- Pubblicato Mercoledì, 12 Giugno 2019 19:26
By JASON SCOTT JONES Published on May 31, 2019
This week the State Department’s Morgan Ortegas delivered one of the bravest statements you will ever hear from a government official. She pointed to the “victims of China’s massive campaign of repression against Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities.” The statement continued:
The United States is alarmed by the arbitrary and unjust detention of more than 1 million people; widespread reports of torture and cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment; ever-present, high-tech surveillance; and coerced practices contrary to people’s faiths.
Donald Trump: Champion of the Vulnerable
This powerful statement should be front page news. Everywhere. But you won’t find much about it at USA Todayor CNN. As with unborn children, it falls to us as Christians to defend the vulnerable. Ironically, powerful Islamic regimes such as Saudi Arabia do nothing to help China’s Muslims. They put first their business deals with the dictators in Beijing.
The Muslims of China are helpless victims of a vicious atheist regime. It uses forced abortion and concentration camps to punish all believers who resist Communist control. That means Christians, and also Muslims.
The Muslims of China are helpless victims of a vicious atheist regime. It uses forced abortion and concentration camps to punish all believers who resist Communist control. That means Christians, and also Muslims. The hunted Muslims in China, then, really are “the least among us.” If we want to be taken seriously when we call for religious freedom, and claim to be Christ-followers, we must speak up for them, too.
One of the Great Genocides Is Happening Today
How bad is the plight of the Uighur community in Chinese-occupied East Turkistan (Xinjiang)? It’s one the greatest genocides in modern history. And it’s happening today. As you read this.
Don’t take it from me. See the State Department’s 2018 Human Rights Report. The Chinese Communist Party has imprisoned “possibly more than two million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims in internment camps designed to erase religious and ethnic identities.”
Journalists, human rights advocates, and former prisoners all agree. They report that “security officials in the camps abused, tortured, and killed some detainees.” Communist party thugs steal Uighur children from their parents and brainwash them into atheism and Communism.
Some Uighurs have fled to the U.S. and Europe. Even in freedom, they’re haunted by memories. By the thought of their family members still enduring torture, rape, and death in Chinese concentration camps. Or by their own brushes with China’s use of infanticide and abortion as tools of genocide. As I reported here at The Stream a few months back:
One woman, Arzigul Tursun, was detained by police in the sixth month of her third pregnancy. Officials then forced her to undergo a late-term abortion.
Even if she had somehow escaped the medically unnecessary procedure? Then she would have faced a 45,000 yuan fine for the crime of conceiving a third child. That fine exceeds several years’ family income.
As a human rights advocate, a Christian, and a father, let me say “Thank You.” Thank you, Trump administration and State Department. This week’s statement was timely, courageous, and the right thing to do.
Trump: Not Silent Like FDR and Obama
I’m all the more grateful when I consider the alternative. One we’ve seen too often: Silence in the face of brutality. Oblivion for the vulnerable. I’m often deeply pained by the dark moments in our history. The times when powerful Americans left the weak to perish, when they needed our solidarity the most.
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I think of the spiritless bureaucrats who sat on reports of the Holocaust which Polish Resistance fighters died to spirit out of Europe. For long months, only the Yiddish press would report them. A press briefing finally revealedthe Nazi plan in 1942. Our media yawned.
The next day’s New York Times reported [the] news on its tenth page. Throughout the rest of the war, the Times and most other newspapers failed to give prominent and extensive coverage to the Holocaust.
I also remember how FDR’s and his State Department turned away Jewish refugees from Europe. That effectively sent them back to Hitler’s death camps.
I think also of those who ignored reports of the massive suffering inflicted on innocents in the Soviet Gulag. And the celebrities, journalists, and cowardly diplomats who fawned on the monster Joseph Stalin.
Even more recently, officials in the Obama administration long ignored the urgent needs of minorities in the Middle East. They scoffed at the genocidal jihadist group ISIS as a “junior varsity” team. Many in the American media downplayed that too.
America Demands that the Genocide End
I’m grateful that President Trump is proving so much more humane.
This week represents one of the bright moments in our history. It should make Americans proud. The State Department’s statement showed no weakness. It ended with a demand:
The human rights abuses in Xinjiang must end, and they must end now. We call on the Chinese Government to release all Uighurs and other Muslim minorities arbitrarily detained throughout Xinjiang….
This is America showing courage, and calling out tyranny. Standing up for victims. Embracing the incomparable worth and dignity of the human person at the moment when he is most under threat. This is America at its best.
- Pubblicato Domenica, 14 Aprile 2019 23:03
The Jewish people don’t need to be warned about genocide. We know it doesn’t happen overnight. We know it starts with a culture being demonised, and with hate and repression becoming normal. Then people start disappearing. That’s what is happening today in China. It is estimated that over a million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are being detained indefinitely in ‘re-education’ camps in China’s western Xinjiang Region.
The range of people detained in the camps, from elderly women, to intellectuals, and celebrated artists, undermines the official line that they are being detained in order to receive training. They are being detained as part of a wider effort by the Chinese government to subdue and erase Uyghur culture.
Who are the Uyghurs? They are a Turkic minority, ethnically and culturally very different from China’s Han majority. The majority of Uyghurs – around 11 million – live in Xinjiang, but there are significant communities in central Asia, Turkey, Germany, and the United States. There is a small Uyghur community here in the UK too. Many Uyghurs practise Islam, and do not speak Mandarin as a first language. Since 1949 the Uyghur homeland has been a part of the People’s Republic of China. Decades of Han migration and discriminatory policies towards Uyghur people have led to tensions and sporadic violence.
Repression of Uyghurs has escalated massively since 2016. The Chinese Government say that they are responding to extremism in the Uyghur community. It is true that some Uyghurs have gone to fight in Syria. But the Chinese Government’s response to this has been to punish millions of people, many of whom have been labelled ‘extreme’ for such things as refusing to eat pork, or speaking to a relative overseas.
Life for Uyghurs outside the camps is bleak too. As well as the constant fear of being taken away, the Chinese Government have banned many expressions of Uyghur culture. The Uyghur language is being removed from schools and public spaces. Mosques are empty. Neighbourhoods are being bulldozed.
What can we do? As Jews I believe we have a special responsibility to bear witness to what is happening, and to speak up whenever we can.
The Universal Declaration on Human Rights was co-drafted by Monsieur René Cassin, a French-Jewish lawyer who had lost many family members in the Holocaust. His aim was to establish rights for all of humanity. On being informed that he would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968, René Cassin replied: “I am very happy”. But, he added, “I would be happier if there were a little more justice in the world”.
René Cassin, the Jewish human rights charity named in his honour, is hosting an event on 9th May to highlight the Uyghur crisis and to ask what solidarity and leadership the Jewish community can offer, in the hope of bringing ‘a little more justice’ to the world in René Cassin’s name.
- Pubblicato Domenica, 14 Aprile 2019 20:30
China is sentencing residents of the Uighur Muslim-majority Xinjiang region caught with social media accounts like Facebook on their phone to 15 years in “re-education centers,” where detainees undergo psychological communist indoctrination, Daily Mail reported, citing an activist in the region.
On Wednesday, Daily Mail reported:
The blogger known as Kasim claims that in China’s heavily Muslim Xinjiang region those caught with Facebook on their phones are sent to re-education’ centres to clamp down on their social media use. … He said that people are being sentenced to 15 years there if police catch them with any social media like Facebook or Twitter on their phones.
According to the Daily Mail, the blogger told the Sun Online that he used “specialist sensors” to circumvent Beijing’s restrictions on Twitter.
The blogger reportedly declared:
China doesn’t want you to know what’s happening outside of China, so they’ve built a firewall. Police check your phone looking for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – any app not made in China.
If they catch you with any of these apps, or in contact with someone abroad – even someone from China who has now left the country – they accuse you of hating communism, of hating China.
Almost every police [officer] has handheld equipment they connect to your phone with a USB where they can scan everything on your phone, all your photos, everyone you’ve ever spoken to.
The Daily Mail report came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told U.S. lawmakers that China’s “Orwellian” persecution of Muslims and Christians has reached “historic proportions,” citing Beijing’s crackdown on Uighurs and followers of Christ.
Last month, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) noted in its annual report on human rights that Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s administration “significantly intensified its campaign of mass detention of members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang).”
China continues to deny its crackdown on Muslims, which DOS and non-governmental groups say has expanded to Christians and non-Uighur Islam adherents.
- Pubblicato Domenica, 17 Febbraio 2019 11:40
Because I write books about Soviet history, and because I often speak about them to U.S. or European audiences, I am frequently forced to confront the problem of Western indifference. Why, I am asked over and over, did British diplomats who knew about the man-made Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933 do nothing to stop it? The Catholic Church at that time was also aware that millions of Soviet citizens were dying because Joseph Stalin’s state had confiscated their food. Why did it not galvanize Europeans to send grain?
Many are intrigued and horrified, as am I, by the story of Walter Duranty, then the New York Times Moscow correspondent, who covered up the story of the Ukrainian famine, though he knew it was happening. Many are impressed when they read about Gareth Jones, the Welsh freelance reporter who told the truth about the famine but was not believed. So fascinating is the contrast between them that a new film (“Mr. Jones”) has been made about them, more than 80 years after Jones’s death.
Usually, when asked why Jones was ignored, or why the Vatican and the British foreign office kept silent, I explain that 1933 was also the year of Adolf Hitler’s rise in Germany, so newspaper editors were distracted. Diplomats were already worried they would soon need Stalin as an ally. “Realists” such as the French politician Édouard Herriot — he made a trip to Ukraine in August 1933 and declared that he had found not hunger but “a garden in full bloom” — wanted their countries to trade with Russia. Besides, Ukraine, a distant Soviet republic, was a place that seemed alien and uninteresting to people in London, Paris and New York, most of whom probably felt they couldn’t do much about people suffering there anyway.
The audiences I speak to are sometimes unsatisfied with these answers. They want to talk about the perfidy of the Left or the New York Times, or they want to blame the U.S. president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt. But blame is easy. Far more difficult, both for them and for me, is to admit something more profound: That precisely the same indifference, and the same cynicism, exist today.
Yes, the West looked the other way during the 1930s, when people were starving. But the West is also looking the other way in 2019, refusing to see the concentration camps in China’s Xinjiang province. These camps have been designed to suppress the Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority whose status in China in some ways resembles that of Ukrainians in the old U.S.S.R. Like the Ukrainians who did not want to be Sovietized, the Uighurs do not want to be fully absorbed into the Chinese state. Like the Soviets, the Chinese have responded with repression. Previous Chinese leaders sought to flood Xinjiang with ethnic Chinese, the same tactic they used against Tibetans. More recently, the state has grown harsher, creating camps where at least 1 million Uighurs undergo forced indoctrination designed to eradicate their language and culture.
In truth, we know far more about these camps, and about the accompanying repression, than anyone in 1933 knew about the famine in Ukraine. They have been extensively described in the world’s media, including the New York Times and The Post . Government bodies have studied them, too. Canada’s Parliament recently produced an account of the suppression of the Uighurs that is far more comprehensive than anything Jones ever wrote. The report is one of many to describe the massive surveillance program that China has imposed in Xinjiang, using not only old-fashioned informers and police checkpoints, but artificial intelligence, phone spyware and biometric data. Every tool that a future, larger totalitarian state may use to control citizens is currently being tested in Xinjiang.
Under “terrorist” legislation in Xinjiang, anyone can be arrested for anything — for expressing an allegiance to Uighur culture, for example, or for reading the Koran. Once inside the “re-education” camps, arrestees are forced to speak in Mandarin Chinese and made to recite praises of the Communist Party. Those who break the rules receive punishments no different from those meted out to prisoners in the Soviet Gulag: “They put me in a small solitary confinement cell,” said one former prisoner cited in the Canadian report, “in a space of about two by two meters. I was not given any food or drink, my hands were handcuffed in the back, and I had to stand for 24 hours without sleep.”
As in the 1930s, there are explanations for the world’s lack of outrage. Newspaper editors are distracted by bigger, more immediate stories. Politicians and foreign policy “realists” would say there are more important issues we need to discuss with China: Business is business. Xinjiang is a distant place for people in Europe and North America; it seems alien and uninteresting. None of that changes the fact that in a distant corner of China, a totalitarian state — of the kind we all now denounce and condemn — has emerged in a new form. “Never again?” I don’t think so: It’s already happening.
- Pubblicato Domenica, 27 Gennaio 2019 23:53
With one million Uyghur Muslims detained for re-education, what becomes of their children? They are locked in “schools” of Han Chinese propaganda.
The children of the detained Uyghur parents are kept in so-called Loving Heartkindergartens and schools in Xinjiang. They undergo full-time supervision and receive their education in Chinese only. Usually, the iron gates of these Loving Heart facilities are firmly locked. The walls are surrounded by barbed wire, and access is strictly controlled. There is little chance for these children to go outside. The children only get to see their parents once a month during a monthly video call. According to a teacher of one kindergarten, the children always cry after talking with their parents on video.
“Loving Heart” is a euphemistic name given by the Chinese authorities to conceal the nature of the facilities for outsiders. Such names are common in Xinjiang.
As more than one million Uyghurs are locked up in Xinjiang’s “transformation through education camps,” more and more children are losing parental care. There is even a special name for families with both mother and father in custody: “double-detained families.”
Previously, Bitter Winter reported about a shelter house located in the new town area of Qapqal county, in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. A “shelter house” is another euphemistic name given by Chinese authorities to facilities housing and indoctrinating children whose parents have been arrested.
This shelter house began operations in August 2018. Unlike ordinary schools, when entering this facility, visitors must register their ID information in a special security room, and personal belongings must pass through a security check.
Heavily-guarded lookout posts, barbed wire on the walls, densely placed surveillance cameras, helmets, and other riot control gear in the first room inside the dormitory building—these seem to tell people that this is not an ordinary school. A map of China is hung in the dorm, and the walls are covered with propaganda slogans, such as “I’m Chinese; I love my country” and “Always follow the Party.” Such displays seem familiar. They are reminiscent of the installations inside transformation through education camps.
The government even allocates a military instructor to provide military training to these young children.
Although there is a full range of facilities in the shelter house, this does not seem to make up for the children’s pain of losing their parents.
According to a teacher at the “shelter house,” as soon as evening comes, the children cry about wanting to go home to see their mom and dad. This is quite a headache for these teachers, who have been forcibly deployed by the government.
A teacher said, “Many teachers have been exhausted. There is no solution. Regardless of whether you are a Han Chinese or an Uyghur, as long as you say something wrong, you will be sent to ‘study’ for an indefinite period of time, leaving your home unattended, and your child sent to this shelter house for education. The policy for this year is to maintain stability instead of working.”
Emotional distress is not an isolated phenomenon. A teacher who previously worked at a “welfare home” (which is similar in nature to a shelter house) in Bole city told Bitter Winter that more than 200 Uyghur children who are housed at that facility had very unstable moods. Some of them even tried to ingest laundry detergent or swallow fish bones to harm themselves. And some asked, “Is this [welfare home] a jail?”
A prison officer in Xinjiang said, “When dealing with the education of the children of ethnic minorities, the government has organized a rigid and isolated education for them. With public security police officers as their teachers, the young Uyghurs are forced to study a uniform Chinese curriculum arranged by the government — they must speak Chinese, eat pork, wear Han clothes, and live according to the Han people’s habits and tradition. They are restricted to this environment, with no chance to contact the outside world. Indoctrinated with such a heavy-handed and mandatory education, these children of ethnic minorities become unconsciously obedient to the Chinese Communist Party government.”
In 2017, similar Loving Heart schools and transformation through education camps have appeared in large numbers in Xinjiang. According to sources, in Lop county alone, 11 Loving Heart nurseries (for children aged 1 to 3 years) and nine kindergartens (3 to 6 years) have been built. Seven Loving Heart full-time nursery classes have been set up in junior and senior middle schools. Among them, Xinhua Kindergarten’s Loving Heart Full-Time Nursery Class teaches 150 toddlers aged 1 to 3 years old. Yudu Loving Heart Kindergarten teaches over 500 children aged 3 to 6 years old. Lop County No. 3 Elementary School teaches more than 900 children (aged 7 to 16) of “double-detained families.” In Lop county alone, as many as 2,000 children are being held in custody.
As the interview was nearing the end, numerous Uyghur children were being sent to the shelter house in Qapqal county. Among them, the oldest is 17 or 18 years old, and the youngest is only three years old. While waiting to register, the children looked into the distance with complex expressions on their faces. Perhaps this is the last free time they will have before being placed in state indoctrination.