Muslims in China: Under a cloud of hardship

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By Kshvid News Desk with inputs from agencies

From the beginning of civilization, a man had the urge to oppose minorities. Those who had power were always used to oppress others who were weak. But with the passage of time, minorities started to make groups and communities and fought for their rights. There is a complete history of a man fighting for his rights and fighting hard for the survival of his kind. And he succeeded in most of the cases. But the suffering for humanity never ended. in almost all regions of the world, minorities are suffering in one way or another.  The most recent and most heartbreaking conditions are for the Muslims of China. Even though China has good relations with almost all Muslim countries, its Muslim population isn’t in good shape or condition.

Uyghur, Chinese, also written Uygur or Uighur, are an interior Asian Turkic-speaking people. The majority of Uyghurs live in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China; a small minority also live in Central Asian countries. Around 10,000,000 Uyghurs lived in China in the early twenty-first century, with at least 300,000 in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Xinjiang has had brief periods of freedom and control, with the Chinese imperial powers having complete control for only around 425 years. Since the third century BC, the region has been referred to as “western regions.” At various times, Han Chinese, Uygurs, Mongolians, and other peoples made alliances or battled against each other to rule the region, with the Qing dynasty reasserting Beijing’s influence in the 18th century. After being captured by the Qing emperors in the eighteenth century, Xinjiang was integrated as a new province of the Chinese Empire in 1878. Xinjiang was an independent state administered by the East Turkestan Republic at the time of the 1949 Revolution, with a violent past and disruptive tendencies.

Shih Chien-yu, a lecturer on Central Asian affairs at Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University, believes tribal groups in Xinjiang’s diverse locations, like as Kashgar and Hotan, may not have historically ascribed to a collective Uygur identity. The term “Uygur” initially originated in the fourth century, and its origins may be traced back to a group of Toquz Oghuz Turks. When the region came under the power of the Soviet Union in the 1930s, it was adopted for official usage, and the term “Uygur” was used to identify the people.

After the Communist Party won the civil war in 1949 and assumed control of the western region, it continued to use the title Uygurs. It established the Xinjiang Uygur independent state in 1955, following the Soviet model of giving ethnic minorities sovereignty over their own affairs, at least in theory.

According to reports, the Chinese government has imprisoned over a million Muslims in rehabilitation facilities. The majority of those arbitrarily jailed are Uyghur. Human rights organizations, UN officials, and a number of foreign nations are pressing China to put an end to the acts, which the US has labeled genocide. However, Chinese officials contend that what they refer to as vocational training institutes do not violate Uyghurs’ human rights. They have refused to release details on the detention facilities and have barred media and foreign investigators from inspecting them. However, internal Chinese government documents leaked in late 2019 revealed critical data on how authorities established and maintained the prison facilities.

In 2016, the China Communist Party (CCP) moved Chen Quanguo, a leader famous for his anti-minorities’ actions in Tibet, to Xinjiang as the province’s secretary. Within a year, Chen had implemented his securitization strategy. Since 2017, Beijing has invested $700 million to build 1,200 prison centers in Xinjiang. Muslims are detained for “crimes” such as “wearing a veil,” growing “a lengthy beard,” and breaking the government’s family planning policy. Beijing has also heightened monitoring through technical intelligence analysis and has used DNA profiling, blood sample, fingerprinting, and voice sampling.

Through state-sponsored efforts, Uyghur women are subjected to forced sterilizations, abortions, and contraceptive device implantation. Xinjiang accounts for only 1.8 percent of the Chinese population, yet Uyghur women received 80 percent of fertility drugs implanted in 2018. As a result, the natural population growth rate in Khotan and Kashgar cities in southern Xinjiang plummeted by 84 percent between 2015 and 2018, from 1.6 percent to 0.26 percent. The suppression of Muslim population growth has been so severe that the 2020 Xinjiang yearbook did not include the region’s official demographic numbers for the first time in history. Furthermore, female prisoners are hungry and receive only 200 grammes of drinking water each day. Some are paraded in front of shaved-head male police officers.

Mass rapes, harsh interrogation torture, and criminal organ harvesting are believed to be common in prison camps, and captives are also made to work. During the COVID-19 pandemic, imprisoned were assigned to labor in manufacturing units around the country. Reports suggested that the CCP used a “kill-on-demand” method to extract the organs of Uyghur imprisoned as an emergency solution meet heightened organ demand on the mainland.

Uyghur Muslims working in government departments, particularly teachers, are required to swear that neither they nor their families will perform five prayers, wear a headscarf, or wear religious clothing, and to teach their students’ guardians to refrain from performing prayers and other religious activities. Since 2017, conducting prayers has been labelled an illegal religious activity, and Uyghurs have been punished for doing so.

China has dismissed Western countries’ charges of genocide, and US and European measures have had a little noticeable impact on Beijing’s activities in the region. Because access to the region is restricted, it isn’t easy to verify claims. Aside from state-sponsored visits, where authorities escort diplomats and journalists, independent organizations or media that have been allowed to enter Xinjiang have reported being closely monitored and trailed by security personnel. Activists claim they are unable to obtain visas, travel freely, or assure the safety of those they speak within Xinjiang.

Despite China’s massive breaches of Uyghur Muslims’ human rights, economically disadvantaged Muslim countries have embraced Beijing’s political Islam agenda, turning a blind eye to the crimes in Xinjiang. BRI investments and loans have been utilized to oppress the Uyghur exile in Muslim countries, with numerous states pushed into signing extradition treaties and deporting Uyghur exiles to China’s mainland. China has used energy diplomacy to guarantee these countries’ silence on the Uyghur issue, signing long-term oil investments and exploiting domestic political uncertainty in these countries. China’s strategy in the Muslim world is not based on alliances. Its strategic relationships have created a wise and practical case-by-case system for each country based on non-intervention, territorial integrity, and sovereignty. China has made significant inroads into the Muslim world, and it has even persuaded certain neighboring countries in South and Central Asia to adopt the Xinjiang model to varying degrees. But Uyghur Muslims condition in china is becoming worst day by day. Lets hope for the better world for all in which all humans will be treated with the same dignity.

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