Fired Up!

The actions of the Chinese government against Muslims and minority groups in China are atrocious, and the lack of attention is unacceptable.

Known for its mass genocide of the Jewish Europeans, the Holocaust is perhaps one of the greatest human evils to be committed. Museums are dedicated to displaying the artifacts that preserve this terrible event and history classes worldwide include the Diary of Anne Frank and Night by Elie Wiesel in their curriculum. It will not be forgotten.

Yet, despite widespread knowledge of the Holocaust, similar events have continued to happen, which proves to be  monumental disappointment. History is to be learned from, yet the Japanese were held in internment camps, Mexican refugees are detained in detention locations, and the Chinese government is putting Muslims and many other ethnic groups into what Chinese authorities insist are “re-education centers.” 

Let’s call it what it is: concentration camps meant to forcefully assimilate Muslims and minorities into mainland Chinese culture, as well as oppress and decrease the population of those same groups of people. In 2020, NPR  reported that at least one million Uighurs, a Muslim-Turkic ethnic group primarily living in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, have been forced into detention facilities where they have been subjected to sterilisation, hard labor with minimal pay, and programs meant to promote the Chinese Communist Party and current CCP leader Xi Jinping. 

Numerous sources have repeated the same stories: people unable to reach their family members, prisoners facing sexual abuse, and the erasure of Muslim culture. In 2020, the Economic Times raised claims that mosques were destroyed, and Muslims have been forced to consume products that are nonpermissible in Islam.

Except many continue to turn a blind eye, despite media coverage. The U.S. has been especially confusing; while legislation was written to punish China for its actions, the U.S. has also refrained from outright condemning China and did not partake in the signing of a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council, although 22 other countries openly participated.

On social media, many have posted notices and updates about these camps, yet the comment section is racist, blaming the people of China, making jokes about communism, and largely disregarding the real perpetrator.

The abysmal treatment of the Uighurs and other Muslim groups are the sole fault of the Chinese government, whose purpose is to protect all citizens and people of China, including those that reside in autonomous regions such as Xinjiang. These detention facilities are not an open invitation to demonize Chinese people, who are entirely separate from the situation, and it is not an invitation to promote conspiracy theories of any kind. 

These camps must be shut down; there is no other alternative. Many projects and organizations are dedicated toward this goal, and students can contribute. Uyghur Human Rights Project and Save Uighur accept donations of any amount, using this money to raise awareness. Petitions demanding for news on missing people continue to circulate as well as petitions looking to relocate the 2022 Beijing Olympics, all of which can be signed for anyone wanting to help. Students can also contact their local representatives and senators about the situation, and urge them to support more bills that would provide real consequences for China. 

One does not have to be a political expert to understand what is going on and to understand why it is bad. We have learned about this exact event multiple times, but we learn nothing. History continues to repeat itself, and we cannot stand idly by and allow it to continue.