Xinjiang Internment Camps for Muslims
Why the West needs to act on Chinese Internment Comps for Uighur Muslims
Late last week, the US condemned China’s use of what they called re-education centres to detain millions of Muslims living in the country. it is an issue which has been going on for many months, with the first Uighur Muslims being detained in camps of this kind in April 2017, yet only now has it received the media coverage which it desperately required. The camps are centred around the Xinjiang border region in North-West China.
Tensions between China and the US were increased when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced there would be sanctions against China, which China later confirmed they would retaliate to should the situation reach that point.
In an official statement, the following claim was made by head of Asia policy of the US Defence Department Randell Schriver.
“The (Chinese) Communist Party is using the security forces for mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps,”
Schriver also told the Pentagon the number of Muslims, Uighur and other ethnic minority groups, that were being detained was over three million.
The reasoning behind the camps, given by several top Chinese officials in the last few months, is that the camps are to ‘re-educate’ the countries Muslim population to prevent radicalisation and the threat of terrorist action. In February 2019 a senior diplomat told visiting foreign envoys that the work which was being carried out in the re-education centres was highly successful and valuable, claiming that it had helped to prevent further terrorist attacks.
Those detained at the camps have been done so various reasons. Some are being held because of their contact to countries which China does not welcome, such as Turkey and Afghanistan. Others have been sent away purely because they chose to attend services in Mosques. It is obvious religious persecution and it is affecting many innocent people trying to go about their day to day lives as normal.
Perhaps understandably, information of live in these camps has been scarce. The most genuine accounts have come from those fleeing across the Chinese border into one of the eight countries which surrounds the Xinjiang province, with some saying detainees are forced to pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and renounce Islam entirely. During interrogation others said they were subject to torture and sleep deprivation.
These camps also tear families apart. Children whose parents are sent away cannot go with them, instead they are placed into state run orphanages with no guarantee if they will ever be reunited.
They are supposedly camps which will dampen out any radical or terrorist thinking, but if anything this kind of behaviour from China’s Communist regime will encourage retaliation against what is happening to millions of Muslims. Religious beliefs should be down to personal preference and all should have the right to choose what and how to practice their religion. However, in Communist China it is becoming increasingly harder for Muslims to do this. If there is a way to promote peace in Islam and other religions, then China is certainly doing it wrong.
Wider condemnation has been forthcoming recently and the attention of the US will surely see more done by the West to put a stop to the inhumane camps in North West China. Yet until then, the number of Muslims being detained purely for their religious beliefs will no doubt continue to rise.