- Wed, 05/16/2012 - 00:00
Published: 00:02 May 16, 2012
It is important that the rights of minorities in China are respected and protected. They have been part of Chinese society for many years and, hence, sidelining them or failing to address their issues and problems will not be beneficial or practical in the long term.
One group that has been shunned and kept out of the mainstream is the Uighur community. For many years, the Uighurs have been complaining of state-sanctioned persecution and marginalisation simply because of their religion and identity. Such a policy has resulted in creating an environment of suspicion and ethnic tension, which has claimed many lives. Violence has erupted between the Chinese authorities and the Uighurs, especially in the Xinjiang region where nine million Uighurs reside.
"The Chinese government says it is assimilating and eventually eliminating the Uighur people and other indigenous people ... meanwhile China is becoming a global power. We are peacefully struggling and hope the Chinese government will stop the repressing of Uighur people," Rebiya Kadeer, exiled head of the World Uighur Congress, said.
Shunning minorities and ignoring their right to live a dignified life in the short term could sow the seeds of a large-scale problem in the future.