China must stop human rights abuse against ethnic minorities immediately

Two farmers at the bazaar; Kashgar, Xinjiang, China.  July 11, 2016.Photo: Urbain J. Kinet

7:25 pm, August 13, 2019
The Yomiuri Shimbun

Denying freedom of religion for ethnic minorities, the Chinese government is suppressing their individual cultures. Such actions by the Chinese government can only be considered infringements of human rights.

Concern in the international community is growing over the human rights conditions of the Uighur ethnic minority group, living in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in western China.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has pointed out that more than 1 million members of ethnic minorities, mainly Uighur people, have been sent to internment camps of the Chinese government to undergo brainwashing. This works out to about one in every 10 Uighur people, who number about 10 million in all, being deprived of their freedom. This is indeed an extraordinary situation.

The U.S. State Department, in a report it released in March, referred to possible abuse, torture and killing of Uighur detainees at the camps. There are also former inmates who claimed they were confined to overcrowded rooms, banned from speaking languages other than Chinese, and forced to sing songs of praise to the Communist Party of China.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said such a state of affairs is “one of the worst human rights crises of our time.” His remarks cannot be considered an exaggeration.

Uighur people believe in Islam and speak Uighur. They have been discriminated against in admission to higher-level schools and in employment, and have repeatedly clashed with the majority Han Chinese. In 2009, there was a large-scale Muslim uprising, which claimed a large number of victims.

The Chinese government has asserted that forces aiming at separation and independence from China were involved in the uprising. Under the pretext of nipping terrorism in the bud, the Chinese government has increased its surveillance of Uighur people, while justifying its “sinicization” campaign, including education in the Chinese language.

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