Human rights and the crackdown on Uyghurs’ religion and culture: six questions for China’s UN delegation
  • Mon, 11/05/2018 - 00:00

By Omer Kanat, Director, Uyghur Human Rights Project

On November 6, states will ask direct questions to China’s UN delegation in Geneva about its human rights record. The stakes for the Uyghur people have never been higher. We are experiencing an unprecedented crackdown designed to stamp out our religion, our language, our family life, our very identity.

Since 2017, the Chinese government has interned over a million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in a system of camps whose scale is breathtaking. Another two million people, according to estimates, are forced to attend day and evening ‘study sessions.’

Credible reports detail deaths and torture in custody. The rapid expansion of the camp system, recently documented by the BBC, indicates the Chinese government has no plan to end this brutal campaign of secret arbitrary detention.

The children of detainees have been forcibly sent to state orphanages, where they are required to speak only Chinese. They may never see their parents again. Media reports from the New York TimesRadio Free Asia, and the Financial Times describe the startling extent of family separations. One county in Kashgar Prefecture built 18 new orphanages in 2017 alone.

The Chinese authorities have also targeted Uyghur academics and writers. The Uyghur Human Rights Project identified 231 intellectuals who have been forcibly disappeared, interned in camps, removed from their posts or given long prison sentences since April 2017. This is likely just the tip of the iceberg.