When we last wrote about China’s Uighurs, it was to point out that (a) they had more than a few terrorists in their midst, and that (b) China, in true totalitarian fashion, used this fact to ratchet up the violence and to indiscriminately oppress pretty much the entire Muslim population.
Four years later, China’s brutal treatment of its Uighurs and other Muslim groups has transformed into something almost unfathomable.
State Department official Scott Busby told senators this week that China has detained at least 800,000 Muslim minorities in internment camps.
“The U.S. government assesses that since April 2017, Chinese authorities have indefinitely detained at least 800,000 and possibly more than 2 million Uighurs, ethnic Khazakhs, and other members of Muslim minorities in internment camps,” Busby, the deputy assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor, told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Tuesday. “Reports suggest that most of those detained are not being charged with crimes and their families have little to no information about their whereabouts,” he said.
Inside the camps, praying and other religious behavior is against the rules. Detainees are told to swear off Islam and become obedient members of the Chinese communist party (apparently, those things are incompatible).
According to Busby, if you’re a Chinese Muslim, life outside the camps is barely tolerable too:
“[Muslim] neighborhoods have entry and exit points manned by armed police. Families have been forced to accept Chinese officials into their homes for extended home stays. Thousands of mosques have been shuttered or destroyed. Some have even been converted into communist propaganda centers.”
Other spiritual and religious groups are also under siege in China.
“Protestant house churches are being shut down and even officially registered churches are under increased government scrutiny,” Busby said. “Falun Gong members and members of the Church of Almighty God also reportedly continue to face detention, forced labor, and torture.”
Remember these people when American Christians claim they feel persecuted when someone says “happy holidays” rather than “merry Christmas,” or when their Starbucks cup isn’t Christmassy enough, or when public schools correctly refrain from teacher-led prayer.
P.S.: The fact that the fate of China’s Muslims is virtually a non-story in Western media adds fuel to the notion that our news industry is irreparably broken. For instance, I understand and share the outrage over the extraordinarily nasty assassination of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. But Khashoggi was just one man. Imprison and bully a million of his religious brethren in a government crackdown the likes of which the world hasn’t seen since the lead-up to the Holocaust or the Great Leap Forward, and journalists yawn. Puzzling and disturbing.
(Image via Wikipedia)