Muslim Internment Camps In China, And Why You Haven't Heard About It

While the news is so concerned with reporting on Trump's latest tweet or the fact that congresswomen Alexandria Cortez danced once in high school (I know, shocking). It is neglecting to report on the horrendous actions by the Chinese government on Muslim people.

 

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According to BBC, there are "tens of thousands" of Muslim people being detained in Chinese internment camps (Sudworth). They are rounding up Muslims and forcing them to renounce their Islamic faith and instead adopt the communist regime. According to The New York Times, they are “being forced into lectures, sing hymns that pledge allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party and write ‘self-criticism’ essays” (Buckly). This isn't a healthy environment, the people are taken against their will and made to worship something they don't believe in, and this is done for months at a time. The building itself is painted in red letters urging people to “learn Chinese, study the law, and acquire job skills” while being surrounded by a barbwire fence and guards (Buckley).

 

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China is intending to beat the culture out of these native Muslim people. They're not committing crimes, but instead living their everyday life as religious people. According to the New York Times, a man by the name of “Abdusalam Muhamet recalled the police detaining him for reciting a verse of the Quran at a funeral” (Buckly). He was arrested for mourning, for praying for the soul of a loved one. This is meant to be dehumanizing, to deliberately punish individuals for practicing religion. Religion is meant for comfort not fear of prosecution.

In an attempt to investigate, the BBC flew to China, but upon leaving the airport they were “followed by five unmarked vehicles and inside the cars were filled with officers, some in uniforms and some not”(Studworth). Upon this, the team of journalists was eventually pulled over and asked to turn their cameras off (Studworth).

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According to the BBC, the Chinese government was actually trying to deny all claims of detention camps, saying that people “voluntarily attend the vocational schools that combat terrorism and religious extremism”(Sudworth). Citizens that were interviewed from the nearby town claimed that the camp is a “re-education program” and that the people inside have “something wrong with their thoughts”(Sudworth). The Chinese people are actually being shown “happy and grateful videos from the school from their state-controlled media” (Sudworth). The oppression that is being inflicted upon these people is uncanny, the government is putting a ban on “headscarves, long beards, and Muslim sounding names for children” all things of which are central to the culture surrounding the Islamic faith.

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And to make matters even worse, these detention camps have turned into forced labor. New York Times reports that the Chinese government has detainees “hunched over sewing machines for little to no pay” (Buckly, Ramzy). Because I guess that having to forcibly renounce your religion isn't bad enough. The government is actually using videos from inside the camp as propaganda stating that they are “providing inhabitants political salvation and saving them from poverty by giving them jobs on a factory line” (Buckly, Ramzy). Turning a bad situation into an even worse one, the Chinese government is exploiting the vulnerability of people who are just trying to complete the course so they can return home to their families.

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This should be frightening. We are living in a political environment that is actually ignoring that this is taking place. The American media does not have widespread reporting on this for a reason. Our government survives and thrives off makes excuses for its actions because we are fighting an apparent war on terror. But the second the government were to step in and save Muslim people, they would lose their edge for propaganda and couldn't deny that they need to seek safe refuge.  Amongst a presidency that's the first move was to initiate a Muslim ban, it must hold that they are dangerous people, our president will never address this issue because then he would need to admit that they are people that need saving. Not that anyone in the government could do anything, as it has been shut down for over a month.

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But this isn't a ‘right wing’ media problem, but instead, this burden falls on the shoulder of both parties. As the left is to concerned with making Trump look bad and the right is too busy calling the left "liberal snowflakes". We as a country need to learn how to put our differences aside and recognize that people are people, it doesn't matter where they come from, if human rights are being violated it is our duty to intervene.

 

 

Sources:

Buckley, Chris, and Austin Ramzy. “China's Detention Camps for Muslims Turn to Forced Labor.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Dec. 2018,

     www.nytimes.com/2018/12/16/world/asia/xinjiang-china-forced-labor-camps-....

Buckley, Chris. “China Is Detaining Muslims in Vast Numbers. The Goal:

     ‘Transformation.’” The New York Times, 2018,

     www.nytimes.com/2018/09/08/world/asia/china-uighur-muslim-detention-camp...

     l?module=inline.

Sudworth, John. “China's Hidden Camps.” BBC, BBC, 2018,

     www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/China_hidden_camps.