Uyghurs “Genocide” — China’s humanitarian crisis? Here’s what you don’t know.

Photo by Kuzzat Altay on Unsplash

background: Uyghurs are minority ethnic group in XinJiang Province of China. Hans are also ethnic in China but they are majority.

Uyghurs’s oppression, “genocide” by Chinese Government are recently very hot issues brought up by western media, and Chinese rebels’ media in overseas.

West media tried inviting Chinese ambassador and other Chinese officials and scholars who hold the pro-Chinese stand, to have an open debate on these issues and hear their side of story in front of the audience, hoping to catch a moment of truth. But they are only scratching the surface. Both parties seemed to fail to provide concrete and direct evidence to back their arguments very well; the exchanged pieces of video clips, numbers, and hear-says are at best circumstantial.

The Genocide

The “west” criticises in a somewhat lukewarm manner, which is understandable. Especially the US, they have been mediating so many times and the past experiences must have taught them that people in fight tend to exaggerate.

The sound of it seems so cold blooded. But let’s review the accusations of “genocide”. It comes from two facts:

  • Chinese Uyghurs Muslims are sent to Re-education Camp in bulk.
wikipedia
  • Uyghurs Muslim women are forced by the Chinese government to undergo Contraception measures.

The question here is: do these measure up to be “genocide” against Uyghurs? Is the purpose of Chinese government to wipe out the entire Uyghur group, whether it be in small or big steps?

1. the Camp

BBC has video and interviews to back it up. It is a clear fact even Chinese government doesn’t deny its existence. But what China is not happy about is the term used. The official term given by China is a re-education and skill training Center/School, vs what West used - “concentration camp” which makes it pretty easy for majority to relate it to the notorious WWII concentration camp by Germans.

On this point I believe Chinese government is telling the half truth. Knowing how they think and how they rule, Chinese government’s true intentions should be:

  • De-muslimize Uyghurs — Chinese government thinks extreme religious believes radicalise the Uyghurs people so they decided Uyghurs are better off without it.
  • Teach them Chinese and modern working skills — most of them do not speak Chinese therefore their relationship with local migrated Han people are always rough; and many of locals are working on farms so maybe they are not considered skillful workers should local government decide to change the industry structures and move things around.
  • Inject obedience into their body, hearts and minds

But one thing unclear is that: Is there coercion, abuse, humiliation, separation of family, among other unspeakable things, against the will of Uyghurs?

I believe so. China denied so. West suspects so albeit no evidence. But what is certain is that there is no evidence of systematic killing. I don’t think CCP could be that stupid ( I could be wrong) — it without a doubt will maximise the risks of local rebels and uprisings.

But make no mistakes, this is not aiming at Uyghurs in particular and alone. This is just how CCP rules the country, to any of its people, including Hans and mostly Hans.

There is this “petitioning” system in China that any unhappy citizen can visit the Petitioning Bureau ( State Bureau of Letters and Calls if we translate word to word literally) and present their cases.

Well, there you go. Local authority is so incentivised to cover up the petitioning, they have developed a system to intercept these people and put them in Labor Camp for 1–5 years with possibilities to extend, without trial. Does it smell familiar?

https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/china/2013/11/131128_china_petition_reform

As the systematic injustice is so prevalent and in such a large scale, this Camp was put to excessive use that it aggravated the tension, injustice and created more social problems. The number of people detained in total is unclear but it was said to be always between 200,000 to 500,000 across 300+ facilities nation wide (by Amnesty International). And one research showed that on average 18.8% of the captives are the petitioners. Such camp was finally abolished in 2013.

You’ll be like: thank God now these people can go home. Don’t be naive. There is this place that seems to be a better fit: Mental Institution.

Same recipe for Uyghurs if you ask me.

2. Contraception

I really don’t know what more to say about the contraception measures happened to the Uyghurs women.

It is appalling. but it didn’t just happen today. It has been appalling for 3 decades already, to all of the Chinese people. Forced contraception placement ( not the simple upper-arm implant as you may think), forced abortion (even in 7month), high punitive fines, are just everyday episodes, nation-wide. But usually Ethnic groups are exempted or are more leniently treated. For example, Mongolians and Uyghurs can have 2 children (in cities) or 3 children (in rural) as opposed to strict “one child policy” applied to Hans.

Just recently, a post exploded the Chinese social media: a couple’s outcry on how their 2nd child ( the “extra” one) has been taken away when he was still an infant, by the Family Planning Bureau— (but really is just Birth Control) then Chief and her staff 30 years ago. The fore-mentioned Bureau of Letter and Calls simply sent back the case to the local Birth Control Bureau after they took the case. But the only good thing about this system is that now the Birth Control must reply officially.

According to the reply, the case has been dismissed because, the child was not “taken away”, but was simply “going to the Social Adjustment Programme”. Even as a Chinese, I don’t understand what the faack is “social adjustment”. By the words of it, it seems to imply a kind of socialism shiit to take extra from the privileged and give it to the deprived as a form of re-allocation for social fairness?? But for christ sake we are talking about human babies here, not social wealth!! Excuse me for the language here but I can’t keep my cool.

However, don’t get tricked by the word game, as it all comes down to a business. Some analysts point out that there has been cases of selling “social adjusted” children to orphanage and orphanage to foreign adopters, in scale, — each person in the chain gets commissions. It explains why the couple who posted online, demands the Birth Control staff to be trialed for children trafficking. If it were true, I hope these foreign families should never find out that their kindness is exploited as a tool for wealth and helped breed the evil itself.

Why Chinese government is doing to this to its own people until recently? Why is it doing this now to Uyghurs?

  1. for Chinese population: previously the government is so obsessed with the idea that population explosion will destroy China and it proved to be wrong now.
  2. for Uyghurs, first, Chinese government is trying to establish its authority over their religious belief of not having birth control, as CCP always educate its people, Communism is the Greatest Belief; second, they link too many children to poverty and poverty to radicalisation; third, a tool to oppress, punish and tame; fourth, let them remain minority.

My point is not, what has happened to Uyghurs are not a tragedy, or not an utter violation of human freedom and dignity. It absolutely is.

But the definition of genocide is the destruction of a certain group of people in whole or in part by another group of people. I do think it is an exaggeration on what really happened. if it is, then it is genocide from Government to all of its people, not to a particular group and not at a particular time. It will last until it doesn’t.

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Megan M Yang

Megan M Yang

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Full-stack programmer, product manager, politics enthusiast and won't shut up about it.