Date :Saturday, August 4th, 2018 | Time : 08:49 |ID: 68068 | Print

Systematic violation of human rights against Uighurs, Muslims around the world stand silent!

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SHAFAQNA – The future of more than 10 million Uighurs, the members of China’s Turkic-speaking Muslim minority, is looking increasingly grim. Politicians and many religious leaders are silent in the face of China’s political and economic power. Part of the answer is that money talks. China has become a key trade partner of every Muslim-majority nation.

As the Chinese authorities continue a brutal crackdown in Xinjiang, the northwest region of China that’s home to the Uighur, Islam has been one of the main targets. Major mosques in the major cities of Kashgar and Urumqi now stand empty. Students, musicians, athletes, and peaceful academics jailed. A massive high-tech surveillance state that monitors and judges every movement. The future of more than 10 million Uighurs, the members of China’s Turkic-speaking Muslim minority, is looking increasingly grim.

Prisoners in the camps are told to renounce God and embrace the Chinese Communist Party. Prayers, religious education, and the Ramadan fast are increasingly restricted or banned. Even in the rest of China, Arabic text is being stripped from public buildings, and Islamophobia is being tacitly encouraged by party authorities.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies their existence

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies their existence. But extensive reporting by international media and human rights groups indicates upwards of hundreds of thousands of Uighurs — a Muslim-minority ethnic group — have been detained in sprawling “re-education” centres in the far-western Xinjiang region of China, Abc news reported.

The camps are not only massive, with some exceeding 10,000 square metres, but have also been likened to prison-like compounds, with, “reinforced security doors and windows, surveillance systems, secure access systems, watchtowers, and guard rooms or facilities for armed police.

The US Congressional-Executive Commission on China calls it, “The largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today”.

An aggressive integration strategy

China has long been wary of its Uighur population, particularly in the wake of deadly riots, terrorist attacks and the flow of Uighur militants to Syria and Iraq to fight with Islamic State in recent years.

Xinjiang’s position at the crossroads of East and West, as well as the cultural, religious and ethnic differences between the majority Han and minority Uighurs, have posed significant challenges to the Communist Party.

To bring more stability to the restive region, Beijing has pursued an aggressive integration strategy defined by tight political, social and cultural controls, the encouragement of mass migration by the dominant Han Chinese population, and state-led economic development.

In turn, the Uighurs have increasingly chafed against these restrictive policies, resulting in periodic outbursts of violence.

In recent years, Beijing has leveraged the global war on terror and the existence of a small number of Uighur militants abroad to crack down on the Uighur ethnic identity even further.

Now, re-education camps have emerged as a repugnant but depressingly logical extension of this process. The Government calls them “transformation through education” centers, which harks back to the institutions of “thought reform” established under Mao Zedong in the 1950s.

A similar theme can be seen in the current re-education camps in Xinjiang, where detainees are forced to sing patriotic songs, take part in self-criticism sessions and sit through lectures on Xi Jinping “thought”, Chinese language, Chinese law and the dangers of Islam.

Systematic violation of human rights

The camps, in fact, represent not only a systematic violation of human rights, but the abject failure of the party’s efforts to integrate Xinjiang and its people into the nation.

This began shortly after Mr Xi assumed the presidency in 2013 when he launched the “Seven Perils” campaign to combat so-called subversive ideas. This targeted things like Western constitutional democracy, universal values of human rights and press freedom.

He also stressed a core lesson learned from the collapse of the Soviet Union — that the system failed because the Communist Party wavered in its ideals and nobody was man enough to resist then-leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s move toward dissolution.

Mr Xi has also intensified the party’s obsession with “stability maintenance” to almost paranoiac levels. China has rapidly embraced cutting-edge technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence in the pursuit of this objective.

Significantly, elements of this system have been in operation in Xinjiang for some time, such as the use of facial recognition scanners at police checkpoints, train stations and petrol stations, and the collection of DNA samples and biometric data from the Uighur population.

China’s international power and influence continue to rise

As China’s international power and influence continue to rise, there are fears the instruments of coercion perfected in Xinjiang could be used to target other ethnic or religious minorities and dissidents — both inside China and abroad.

Such fears are stoked by the fact China, and its major tech companies such as Huawei, have begun to ink deals under the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) to export these cutting-edge surveillance technology and systems to a variety of countries, from Zimbabwe to Mongolia.

To begin with, Australia should simply call out Beijing’s actions in Xinjiang for what they are — systematic violations of the human rights of the Uighur people — much as US Congressional leaders and some members of the European Union have done.

Canberra has done so in the past with respect to the Tiananmen Square massacre and other human rights violations.

Muslim leaders and communities around the world stand silent

But amid this state-backed campaign against their religious brethren, Muslim leaders and communities around the world stand silent. While the fate of the Palestinians stirs rage and resistance throughout the Islamic world, and millions stood up to condemn the persecution of the Rohingya, there’s been hardly a sound on behalf of the Uighur. No Muslim nation’s head of state has made a public statement in support of the Uighurs this decade.

Politicians and many religious leaders who claim to speak for the faith are silent in the face of China’s political and economic power.

“One of our primary barriers has been a definite lack of attention from Muslim-majority states,” said Peter Irwin, a project manager at the World Uighur Congress.

This isn’t out of ignorance. “It is very well documented,” said Omer Kanat, the director of the Uighur Human Rights Project.

Many Muslim governments have strengthened their relationship with China or even gone out of their way to support China’s persecution. Last summer, Egypt deported several ethnic Uighurs back to China, where they faced near-certain jail time and, potentially, death, to little protest. This followed similar moves by Malaysia and Pakistan in 2011.

Many are members of the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank or are participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In South Asia, this means infrastructure investment. In Southeast Asia, China is a key market for commodities such as palm oil and coal.

Middle East is becoming economically dependent on China

According to forein policy, the Middle East benefits due to China’s position as the world’s top importer of oil and its rapidly increasing use of natural gas.

Many states in the Middle East are becoming more economically dependent on China,” said Simone van Nieuwenhuizen, a Chinese-Middle East relations expert at the University of Technology Sydney. “China’s geoeconomic strategy has resulted in political influence.”

The US had seen the Asian power as an ally in the “war on terror”, but the tide has now turned, and one can only hope that the international community will soon pressure China into allowing 12 million Uighur Muslims to live on their land in peace.

This global silence can be partly blamed on China attempting to anchor Uighur Muslim aspirations for liberation with “War on Terror” discourse, with China successfully convincing the United States and its allies that it, like them, was at war with “radical Islam”, Alaraby reported.

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