Recently, a number of reports have surfaced about the Uighur Muslims of the Xinjiang province of China. The chilling moves by China against the Muslim minority in its northwestern province have destroyed thousands of mosques in the last two years. Numerous residents have lost connection with their families. The Concentration Camps have mushroomed in the province especially since 2018 wherein the Uighurs have been illegally detained.
The aim of the Communist Party is to de-radicalize the Uighurs. Few people believe the narrative being woven by the Chinese Government that Uighurs are radical. The propaganda of the concentration camps being ‘job training camps’ has already been trashed since a few videos have emerged on various social platforms. By one estimate more than 3 million Uighurs have been detained aged between 20 to 45 years. They are basically healthy males who could take street to ask their ultimate rights, which is nothing but independence. This also presents a threat to the world.
The UN and the US have also been fairly active in pushing for the interests of the Uighurs, albeit for various reasons. Some former inmates have indicated that the indoctrination process lasts several months and the inmates are forced to denounce Islam and criticize their own Islamic beliefs and those of their fellow inmates. They are also asked to recite Communist Party propaganda songs for hours each day.
Chinese authorities are pursuing anti Uighur policies with scant regard to both humanitarian values as well as religious beliefs. According to Wall Street Journal, the camps are rapidly expanding to increase their capacities exponentially. The US Congressional Commission on China has described it as ‘the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today’. Slowly, the Communist Government has also started targeting the benign manifestations of the Muslim religion.
There were reports in Central Asian media that the Uighurs in Xinjiang are flowing Qurans in Ili river, a river which runs from Xinjiang into Kazakhstan. The reason behind Uighurs sending Qurans across border into Kazakhstan is to prevent the Islamic holy book from being confiscated by the Chinese authorities and to prevent desecration of Quran by Chinese authorities. The villagers from Chinese side of Xinjiang would wrap these Qurans in polythene bags and flow it into the rivers. The desperate attempts by Muslims population to safeguard their religious freedom and tools of practicing the religion are yet to gain significant support from other Islamic countries.
With BRI projects running into around 60 Islamic countries, there is scope that ill treatment of Uighurs by Chinese authorities will be met by protests in these countries, which may bring big security risks to Chinese nationals and projects.
The Islamic world however, is yet to recognize the religious oppression by Chinese authorities over Uighurs in Xinjiang. Stories of similar violations and destruction of Islamic structures has been reported in Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and Inner Mongolia, leading to strong discontent of local Muslim population.
It is time that so called vanguards of Islamic world such as Pakistan and Turkey must focus their attention on human rights violations in Chinese ethnic Muslim regions, which are far greater than isolated incidents of anti Islamic acts being performed by individuals. The strong discontent among local Muslim population over destruction of Islamic structures and above all to prevent the desecration of Quran, needs strong support from Islamic world, or else, the Muslim population under atheist CCP will be reduced to children of lesser gods.