re-educational schools for Muslims to change their supposed aggressive behavior and to deal with Islamic extremism. The Chinese government claims that Uyghurs in those camps are treated well and are not forced to change their beliefs or religion but it’s a lie.

Uyghur woman and mother of three, Mihrigul Tursun, told the story of her horrific experience to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

She was forced to leave her husband in Egypt and go back to China where she was then detained. Her triplets were taken from her and when she asked to see them she discovered one of them had died. She says that she and other women detained with her were forced to take unknown pills and get injections every day.

China has over 85 reported detention camps used to detain, interrogate and beat Uyghurs.

They were also forced to pray for the chairman of the Communist Chinese Party to live long and sing songs hailing the communism. She was then released from the camps and had two men living with her and following her everywhere.

In her story, she mentioned that she was detained three different times without any reason and after leaving the camp for the third time she learned that her husband, who flew to China to look for her, is currently detained and in prison.

Her story was then transferred into a manga, a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, that illustrated the story. The news surrounding her experience caused people to call out the Chinese government for their atrocities.

Some people started raising more awareness about the crisis, like soccer player Mesut Ozil who recently tweeted that the Uyghur were “warriors who resist persecution” while also pointing out the silence of Muslims and the world. Then it was announced that Ozil was officially removed from the new release of three different video games that a Chinese company makes.

But why are Uyghurs and Muslims targeted in China?

Fear and hate. Authorities fear that because of their religious beliefs, they might commit crimes so they need to be kept under supervision until they are freed from their extreme thoughts. Authorities claim that Uyghurs are a threat to security pointing out attacks that happened back in 2013 and 2014 when Uyghur militias took responsibility for it.

In addition to these horrible camp conditions, women are being violated and families separated. Thousands of Uyghur Muslim parents reported that their children have been missing. Authorities are keeping the parents away from their children and from obtaining any information about their whereabouts. 

Recently, The New York Times released leaked documents from the Chinese government that shows that the government is showing “No Mercy” to its Muslim minorities. The UN Human Rights Council heard that China is harvesting a massive number of human organs from Uyghur Muslims, while China denies it.

Calls for boycotting Chinese products are happening across the world.

People are also calling for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics to show the government and authorities these acts are unforgivable. Religious persecution is unforgivable. It is wrong and it needs to stop happening worldwide. The conditions Uyghurs are facing must end and the Chinese government needs to face trial for their crimes.

Thousands of Uyghur Muslim parents reported that their children have been missing.

Islam is not a religion of crime, terrorism, hatred or oppression. It’s a religion that promotes peace, freedom, love and good manners. Not allowing people to freely practice their religion or faith is what oppression, hate, and terrorism look like.

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Maram Farag

By Maram Farag

Editorial Fellow