Date: Nov 3, 2018
By: Ewelina U. Ochab, Contributor
In October 2018, several news outlets reported that Muslims in China were being detained for re-education purposes. The reports suggested that China was participating in the practice of forced conversion whereby Muslims, among other things, are forced to “eat pork and drink alcohol.” Activities that, in fact, have nothing to do with education. The topic has recently gained much attention, yet several politicians first raised this issue months ago, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) for example.
Autonomous Region. The increasingly strict curbs imposed on the mostly Muslim Uyghur population have stifled life in the tense Xinjiang region, where beards are partially banned and no one is allowed to pray in public. Beijing says the restrictions and heavy police presence seek to control the spread of Islamic extremism and separatist movements, but analysts warn that Xinjiang is becoming an open-air prison. (Photo credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
In a letter dated April 3, 2018, and sent by Marco Rubio and Chris Smith to US Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, the facts are made clear. The letter cites credible reports that between 500,000 and a million people are or have been detained in said re-education camps in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It alleges that this practice of re-education is the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today:
Thousands are being held for months at a time and subjected to political indoctrination sessions. Many have reportedly been detained for praying, wearing “Islamic” clothing, or having foreign connections, such as previous travel abroad or relatives living in another country. Reports have emerged of the deaths of detainees in these centers, including the death of a well-known Muslim religious scholar who may have been held in such a facility, and there are reports that torture and other human rights abuses are occurring in overcrowded centers secured by guard towers, barbed wire, and high walls.”
Even though, initially, the Chinese government denied the existence of such re-education camps, the subsequent steps taken by the Chinese government suggests otherwise. In October 2018, the Chinese government introduced a new law aimed at addressing extremism that may be seen as legalizing the reported re-education camps. [FULL STORY]