Uyghurs are an ethnic and religious minority population of more than 12 million people in China and they mainly live in Xinjiang, the largest province of the Communist country. Xinjiang borders Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Its full name is the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. It briefly gained independence in the 1940s, but China again took over it in 1949. This region is rich in natural resources.
Uyghurs people are often victim of bigotry and polarization. In August 2018, a UN human rights cell reported that over one million people of this community were being held in concentration centres in Xinjiang, raising concerns that China had turned the region into “a massive internment camp shrouded in secrecy”. The Chinese government has denied the numbers, but admitted that the camps were established to re-educate and tame “religious extremists”.
American journalist CJ Werleman writes in ExtraNewsfeed, “Upwards of three million Muslims are being held against their will in a network of concentration camps simply because the China’s ruling Communist Party (CCP) deems the indigenous population of Xinjiang — ethnic Uyghur — to be a potential threat to its ‘One Belt, One Road’ economic strategy, one that aims to provide Beijing greater access to the Middle East and Europe via exerting its influence and dominance over central Asia.”
Randall Schriver, leader of Asia policy at the US Defense Department, in May this year confirmed that the magnitude of the detention was closer to three million people.
Everybody has its underbelly and China’s strength is its economy, so if Muslim countries cut economic relations with China this could end Muslim concentration camps in the country. It is a tragic fact that no Muslim world leader has spoken against China’s persecution of a religious minority to such a high magnitude that it reminds one of Holocaust.
China has criminalised many religious practices including teaching Islamic texts to children, Reuters news agency reported.
The Muslim government leaders including Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan do not condemn cruel treatment of Uyghurs in China for they fear that it could affect their trade deals with China.
“Banning Islam, destroying mosques, and establishing a network of concentration camps are the malicious means in which Beijing is literally making 12 million Muslims in Xinjiang disappear, with widespread accounts of systematic torture, rape, forced sterilization programs, forced marriages of Uyghur women to Han Chinese men, forced adoptions of Uighur children to Han Chinese families, and public executions, alongside evidence pointing to the harvesting of live organs,” writes Werleman.
He suggests that economic and cultural boycott of China could end this grotesque violation of human rights.
Muslim population constitutes 25 percent of the world, while they are also major consumers of Chinese products, so the power they hold of mounting economic pressure is tremendous. Viewing the nature of globalization it could be difficult, but targeting China owned products could have the required effect.