The training camps setup in the name of neutralizing alleged extremist Muslims in Chinese province Xinjiang are actually prison cells where followers of Islam are being forced to shun their religion.
The Chinese government says the ‘training camps’ were established to make them do away with the extremist thinking. While, members of the Uyghur community living in Pakistan have denied the claims saying that the Chinese government wanted Muslims to do not practice their religion.
Talking to Dialogue Pakistan, one Pakistani Uyghur, Mohammad Hassan said he was born in Xinjiang and now he had been living in Pakistan for the last 30 years. “My mother, father, two brothers and two sisters had come to Pakistan, while the rest of the family members and relatives are living in China, where the government has established jails in the name of schools,” he said.
Hassan said aim of the prisons was to forcibly make Muslims communist. He said his around 200 relatives were in prison including his brother, sister-in-law, sister and their sons and daughters. He said those who were imprisoned were “alleged” of performing religious rituals and prayers.
Another Pakistani Uyghur, Abdul Majeed said he was born in Pakistan as his family had migrated here in 1970s, while some of his relatives were still residing in the province which was once a part of Turkestan.
“The last time I met my relatives was in 2008, after which I was blacklisted and could never again visit China and neither could I establish contact with them. We are trying to get them released because, as per our knowledge, they are confined in the camps for no reason,” he said.
Abdul Majeed stressed on the Muslim Ummah to pressurize the Chinese government to release all the inmates present in the camps.
A Pakistani Uyghur businessman Mairajuddin said his ancestors had come to Pakistan between 1965 and 1970 and they were now citizens of the country. “We started cloth business here in Pakistan. We had no restriction to visit the neighbouring communist country until few years ago, so we could easily go and bring cloth to sell in the country. However, China has imposed strict restrictions now, hence we could no more go there,” he said.
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan were one country once and Xinjiang was eastern part of greater Turkestan which was later annexed by China in 1950s.