Condition of Uighurs in Xinjiang: A tale to be heard


Picture Credit: BBC

In a view of thousands of Muslims from China's Uighur minority group reportedly working in the factories under coercive conditions, China is now legally obliged to face restrictions in various forms from the international community.

China has already detained about a million Uighurs at internment camps, punishing and indoctrinating them. Some Chinese officials believe that these camps solve the purpose of countering extremism.

As per the estimates by The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), more than 80,000 Uighurs were transferred out of the far western Xinjiang autonomous region to work in factories across China from detention camps.

The ASPI report also claimed that the Uighur muslims were moved through labour transfer schemes that operate under a central government policy known as Xinjiang Aid. They were then being transferred to factories that provide supply chains for global brands such as Nike, Apple and Dell which in turn benefit from forced Chinese labour.

"Our report makes it really clear that the dispossession of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang also has a really strong character of economic exploitation," the ASPI report author told BBC.

Beijing is constantly facing pressure from international bodies over this issue.

The European Parliament earlier in the month, released an official statement and has adopted a resolution condemning China over allegations of forced labor by minority groups, a media report said.

"Parliament strongly condemns the Chinese government-led system of forced labour in particular the exploitation of Uyghur, ethnic Kazakh and Kyrgyz, and other Muslim minority groups in factories within and outside internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region," the EU said in a statement.

Beijing since then has been denying allegations of forced labor and human rights abuses in the province which is home to around 11 million muslim ethnic minority (Uyghurs) that hold a distinct culture and speak a language similar to Turkish.

Additionally, last week the US administration announced that it will block cotton imports that are being produced with forced labour in China's western Xinjiang region.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order on cotton from Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps that would further allow the agency to detain shipments at US ports and give companies the opportunity to export their shipments or to demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labour.

This is for the sixth time that a recent order has been blocked from China's Xinjiang region.

Picture Credit: RTE

More on Uighurs

The fundamentalism has infested China! This is evident from the recent Chinese persecution of Uighurs residing in Xinjiang province of northwestern China. The Uighurs also known as Uygur are the village dwellers hailing originally from interior regions of Asia residing in vast networks of oases which are formed in valleys and slopes of Pamirs and Tien Shan mountain ranges . The Uighurs are predominantly Turkish speaking muslims having small populations in China, and parts of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Uighurs declared independence in the early 20th century but were taken over by the Chinese communist government in 1949. They regarded Xinjiang as an independent state within China just like Tibet, the region had no autonomy and control over its subjects.

The initial disputes between China and Uighurs dates back in the 1950's when the region witnessed the influx of HAN (ethnic Chinese) immigrants who multiplied tenfold by the 1990's. This inlux led to stark economic disparities and ethic feuds between the two ethic groups which further escalated into a massacre in July 2009.

At present, detainees are reportedly kept in prison like conditions and are often subjected to abuse and trauma before being forced to change their religion to convert out of islam and pledge loyalty towards Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, Chinese authorities have seemingly used dictatorship to weed out regionalism in China. The authorities believe that any expression of Islam as religious extremision should need to be brought down.


By Kavya Kothiyal I Shrey Madaan

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