Uighur Muslims In China: Is This The Beginning Of A Second Holocaust?

Renée Darbonne

North Bureau Chief

The Uighur Muslims are a Turkic ethnic group predominantly residing in Xinjiang.

Uighurs speak various dialects of two languages divided by the remnants of two independent republics.

There are roughly 11 million Uighur Muslims living in the mountainous region of northwest China formally known as Xinjiang.

Currently, there are Uighur Muslims being held in “re-education” concentration camps in China and there is no uproar.

We are failing these victims by turning a blind eye and continuing to support a government that commits and violates basic human rights.

Often times when recollecting great events like World War II, many will express that if they had been in a situation to help someone suffering from prosecution, they would have come to their aid immediately.

As of recent, there are two major things happening: the current leader of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping is exercising his authority in China and has sent Uighur Muslims to concentration camps, or what he referred to as “re-education camps.”

This term is inspired by Mao Zedong’s renaming of genocide as a “cultural revolution”. With Jinping following in Mao’s footsteps it is clear that history is repeating itself.

Uighur Muslims are being forced into erasing their cultures and identities so that they can merely survive. If they refuse to submit, mothers are separated from children, children are tortured into neglecting their identities and they are tortured into denouncing their religion; pledging allegiance to the Communist Party.

These violations against humanity are simply occurring because Uighurs practice Islam. This is seen as a behavior that is not part of their monotonous culture. It is seen as extremist and unsafe.

Although the forced imprisonment of more than a million Uighur Muslims in detention camps may evoke outrage and terror to most, may Americans still wonder “why should I care?”

Well, I challenge you to look at your shoes. Approximately 99 percent of the shoes sold in America are made in China. According to Ana Nicolaci de Costa, a reporter for BBC News, distributors like Nike, Naturalizer, Dr. Scholl’s, Hush Puppies, Keds and many more American companies make their shoes in China. They can exploit the low costs of labor and production.

Now, look at your shirt and jeans. China is one of the world’s greatest producers of cotton with 80 percent of labor coming from Xinjiang where forced labor is all too common.

Human rights groups are saying Xinjiang’s Uighur Muslims are being persecuted for minute offenses and enlisted for forced labor.

As Americans, we must send a message to the Chinese government that this abuse of the Uighur Muslims will not be ignored or tolerated.

This is why I am boycotting products made in China. I refuse to support a nation that is committing genocide and so I urge you to do the same.

This is no easy feat as most items in stores are made in China, so I understand if this is a practice that you cannot financially support. Just be aware of where your clothes come from and remember the Uighurs when you make your next purchase.


Photo courtesy of WisconsinMuslimJournal.com

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