The Oppression of the Uyghurs and the role of China

Uyghurs is a Turkish ethnic population living in Eastern and Central Asia. The population of Uyghurs living in China and specifically in the autonomous province of Xinjiang, which the Uyghurs nationalists call Eastern Turkestan, is approaching 12m.

This autonomous area of Uyghurs is rich in natural gas and coal and is strategically owned by the geopolitical chess board of China called “One Belt, One Road”.

In 2009 ethnic unrest occurred in the Uyghur region with hundreds of dead, while in 2014 there was an attack of Uyghurs with knives at a railway station in the province of Yunnan, with 35 dead.

Map in the modern-day Xinjiang distrcts in red China
Photo by China_Xinjiang_Ili.svg: Joowwww, Public Domain

It is an indisputable fact that Islamic terrorists are acting in regions of China benefiting from the Uyghurs’ religion (Sunni Islam) and working closely with the Islamic State.

There are not a few cases where Turkey has complained about the oppression suffered by the Uyghurs from China, and given that Turkey considers them to be the same ethnic tribes as the Turks, while networks of Islamists that help Islamic terrorists who they operate in the mainland of China and specifically in the region of Xinjiang they have their support bases in Turkey.

by Thanos S. Chonthrogiannis

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Oppression of the Uyghurs living in China

For its part, China instead of implementing a policy of finding and clearing the specific Islamic terrorists operating under the roof of the Uyghurs in China whose calling into question the Chinese sovereignty in this province of Chinese state, insists on deliberately identifying those protesting the oppression from China with Islamic terrorists.

At the same time, the region of Xinjiang in China in which the Uyghurs live has become the region in which both traditional and modern and ultramodern-digital methods respectively are tested, for the control and suppression of mass populations that in this case the population to be suppressed is Uyghurs. Then both these methods and the ultra-modern control instruments are applied to the rest of the Chinese mainland.

Such measures and methods include digital monitoring of the population, either with digital facial and voice recognition cameras located in public places, with DNA taking or special programs on mobile phones used by the population and also by removing the Uighurs’ passports for the purpose of strict restrictions on their movements.

At the same time, the Chinese government’s traditional control measures include the use of camps-centres of Uyghurs’ “hospitality” in which, according to the official Chinese state, Uyghurs are re-trained. Reports that have seen the spotlight say that in the region of Xinjiang there are 28 such re-education camps that “host” about one million Uyghurs.

Professor Ilham Tohti
Photo by Voice of America, Source: licensed Public Domain

The European Parliament recently (on December 10, 2019) awarded the Sakharov Prize for the protection of Free thought and Human rights to Uyghur economist and university professor Ilham Tohti.

But Ilham Tohti cannot receive his prize because he is being held in Chinese prisons with life imprisonment because Beijing (China) believed that his action to protect the human rights of the Uyghurs was at the expense of Chinese sovereignty in the region.

The role of China

Based on the Chinese government’s stance on the handling of demonstrators and their demands in Hong Kong and despite the fact that 90% of the seats of the Hong-Kong Community Councils (Parliament) ended up in the Democratic opponents of the Hong-Kong government, proving that China has a fundamental objection to the political sovereignty of Hong Kong, we can conclude that China is not going to release Ilham Tohti.

China is emerging as a unique case where economic growth and social progress has not caused the relaxation of the single-party power and control exercised by the Chinese Communist Party.

One possible explanation for this unique global phenomenon may be the historical preference of the Chinese people in group-type political systems but also probably that the decades-long action and policy of the Communist Party of China has it is vindicated in the perception and conscience of the Chinese people.

As regards human rights issues and reforms on the political scene, it appears that China does not accept instructions from all those countries which are considered responsible for the suffering and tribulations that the Chinese people forced to accept in the last centuries.

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