Monday 9 July 2018

The Chinese government is rounding up Muslims and throwing them in camps

The camps started appearing over the past few years, but details are scarce. Reporting on the region is tightly constricted, and Beijing has made a habit of arresting and disappearing the family members of American reporters who have attempted to cover the topic.
“We heard at the beginning of this year that more than one million Uyghurs are currently in the camps,” Dolkun Isa, the president of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, told ThinkProgress. “But it’s already been six months, and we’ve never heard of anyone being released… [There] may be 1.5 million, maybe 2 million, in the camps. We don’t know.”
Given that there are approximately 8 million Uyghurs in the region, that would mean over 10 percent — and potentially as many as 25 percent — of Xinjiang’s Uyghurs are currently housed in these camps.
These camps have rapidly formed the backbone of China’s broader “assimilation” effort: a set of policies aimed at banning Uyghurs’ religious education, language, and broader culture.
Following a 2009 protest-turned-massacre in Xinjiang, China’s deadliest domestic event in decades, Beijing accelerated its policy of forced assimilation — actions ranging from banning the teaching of the Uyghur language to barring certain Islamic names, all while installing one of the most stifling security regimes this side of North Korea.

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