Being Muslim: In detention camps of China

muslim, china
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Not much has changed from the time of Chairman Mao to the present day President Xi Jinping’s rule in China. The Communist Party of China has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the past and their successive presidents in China have taken controversial decisions throughout their rule. The deadliest famine in history and the dominance of a single party bestowed on the leaders of the Communist party of China have worsened the daily lives of the minorities, especially Muslims in China who are kept in detention camps.  

According to a report published in Times of India, Muslims in China are facing unprecedented repression in the detention camps. According to the article possibly thousands of Muslims from the Xinjiang province have been detained in mass internment camps. The camps also hold some international Muslim prisoners. The Muslims living in these camps are subjected to inhuman torture and psychological pressure by the officials.

“The psychological pressure is enormous, when you have to criticize yourself, denounce your thinking — your own ethnic group,” said Omir Bekali ,an ex- inmate. He broke into tears and further added, “I still think about it every night, until the sun rises. I can’t sleep. The thoughts are with me all the time”. There are thousands more like Omir who are still trapped in those camps, with little hopes of getting out with the same identity which they earlier used to pride on.

Omir Bekali is a citizen of Kazakhstan who was captured by the security officers of China and was subsequently detained for eight months. Disowning and criticizing their Islamic beliefs and thanking China’s Communist Party  on a daily basis are the daily routine for the people in these camps. If they do not take part in these activities they are subjected to torture, punishments and solitary confinement. This is in complete contrast to the image which the Chinese  projects to the outside world. In reality their image is more suited to the North Korean regime.

Xinjiang Ughyur Autonomous Region is one of the largest provinces in China, with a landmass probably half the size of India the region also has a predominantly Muslim population. The Turkic Muslim population residing in Xinjiang has often been accused of taking part in separatist and anti-China protests by the government in Beijing. There have been numerous terror attacks and hundreds of people have lost their lives. The officials in China have tried hard to end the religious problems in the Xinjiang region. These detention camps are China’s way of handling with dissent, something which the Muslim world fails to acknowledge. Cultural cleansing on such a massive scale has hitherto been unheard of in the modern world.

Communist parties in India and their intellectual comrades fail to see this side of China and go so far as to hiding these atrocities being committed by their counterparts. They in fact blame India citing the growth which has taken place in China. They fail to realize that China’s growth has come at a greater cost to the population of its minorities. The predominantly Muslim countries like Pakistan do not feel any guilt in joining hands with the Chinese government which is slowly but surely devising ways to kill their religion. China’s iron fisted approach towards its minority which is mainly Turkic Muslim population is not highlighted by Pakistan and other countries which derive pride from forming alliances with the Chinese government.

If mass imprisonment and torture of Muslims at this scale had been taking place in any other country there would have been an outcry of liberals from all over the world. But the Muslim world put China on a special pedestal, they can sacrifice their own people as long as China keep supplying arms and technology to the other Muslim nations. These doubles standards help China’s Communist Party to maintain their dominance in nearby regions which would be used for trade routes and markets for their cheap quality products. China calls these detention camps as a drive to end separatism and extremism in the country, but is that what it really is?

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Abhishek Bhardwaj

Full time reader, writer and foodie. Has opinions on everything under the sun and not afraid to express them.
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