By Yasir Mungani
When you hear the name, Adolf Hitler, it is usually followed by thoughts of the horrible things he did. Like his means to eradicate every Jew in his sight, or use his political power to siege chaos on particular groups of society. The same thing happens when most Muslims hear the word China or the Chinese government, and you’re about to find out why. The Chinese government is currently responsible for the death and torture of thousands, if not millions, of Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps.
These camps have been around for some time, in fact, as early as 2017, but thanks to China’s great censorship and control of media, you are now only finding out. Recently a reporter from BBC news was stationed in Xiajing reporting from one of these illegal camps, “China is building a total surveillance state, it’s a place were saying, doing, or even thinking the wrong thing can get you locked up”1 The Chinese government does not want this getting to the public eye, because shortly after, he says “foreign journalists are certainly not welcome” as he gets rushed by Chinese officers.
Xijiang is a small autonomous region in northeastern China, it is home to several ethnic groups. The majority of these groups are targeted by the Chinese government, but the Uighurs have the biggest target on their back. The Uighurs are an ethnically Turkic group, even though they culturally associate themselves with Central Asian countries, the region is still considered to be a part of China after it was brought under complete Chinese control during their communist era in 1942.
Whether the Chinese government calls it “Re-education camps” or as it is officially known “Vocational training and educating centers” these camps are a precedent set by the Nazi concentration camps nearly a hundred years ago. One can see that they are after the same thing, ethnic cleansing. However, the Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming thinks so otherwise.
Xiaoming made an appearance with BBC and denied any claims of “ethnic cleansing” despite all the government’s actions being in secret and of no legal status. When he was asked what the situation in Xinjiang is after footage of blindfolded Uighurs being transported with handcuffs surfaced in late July, he immediately jumps to mentioning how the population of the Uighurs increased by half in over forty years, but that wasn’t the question. Either China’s political figures don’t know what is going on in their country, or they are simply ignoring until the task is done.
Sure the situation looks and sounds bad from the outside. Whether you’re reading it from this article, or have seen it from the countless Muslims who are using their platforms to raise awareness across multiple media outlets. It is much worse for those experiencing it. “Just shoot them. I’ll pay for the bullet”2 says Abdurahman Hassan, after spending months away from his wife, kids and, mother. A Uighur born man who has escaped to Turkey along with many other Uighurs, Hassan can no longer endure imagining what the Chinese are doing to his loved ones, but what he does know is that death is the more merciful choice.