China is challenging mounting criticism from around the world over its handling of the mostly Muslim Uighur population within the north-western region of Xinjiang.

Human rights groups think China has detained quite 1,000,000 Uighurs over the past few years in what the state defines as “re-education camps”.

There is confirmation of Uighurs getting used as forced labor and of girls being vigorously sterilized.

The US is among several countries to own accused China of committing genocide and crimes against humanity through its repression of the Uighurs.

Who are the Uighurs?

There are about 12 million Uighurs, mostly Muslim, living in north-western China within the region of Xinjiang, officially referred to as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The Uighurs speak their language, just like Turkish, and sees themselves as culturally and ethnically on the brink of Central Asian nations.

The makeup but half the Xinjiang population.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Uighurs shortly announced independence, but the region was brought under complete control of China’s new Communist government in 1949.

What are the allegations against China?

Several countries, including the US, Canada, and therefore the Netherlands, have accused China of committing genocide – defined by international convention because the “intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”.

It follows reports that, also as interning Uighurs in camps, China has been forcibly mass sterilizing Uighur women to suppress the population and separating Uighur children from their families.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said China is committing “genocide and crimes against humanity”.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the treatment of Uighurs amounts to “appalling violations of the foremost basic human rights”.

A UN human rights committee in 2018 said

It had credible reports the Chinese were holding up to 1,000,000 people in “counter-extremism centers” in Xinjiang.

People who managed to flee the camps reported physical, mental, and sexual torture – women spoke of mass rape and sexual assault.

Most people within the camps haven’t been charged with crimes and haven’t any legal avenues to challenge their detentions. The detainees seem to possess been targeted for a spread of reasons, consistent with media reports, including traveling to or contacting people from any of the twenty-six countries China considers sensitive, like Turkey and Afghanistan; visiting services at mosques; having three children, and sending texts including Quranic verses. Often, their only crime or wrong is being Muslim, human rights groups’ state, continuing that a lot of Uighurs are identified as extremists just for practicing their religion.

Why is China arresting Uighurs in Xinjiang now?

Chinese officials are worried that Uighurs hold fanatical and separatist ideas, and that they inspect the camps as to how of reducing threats to China’s territorial integrity, government, and population.

How did The Chinese government become?

The Chinese government has begun to characterize any expression of Islam in Xinjiang as extremist, a reaction to past independence movements and occasional outbursts of violence. the govt has blamed terrorist attacks on the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a separatist group founded by militant Uighurs, in recent decades. (In 2020, we eliminated the group from its list of terrorist organizations, saying there was no credible indication that the group had operated for a minimum of the previous decade.) Following the 9/11 attacks, the Chinese government began justifying its actions toward Uighurs as a part of the worldwide War on Terrorism. It said it might combat what it calls “the three evils” religious extremism, separatism, and general terrorism at all costs.

Are economic factors included during this crackdown?

Xinjiang is a crucial link in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a large development plan stretching through Asia and Europe. Beijing wishes to abolish any chance of separatist activity to maintain its development of Xinjiang, which is home to China’s largest coal and gas reserves. Human rights organizations observed that the economic advantages of resource extraction and development are often disproportionately enjoyed by Han Chinese, and Uighur people are frequently marginalized.

Many people who were arbitrarily detained are forced to work in factories on the brink of the detention camps, consistent with multiple reports. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute estimates that, since 2017, eighty thousand earlier detained Uighurs are sent to factories during China linked to eighty-three global brands.

Journalists from Xinjiang discovered that the government erased many features of Muslim life. Communist Party individuals are recruited since 2014 to remain in Uighur’s homes and report on any perceived “extremist” actions, including fasting during Ramadan. Officials have damaged thousands of mosques, often claiming the buildings were shoddily constructed and unsafe for worshippers.

Uighurs and other minority women have reported forced sterilizations and IUD insertions, and officials have warned to detain anyone who has too many children. Uighur’s parents are banned from giving their babies certain names, including Mohammed and Medina. In Urumqi, it became harder to find Halal food because the government launched a campaign against it.

Beijing has also pressured other governments to repatriate Uighurs who have fled China. In 2015, for instance, Thailand returned quite 100 Uighurs, and in 2017 Egypt deported several students. ICIJ released documents that showed that the Chinese government instructed officials to gather information on Chinese Uighurs living abroad and included arresting many as soon as they reentered China.