The Genocide No One Seems to Care About

Mohamad Hashem, Staff Writer

China has the largest population in the world, with the number of Chinese people reaching almost 1.39 billion people. However, with a population that big, there are going to be many different cultures and subdivisions. The World Bank lists at least 56 ethnic groups in China, the biggest group the Hans have 900 million people. Meaning that any other group would automatically be considered a minority. One ethnic group which is located in the Xinjiang region of China is the Uighurs. 


The Uighurs are are a Muslim Turkic ethnic group, sometimes labeled as “East Turkmenistan.” They are more similar to other Turkic groups than they are similar to the predominant Han group. China fears that the Uighurs would be more loyal to Turkmenistan or other Turkic nations than they would to China.


So in the effort of spreading Han nationalism, and unifying the country, China began detaining the Uighurs into camps, much like concentration camps from WWII. 


The “re-education” camps are used to torture the Uighur and strip them from their religion and identity. They are banned from using their native tongue, and are tortured if they practice their religion. There has also been sexual torture, physical torture such as waterboarding, being handcuffed to metal contraptions and many other brutal forms of torture.


The Uighurs are also being forced to take pills that would make them infertile, and weaken their health. They’re being forced to study and support Chinese communist propaganda and the current leader, Xi Jinping. 


These camps have existed since 2014, and have only been increasing. The Chinese government first denied their existence, then proceeded to claim that they are rehabilitation camps for extremists to prevent terrorism. However, mostly everyone who was detained was innocent with no terrorist or violent background, they’re detained simply because of their race and religion. 


As tensions between China and the U.S. have been rising due to the trade war, America finally decided to do something about this crisis that has been going on for more than half a decade. Late November, congress passed two bills; one condemning the current Hong Kong situation, and another for the Uighur Genocide. 


The Uighur Act of 2019, calls of sanctions against Chinese officials who partake in the genocide. It currently sits at the Republican-controlled senate’s door waiting to be approved. This bill could pressure China into freeing the Uighurs or it could make matters worse. For now, all we can do is spread awareness, call our senators and demand for the bill to be accepted. There are some charities for supporting the cause, such as Uighurs Human Rights Project, the Uighurs American Association, and others. We do not have to repeat history, we can strive for change.