Reposted with permission from The Platform Project. Access the original article here.
Imagine that you are being separated from your family, loved ones who you will probably never see again. That your house is on lock down and you are being beaten and forced into prisons. Assume that you are being deprived of your organs unwillingly. Your identity and culture are being erased; you are being erased. This scenario feels barbaric to most of us, but this is the reality for most Muslims living in China.
The Uyghurs are a minority Turkic ethnic group native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. Historically, Xinjiang has been under the control of various dynasties including the Mongol Empire. It came under Chinese rule as a result of the expansion of the Qing Dynasty. In 1912, the Qing dynasty was replaced by the Republic of China. From the 1950s to the 1970s, the Chinese government funded a mass migration of Han Chinese people into the region, with goal of eradicating the Uyghur identity and culture. Infuriated Uyghurs saw this as a threat to their culture and identity which resulted in riots in Xinjiang. From then on, the situation has been deteriorated for Uyghurs and Xinjiang has become one of the most heavily policed regions of the world.
On 13 August 2018, at a UN meeting in Geneva, the delegation from China informed the United Nations Human Rights Committee that “There is no such thing as re-education centers in Xinjiang and it is completely untrue that China put 1 million Uyghurs into re-education camps“. The Chinese government has always denied the existence of these camps, until October 2018, when it officially legalized them. This is just a glimpse into the deceptiveness of the Chinese government, through the use of state sponsored propaganda the Chinese government has labelled these camps as “Re-education camps”, but the reality is far from it. These camps are in fact prisons.
In December 2018, the magazine Bitter Winter released three videos it claimed had been shot inside camps in the Yining area. The videos show jail-like features which the magazine claimed proved that the camps are detention facilities rather than ‘Schools’. Since 2016, it is estimated that over a million Uyghurs have been detained in the Xinjiang detention camps. The camps operate outside the legal system with many Uyghurs being imprisoned, without a trial and without any charges laid against them.
According to a Report by Adrian Zenz a German scholar, China is forcing sterilization and contraceptive devices on women in Xinjiang in an apparent attempt to limit the Muslim population of the Uyghurs. Mr. Zenz’s report states that women who had fewer than the two legally permitted children were involuntarily fitted with intra-uterine devices (IUDs), while others were coerced into receiving sterilization surgeries. Natural population growth in Xinjiang has declined dramatically in recent years, with growth rates falling by 84% in the two largest Uighur prefectures between 2015 and 2018 and declining further in 2019.
The Chinese government is also accused of murdering Uyghurs and members of Falun Gong religious group in order to forcefully harvest their organs. Hamid Sabi, Counsel to the China Tribunal, presented evidence from the tribunal’s final report, which was published in June 2019. The people were “cut open while still alive for their kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, cornea, and skin to be removed and turned into commodities for sale,” the report said. Sabi concluded by saying that it is the duty of international bodies like the UN to investigate the tribunal’s findings “not only regarding the possible charge of genocide but also in regard to crimes against humanity.”
Muslim women whose husbands have been detained in Chinese internment camps are reportedly being forced to share beds with male government officials assigned to monitor them in their homes. Human Rights Watch previously stated that Uyghur families are given no option to refuse these visits, which it said were an example of “deeply invasive forced assimilation practices” that “not only violate basic rights but are also likely to foster and deepen resentment in the region”.
This detention of adult Uyghurs has allegedly left many children without their parents. These children are sent to ‘boarding schools’ where they are forced to learn Mandarin Chinese and prohibited from exercising their religion. These trauma inflicted children are taken without parental consent and allegedly brainwashed to loathe and detest their parents and their culture. Mihrigul Tursun, a Uyghur woman detained in China, was separated from her infant triplets. She later came to know the heartbreaking news that one of her triplets had died and the other two had developed health problems.
There are no limits to China’s oppression of its Muslim population. China’s list of atrocities against the Uyghurs includes forced consumption of alcohol and pork, destruction of more than 100 Muslim cemeteries, demolishment of mosques across China, forced movement of Uyghur Muslims into labor factories.
In order to answer the plight of the Uyghurs, we need to take a few concrete steps. The first step is to impose sanctions against those personally responsible for the repression of Uyghur Muslims. U.S President Donald Trump signed an executive order on June 17th, 2020, that condemns the Chinese Communist Party for the detention centers and, recommends a tougher response to the human rights abuses suffered by Uyghurs Muslims. Under this policy, Chinese officials who are responsible for the governance of these camps would be subject to sanctions which include asset blocking and visa revocation. We, as citizens of Canada, should request Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to impose similar sanctions.
Secondly, boycott Beijing’s Winter Olympics 2020 and its sponsors. No one today would openly endorse holding the Games in a state holding millions in concentration camps, but this is precisely what is happening at the moment. A coordinated international boycott would make the 2022 Olympics an embarrassing flop for Beijing. Concerned members of the public should apply pressure on their national Olympic committees, politicians, and corporate Olympics sponsors. These intermediaries should, in turn, remind the International Olympic Committee that the PRC state’s policies in Xinjiang are a violation of multiple clauses of the Olympic Charter.
Canada should not be part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to link Beijing with some 70 other countries around the world. This is one of the main reasons behind the crackdown in Xinjiang as the province of Xinjiang is home to numerous projects along the Silk Road portion of the BRI.
Monetary donations will help in alleviating some of the hardships so many Uyghur families are going through. Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) situated in Canada is doing an amazing job of serving the Uyghur community in Turkey through sponsoring orphans, widow support, student scholarships, and trying to bring Uyghur families to Canada. You can donate at the link below and help us fight the good fight. Thank you!
My name is Turnisa Matsedik-qira. I am a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia.
I belong to the Uighur nation from East Turkestan, occupied by China. The Chinese government is perpetrating a genocide against Uighurs and other Turkic minorities.
I and my two Canadian friends have been protesting outside Vancouver’s Chinese Consulate every week for four months.
While I was standing with a banner, two Chinese men spat on my face and one of them shouted, "I wish you, people, all die (meaning all Uighurs). I hate your maozi (Chinese word for Hijab). He cursed me with the ugliest words, one after another.
These incidents happened in the past too.
We were harassed at least five times. My kids were also scared a few times.
Nonetheless, it was the first time, that I took out my camera to take a picture or video. Watching my phone, the man who harassed me hid his face and drove away in his car. Yet, I was able to take a picture of his van as the traffic light was red.
I immediately called the police. I had witnesses and a picture of his van. Police traced the aggressor. Yet, they just warned him and did not take any action.
It is scary because China's official's dehumanization, insults, and criminalization of Uighurs have now reached Canada. They are perpetrating a genocide of my people in East Turkestan and now they are harassing us here in Canada.
The consequences can be worse in the coming days and months as we will not stop protesting.
I request Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Members of Parliaments, and all political parties to take notice of this harassment, hate speech, and attack on peaceful Uighur protesters.
Based on an interview with Turnisa, this personal narrative is penned by Tazeen Hasan
Nov 23 et seq. 2021
The following remarks were prepared by Hon. David Kilgour, J.D. for an Uyghur human rights event taking place on Parliament Hill on November 23rd, 2021. For a full biography of Mr. Kilgour, please visit David-kilgour.com.
Friends of the 56 recognized cultural communities across China,
There are many important topics for our conference on China this week to consider, including what has happened to tennis star Peng Shuai. Most important perhaps are the range of proposals made by the all-party House subcommittee on human rights last year. Permit me to provide some context to realities there by addressing organ pillaging. China appears to be unique among almost 200 independent countries today in that its organ transplantations are government-managed.
In mid-2006, David Matas and I did an independent investigation into persistent claims of forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. We released two reports and a 2009 book titled Bloody Harvest.
We concluded that since 2001 Beijing directed a network of forced vital organ-harvesting from prisoners of conscience--primarily Falun Gong. The organs were then sold to wealthy recipients in China and foreign ‘organ tourists’. Specifically, we found beyond any doubt from 18 kinds of evidence that between the years 2001 and 2005, at least 41,500 organs were sourced from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience across China, who were killed during the removals.
Ethan Gutmann, author of The Slaughter (2014), later placed the persecution of the Falun Gong, Uyghur, Tibetan, and house Christian communities in context. He explains how he arrived at his “best estimate” that organs of 65,000 Falun Gong and “two to four thousand” Uyghurs, Tibetans and house Christians were pillaged in the 2000- 2008 period.
Matas, Gutmann and I released an Update in 2016 in Washington, Ottawa and Brussels (accessible from www.endorganpillaging.org. ). It provided a careful examination of the transplant programs of hundreds of hospitals across China. We concluded that over two decades, the party-state directed a network of organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience. Our findings helped the US Congress and the European Parliament to pass nearly identical resolutions condemning the Chinese regime for harvesting prisoners of conscience.
Based on the 2019 China Tribunal findings in the U.K., we learn that the Chinese authorities are still at it. At least ninety thousand transplants a year and the assurance of a back-up organ should the original organ fail is an inhuman commerce that has no equal anywhere. This reality in China can only be explained as resulting from the murders of readily available ‘prisoners’ – Falun Gong, Tibetans, Uyghur Muslims and Christians.
It should be no surprise to nationals of countries with independent media that during about 40 days in late 2019 and early 2020 Beijing concealed and falsified information about the spread of COVID-19 within China. Xi Jinping pressured the World Health Organization (WHO) to delay issuing a global warning about the virus. With the world mostly unaware of the mortal danger, the virus began its march across the world.
When COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, Taiwan, for example, moved quickly to screen flights from there on December 31, 2019; ban entry by Wuhan residents on January 23, 2020; institute intensive testing and contact tracing; and bar all visitors from China on February 6th. If the WHO and its member-nations had adapted Taiwan’s practices, many of the millions of infections and at least five million deaths worldwide could have been avoided.
For example, the biggest influx of COVID-19 carriers into Europe was about 250,000 Chinese citizens, with two-thirds flying back after their yearly new year’s vacation in China to their garment industry jobs in Italy. By January 11, 2021, there were 2.2 million confirmed cases in Italy and 79,203 deaths. European Union governments, Australia, and the U.S. demanded an independent investigation on how COVID-19 spread to humans. Xi until mid-January, 2021 blocked WHO and investigators from various countries entering Wuhan. Beijing continues to resist sharing data with the world about the origin of COVID-19 that might help combat future pandemics.
Former premier Wen Jiabao said some years ago, “The reform in China has come to a critical stage. Without the success of political structural reform, it is impossible for us to fully institute economic structural reform. The gains we have made… may be lost, new problems that have cropped up in China’s society cannot be fundamentally resolved and such historical tragedy as the Cultural Revolution may happen again.”
Unfortunately, under Xi Jinping in recent years the rule of law/democratic reforms sought by Wen ended. Xi has in effect re-interpreted democracy as totalitarianism, including opposition to multi-party elections and independence of judges. Xi (習近平) is attempting to change the narrative by stressing that his government has eliminated extreme poverty in China, Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) last May courageously observed that “there are over 600 million people whose monthly income is barely 1,000 yuan [US$155], not enough to rent a room.”
Democratic governments and our private sectors should examine why they are supporting the violation of so many universal values in order to seek to increase profits through trade and business with China. For years, this has resulted in national jobs being outsourced to China and continuous increases in our bi-lateral trade deficits. Canada alone has lost about 600,000 manufacturing jobs since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. Are the rest of us so focused on access to inexpensive consumer goods that we ignore the human, social and natural environment costs paid by hardworking Chinese nationals to produce them?
Author: Ayyoub Tayebi
In the past decade, the Chinese government has been quietly and methodically committing genocide against the ethnic Muslim-majority Uighur population of Xinjiang. It is no longer a discussion of whether this crime against humanity is occurring or not; there have been several reports and studies carried out by government bodies, independent thinktanks, and journalists that prove it, despite the best efforts of the Chinese Communist Party to conceal their actions. It is a testament to the vice-like grip it has on the country that an atrocity of such scale has been kept under wraps. Only relatively recently have the horrors that the Uighurs have been subject to come to light, which include mass forced sterilization, internment camps, sexual violence and forced labour. Within the camps and in their policies, the Chinese government also seeks to destroy the cultural and religious foundation of the Uighurs and their society.
This is an effort to homogenize the population of the Xinjiang region, which is being flooded with ethnic Han Chinese from other parts of China in order to make the Uighurs a minority in their own homeland. This process is called Sinicization: a strategy implemented by the rulers of China for millennia. The native tribes of southern China were subject to it and so were the Mongolians living within the borders of the ancient empire, and now the Uighurs see themselves becoming the next victim of this systematic eradication and forceful assimilation. However, this is the 21st century. Human rights should be respected, and cultural genocide will not stand. Countries must take a stand for the values they claim to uphold.
However, that is not a straightforward task, as the current situation is unique in terms of aggressor states. Most genocides in recent history have been committed by relatively poor or weak countries, such as Serbia, Rwanda, and Cambodia. On the other hand, China is an economic stronghold with a strong global trade influence. That does not mean we must stand by and watch like we did during the Rwandan genocide only to regret it later. We must find other methods to put an end to China’s actions.
One such method is economic sanctions. It is what most states use when they want to punish a nation for violating international law. They have been devastatingly effective against countries like Russia and Iran, but again, China is another animal. China’s economy is closely tied to that of the world, so any restrictions placed on major industries will be detrimental to many nations. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that any will risk disrupting trade with the economic giant. This vested financial interest is also present within the U.N. as an organization, as China is one of its main sources of funding and therefore is less willing to bring the genocide to the member states’ attention. Like the United States, its superpower status allows it to flaunt international laws and regulations without facing much resistance. That does not mean they are invincible though, and economic sanctions can be useful if used effectively. One of the reasons the Chinese government is seeking to homogenize the Xinjiang region is because it has oil and gas resources they wish to exploit and don’t want the local population to get in the way of any endeavors they undergo in their homeland. Sanctioning Chinese companies and individuals (mainly energy corporations) investing/expanding into this region would slow the regime’s plans for the autonomous territory. If this underlying reason for the genocide is halted, then this could dissuade the government from continuing the costly and henceforth unnecessary genocide. Economic sanctions are slow to work and often impact the local population instead of the state, which is why this solution can prove to be problematic.
There are other major ways countries can demand action against the Uighur genocide, chief among them recognizing it as such—a genocide. Some countries like the United States and Canada have already taken the lead in this regard. While recognizing the genocide may seem a relatively small action that holds no weight, they inspire other nations to do the same. Presently, many countries are afraid of retaliation if they speak out against China on the world stage. Therefore, a strong international condemnation is needed. The Chinese government can’t impose punitive measures against the entire world, as that would make them lose the world standing they have worked for decades to attain. Once it is faced with insurmountable pressure from all sides, it will have to decide between continuing persecuting the Uighurs or international endeavors such as its Belt and Road Plan, which would be dead in the water without support from nations around the globe. Another potential method is confiscating China’s vote in the General Assembly (the main organ of the U.N. where important matters are discussed and legislation is written). This too will only be symbolic in nature if it is done as a standalone measure. This is due to China having leverage over many small states, who must vote in favour of China at the General assembly in order to protect their own national interests. The vote confiscation would have to come with replacing China as their economic and military benefactor. Admittedly, this would require a great amount of effort and resources, but it would be worth it, as not only could this be used to stop the genocide, it will isolate China internationally, making it easier to punish them for other human rights abuses and breaches of international law. The Chinese government is ruthlessly pragmatic; the world must show the CCP that continuing the genocide is not in their best interests when considering China’s other geopolitical objectives.
The direct pressure on China for its crimes will come from governments, but civilians also have a role to play in saving the Uighurs. The aforementioned potential solutions require various governments to make stopping the genocide a goal they are willing to fight for. Let’s not be naïve; they won’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts. Going against China is risky business, and states won’t do so unless they have reason to do so. Before the nations of the world put pressure on China, we citizens must put pressure on our governments to address the issue seriously. We must raise awareness and be outraged at the events occurring in Xinjiang and make it known that this cannot be happening in today’s world. Nowadays, we have many platforms on which to inform people of current events. Social media has risen recently as a considerably effective method of doing so. Seeing the buzz about these topics on social media, traditional media outlets will focus on these issues that have everyone so worked up, resulting in a positive feedback loop. From there, we can turn to petitions and peaceful protests. The genocide must be at the forefront of the popular conscience. The unrest is unlikely to force the governments’ hands, but they will not want to face domestic pressure for actions committed by another state.
Peacefully stopping a genocide being committed by a superpower is no easy feat. There is no precedent for it, but giving up would be abandoning the Uighurs to a dire fate. Fortunately, there are methods that can be pursued, and as millions of lives hang in the balance, we should not hesitate to exhaust each one. Help spread awareness about the Uighur genocide anyway you can.
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