A sizeable Muslim population in Xinjiang has been incarcerating in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to US officials and UN experts.(AP file photo)
A sizeable Muslim population in Xinjiang has been incarcerating in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to US officials and UN experts.(AP file photo)

China has brought modern-day slavery into 21st century: Uyghur activist on abolition of slavery day

Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim ethnic minority, mostly live in the western China province. The Chinese government for decades has been trying to assimilate the Uyghurs by force into the country’s majority Han cultural identity.
By Asian News International | Posted by Deepali Sharma | Washington
PUBLISHED ON DEC 03, 2020 04:04 PM IST

As the world celebrated the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, an Uyghur American activist, Rushan Abbas, on Wednesday pointed out that the “gruesome stain in humanity’s history” is an ongoing issue as “China has brought modern-day slavery into the 21st century”.

“One would hope that humanity has outgrown such prehistoric and barbaric practices. And yet, here we are, ending the year 2020 and growing closer to a new decade, still fighting to abolish slavery as if it were a new concept,” said Abbas, pointing towards “China’s genocide against Uyghurs”.

Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim ethnic minority, mostly live in the western China province. The Chinese government for decades has been trying to assimilate the Uyghurs by force into the country’s majority Han cultural identity.

She gave examples of her family members and in-laws who are in China’s “concentration camps”. “Both Abdulhakim (husband) and I have family members who are extrajudicially detained inside China’s concentration camps. We don’t have any information on their well-being, their whereabouts or even if they’re alive. They are treated as slaves for China’s economic advancements. China has, in effect, brought modern-day slavery into the 21st century and state leaders have failed to act,” she said.

“What does this mean for us? It means that much of the world’s fast fashion and affordable goods that are so often “made in China” are made by enslaved Uyghurs,” she added.

Also Read | Muslims in Nepal hold protest demanding justice for China’s Uyghur

She further says, “China claims these forced labour facilities and concentration camps are “vocational training centers.” However, these are lies, spun by the CCP to fulfill their economic goals on the blood, sweat, tears and lives of the Uyghur people.”

About the conditions inside these “concentration camps, the activist said, “My own sister and my husband’s entire family is languishing inside dark, cold cells... deprived of humane conditions, adequate food/water, medication and torn from their loving families... and for what? To make CalvinKlein bags, Adidas shoes, Apple laptops and Zara tops? My sister, Dr Gulshan Abbas is a retired medical doctor...”

She urged people to take time out to learn about the plight of the Uyghurs and “practice diligence and caution when buying any new product”. “Make sure that an Uyghur didn’t suffer to make the item that you bought. I pray that humankind can learn to respect, have compassion and love for one another, that slavery will be a thing of the past. No human deserves to be deprived of their freedom and suffer the abuses that Uyghurs face at the hands of the Chinese government,” she added.

A sizeable Muslim population in Xinjiang has been incarcerating in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to US officials and UN experts.

People in the internment camps are reportedly subjected to forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings and denial of food and medicine, besides being prohibited from practising their religion or speaking their language.

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