The recent crack-down on China’s ethnic Muslim minority population from the Urghur region in the far Western Xinjing, has turned the hitherto peaceful region into one of the most policed places in the world. In fact, the minority Muslim population is so monitored to a level more befitting a totalitarian state. Perhaps, that is what the country is turning into.
According to a United Nations Committee Assessment, more than a million Muslims from the region have been arrested and kept in different camps against their will, in what the communist government under the leadership of Xi Jinping calls “re-education camps”.
The government believes it has credible intelligence that Xinjing is planning to secede from the republic of China. In 2009, a protest was organized by the leaders of the region against Beijing’s highhandedness and state-sponsored brutality. The police use the peaceful protest as an excuse and came down heavily on the armless defenseless Muslims, killing about 200 people and leaving behind in their trail sorrow, tears and blood.
To legitimize their brutal reign of terror, the government linked the organizers of the protest to an attack near Beijing Tiananmen Square, where a man rammed his car into a crowd. Since then, the government has deployed the largest contingent of policemen to the region, thereby making what was hitherto de facto to become de jure.
According to Beijing, the clamp-down is intended to quash what it terms “separatism and extremism” among the Muslim population.
The Urghurs who are largely Turkic-speaking Chinese minority of mostly Sunni Muslims, are being harassed and intimidated on a daily bases for the singular reason that they dared to worship Allah in a communist nation, that has a history of being secular.
In addition to the heavy presence of arm-bearing policemen, the government has compelled all to install satellite tracking systems in their cars so as to be able to monitor the movements of the people. They have also being humiliated and dehumanized by being forced to submit themselves for facial scans whenever they are entering any public place such as banks, schools, shopping malls, hospitals and markets among others.
Another human right violation against the Muslims of Urghur region is the ban placed on them from travelling abroad.
It is worrisome that though the population of the region is just 1.5 percent of China’s population, last year (2017), the region accounted for one-fifth of all arrests in the country. According to Bloomberg News report, ”the region is a test site for China’s powerful state sponsored surveillance apparatus”. Also, the Associated Press reports that a culture of fear has been entrenched in the collective psyche of the people. Recently, security operatives have been empowered to collect phones and other internet enabled devices to check for religious materials.
Amidst outcry from Rights groups, Beijing tried justifying its nefarious acts of lawlessness by claiming that it is fighting terrorism, and that all its actions are merely preemptive in its “counterterrorism” operations. Beijing also claimed that the over one million Muslims held against their will in many camps littered across the landscape in the region are receiving “vocational training”.
The Global Times, a pro-government newspaper in one of its editorials last year claimed that by the said clamp-down, the government has prevented what it calls another Syria from happening in the region. “it has avoided the fate of becoming China’s Syria or China’s Libya”, excerpts from the editorial read.
Unfortunately, the governments of Muslim -majority nations continue to remain silent in the face of bracing act of state-sponsored terrorism against the Urghur Muslim minority in the region. Their silence, which may not be unconnected with fear of upsetting their bilateral relations with China, a major trading partner and aid donor to them, is disgraceful to us only.
Though it is a given, that China is perpetrating criminality and acts of human rights violations in the region, the policed-state instituted by the Beijing is such that it is nearly impossible for Rights Groups and others to gather first-hand information about alleged human right abuses going on in the region.
The world must wake up and take necessary action against China’s state sponsored terrorism, to forestall another Rohingya from happening. A stitch in time saves nine.
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