“Humane job-training centers”-the label China gives to its Muslim internment camps, according to the New York Times. These camps are supposedly intended to educate Chinese Muslim residents and contain terrorism; Chinese government even goes as far as to classify prisoners as “students”.
According to The Guardian, when the United Nations received word this past December that 1.1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs, Hui, and several other ethnic minorities had been forcibly placed into these facilities, they requested access to the camps. However, Beijing immediately rushed to proclaim that the camps themselves were educational and relatively harmless, located in the peaceful city of Xinjiang.
According to NPR, once a Muslim enters these camps they are forced to renounce their religion of Islam, which is statistically one of the official religions of China, and declare loyalty to the Communist Party,. These prisoners are then tortured and usually do not step on free soil again.
In 1966, Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong led a cultural revolution that resulted in 1.5 million deaths.Zedong time as “re-education centers,” Political/social commentators and human rights experts would argue that history is being repeated as the Chinese government practices what some may label as“ethnic and religious cleansing” on Muslims. Yet the world remains quiet.
A shadow of American debt to China acts as a barrier to vocalizing the obvious human rights abuse happening across the world. In fact, when looking back at history, most leaders placing people in “concentration” or “internment” camps do not admit to it. Due to China’s tight grip that ingrains fear into so many nations, none of them are prideful enough to spread the word of the injustices occurring in Xinjiang. preventing any People cannot even bring themselves to think of the children and family members lined up outside the buildings, waiting to visit their fathers or uncles, as the topic is so taboo and civilians are terrified to even mention what is occuring behind closed doors. But when it comes down to it, that must mean that leading world powers simply value finances over human rights, meaning China has not only the United States but several other countries, in its pocket.
One would think, as a nation that has persevered through destructive world and civil wars, , dealt with the loss of soldiers from the attack on Pearl Harbor, and apologized for our Japanese internment camps as proposed in Executive Order 9066, the country would have learned from history; our atrocities.
However, as events over time continuously prove, history repeats itself. With eyes focused in on numbers increasing behind their economies, industrialized countries forget their moral duty to the preservation of human rights. This invites the conclusion that standing by and watching this form of torture and dehumanization happen and consequently doing nothing about it is just as bad as doing it themselves.
In the progressive society of America, change cannot come faster. The young generations claim to be educated and informed about what is happening around the world, but most only discovered what was taking place in Xinjiang via viral Instagram posts. Upon seeing such atrocities on Instagram, it is not uncommon that these teens post about the injustices, but then put their phone down and take a nap. This leaves many to wonder how exactly change will come about if the young generation feels they are creating this change simply by typing a few words or putting a gif on an image for their story. In actuality, people can do much more alongside the strong and vocal movements they already participate in. If they are 18, they can vote for representatives who pledge to create the drastic change the world needs in institutionalized racism, Islamophobia, and sexism and any other form of prejudice on the basis of identity expression. Prior to turning 18, minors can still make calls to their representatives and talk their ear off about change- or at least, their secretary’s ear.
Although the events currently happening in Xinjiang are somewhat hidden in terms of media coverage, that does not mean they are inexistent. Major news outlets neglect to provide Americans with the true information, mainly due to the fact that the internment camps are simply, scary. Citizens of America choose to ignore the ugly parts and events of the world, and instead, focus on internal crises of lesser importance. However, it must be reiterated, that every day in Xinjiang, more Muslims are forced to renounce Islam, and more fathers, sons, and friends die.