Home Russia & China China China’s so-called re-education camps: Torture cells for Muslims

China’s so-called re-education camps: Torture cells for Muslims

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Abdul Rasool Syed |

What’s happening in China under the guise of re-education of the Uighur Muslims is quite shameful. It seems that China, like that of the west, is also suffering from paranoia pertaining to Muslims. Islamophobia is mounting unprecedentedly with each passing day in Chinese society. It is quite evident in the policy of the communist party of China (CPC) towards the Muslim population, particularly towards the Muslim inhabitants of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

In fact, re-education is an attempt to proselytize Muslims to Chinese socialism as a socio-politico-religious ideology.  Further, it is also in pursuance of XI Jinping’s policy of Sinicization, introduced in 2015, whereby religions should be subjected to socialist ideology. China under the pretext of re-education and de-radicalization has detained more than a million Uighur Muslims in so-called “re-education camps” where Muslims are subjected to inhuman treatment and are forced to renounce their religious practices.

Gay McDougall, who sits on the UN Committee on the elimination of Racial Discrimination, further claimed that the imprisoned population could be as high as 2 million.

Gay McDougall, who sits on the UN Committee on the elimination of Racial Discrimination, further claimed that the imprisoned population could be as high as 2 million. Whatever the estimates may be, the number of Uighur Muslims being arrested, uprooted from their families and lives, and imprisoned in concentration camps—for no other reason than being Uighur and Muslim- is rising day in, day out. Ironically, China has no remorse for what it is doing with Uighur Muslims. Chinese officials are always found justifying the unjustified prosecution of the Muslims.

Chinese foreign minister while defending his country’s actions said:” the efforts are completely in line with the direction, the international community has taken to combat terrorism…if we can take care of prevention, then it will be impossible for terrorism to spread and take root”. Other Chinese officials defended their country’s actions, claiming that Islam is an “ideological illness” positioning the concentration camp as “hospitals” needed to cure people of this sickness.

Read more: What does the future hold for Muslim Uighurs of China?

China’s ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai remarked that the country is trying to turn the Uighurs into “normal people” and a pro-government newspaper tweeted: “the west should be consistent over its own value system. How can it be fine to kill terrorists with missiles, but a humanitarian crisis when Xinxiang attempts to turn them into normal people?” Such statements insinuate that faith of over 1.7 billion people as an illness from which they need to be cured.

Literally, China is following the footprints of the west that considers Islam as an antiquated and anti-democratic dispensation– promoting extremism and terrorism and therefore calls for its absolute obliteration by criminalizing any expression of Muslim identity, including removing Qurans from people’s homes, restricting fasting during the month of Ramzan, and forbidding Muslim parents from giving their children Muslim names.

Ironically, China has no remorse for what it is doing with Uighur Muslims. Chinese officials are always found justifying the unjustified prosecution of the Muslims.

Apart from this, the Chinese government has established nearly 28 detention camps, described by Amnesty International as comparable to “wartime concentration camps,” aimed at mass scale ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims. To add, US Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Chris Smith termed Xinjiang campaign as “the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today. What happens in these re-education camps is extremely gruesome. Internees are supposed to learn Mandarin and the lyrics to the national anthem as they follow a syllabus extolling the virtues of Chinese socialism.

They are forced to disavow Islamic beliefs, to endlessly criticize themselves and their loved ones, and to loudly praise CPC. They are also required to chant for hours repetitive slogans such as, “we will oppose extremism, we will oppose separatism, and we will oppose terrorism”. The pre-meal chanting includes “thank the party! Thank the motherland! Thank the president Xi!  Furthermore, Male inmates are compelled to shave their beards and are forcefully administered pork and alcohol—which Muslims are forbidden to consume.

Read more: China denies internment of 1 mn Uighurs

The penalty for non-compliance is so extreme that it can result in standing for hours at a time, solitary confinement and the withdrawal of food. Torture devices include tiger chairs (to which prisoners are restrained) and bodysuits made of iron to restrict movement, whilst having their heads thrust into icy water. This program of brainwashing and indoctrination is not limited to the adults only. The state also operates orphanages for Uighur Muslim children taken from their parents, where the process of detaching them from Islamic doctrines and ethnic heritage is deeply ingrained into their education.

At these orphanages, disguised as schools, China is converting future generations of Uighur Muslims children into loyal subjects who embrace atheism and Han customs. Indeed, the Chinese government is deliberately trying to stifle Islamic practices. ChinaAid reported that Muslims are forced to violate their halal diet. The government orders store owners to mix Halal foods with non-halal foods, and if anyone inquires about the ingredients of such food are subject to apprehension.

Internees are supposed to learn Mandarin and the lyrics to the national anthem as they follow a syllabus extolling the virtues of Chinese socialism.

Though the atrocities meted out to Uighur Muslim by the Chinese authorities are so severe yet the global outrage and the political pressures don’t match the velocity and ferocity of such reprehensible actions. Why? The answer is dead simple. Since China is an economic super, and the nations across the world rely on it heavily for imports, trade and more, that’s, why they fear that if they challenged or sanctioned China for its ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims, they would in retaliation be hit back economically.

What is most startling is the near silence from the Muslim countries about the abuse being perpetrated against Uighurs, their fellow Muslims. Our country Pakistan that claims to be China’s sworn friend has also emitted deafening silence on this issue so far. Pakistan fears that if it raised its voice for the Muslim brothers subjected to inexpressible cruelty by the Xi’s government, it would, for sure, bedevil its relations with China and thereby jeopardize its national interests.

Read more: No place to hide: exiled Chinese Uighurs feel state’s long reach

To conclude, given the abuses that Beijing is perpetrating against its own people, what right does China have to be currently represented on the United Nations Human Rights Council? The UN must raise voice against the gross human rights violation by China. It must ask China to give up such worst type of social engineering and forceful indoctrination. The Muslim world too by putting their national interests aside should come forward to rescue the Muslim brothers of Xinjiang.

After all, nothing but humanity should reign supreme and love not hate should prevail in the world. Let me end by quoting here Nelson Mandela who once remarked “NO one is born hating another because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

Advocate Abdul Rasool Syed is a lawyer by profession and is based in Quetta, Baluchistan. He also has MBA from IBA Karachi. He is passionate about writing and contributes to various publications including Daily Times and Frontier Post. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 


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