EDITORIAL: China’s actions are genocide
  • Sat, 04/13/2019 - 17:00

Sat, Apr 13, 2019

Much has been made of the advanced surveillance technology that China is employing to repress its citizenry, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet, but technological advances can be a double-edged sword, as they also allow others to see what Beijing is doing to destroy the cultures and religions in those areas.

Unlike the destruction the People’s Liberation Army was able to carry out in the 1950s during its occupation of Tibet, and the ravages wrought by the Red Guard zealots during the Cultural Revolution on centuries-old temples and monasteries, today’s technology, from satellite imagery to the Internet, is allowing those concerned to shed light on China’s efforts to decimate the Uighurs and other Muslims, their religion and their cultural heritage.

According to Reuters, satellite imagery has shown that 39 of China’s “re-education camps” in Xinjiang almost tripled in size between April 2017 and August last year, while online investigation Web site Bellingcat said that open-source imagery confirmed reports that the Chinese destroyed the 800-year-old Keriya Aitika Mosque in Hotan — even though it was listed in 2017 as a major historical and cultural site, which means its destruction would have required the Chinese State Council’s approval — as well as a large portion of the Kargilik Mosque.

A campaign to destroy mosques began in 2017, with authorities claiming that they were only demolishing dilapidated buildings that posed a safety threat to worshipers, but this has gone part and parcel with an increase in surveillance, ranging from facial recognition software to cellphone scanners, street checkpoints and home visits to identify possible extremists.