At the site of Treblinka extermination camp in Eastern Poland, where nearly a million Jews were brutally murdered by the Nazis in a single year (1942-1943), there lies a small memorial plaque. On the plaque there are two words, represented in multiple languages: ‘Never Again’.
These two simple words have come to enshrine the unequivocal Western defiance against returning to a time and place where people were systematically exterminated because of who they are. They are words that should be remembered for all time. And yet, as this article is written, those words are at risk of being totally forgotten…
For, in North-Western China, deep in the province of Xinjiang, another genocide is underway. This time, it is the Uyghur people, the historical inhabitants of Xinjiang, who are being herded onto trains and forced into ‘re-education’, forced labour camps. There, they are being subjected to hard labour, forced sterilisation, birth control, and organ harvesting. They are being forced to denounce their Muslim faith, their Uyghur heritage and culture, and pledge full allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its leader, Xi Jinping.
Containing an abundance of natural resources and a significant corridor for Xi’s most ambitious foreign policy project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Xinjiang is a prime region for the CCP. Therefore, the CCP consider it vital that the territory is tightly controlled and monitored, to prevent any attempts by the Uyghurs to separate themselves from China; something which occurred briefly in 1933 and 1944.
The CCP began to dilute the Uyghur population in the 1940s, by promoting Han Chinese migration to Xinjiang. In 1945, the Uyghurs made up 82.7% of the population in Xinjiang, but by 2008, they made up just 46.1%. Frustration over their culture slowly being eroded erupted in July 2009, when mass Uyghur riots broke out in Urumqi, a major city in Xinjiang, and 200 people were killed.
This significant dilution of the Uyghur reduced the sense of Xinjiang being a separate cultural space from the rest of China, and so physical violence between the Uyghurs and CCP has been common. However, since 2016, Xi Jinping has announced many ‘de-extremification’ policies, which has given the CCP and police forces distinct authority over the Uyghurs. Under these new policies, Uyghurs could be detained and sent for ‘re-education’ based on terrorist or extremist assumptions. In fact, this was nothing more than the start of a series of methods used by the CCP to infiltrate the Uyghur population and detain as many of them as possible.
The Uyghurs are now subject to hyper-state surveillance. They are forced to download apps on their phones which allow the CCP to watch their every online move. Every remaining Uyghur household is paired with a CCP state official, who can arrive uninvited at any time to inspect the premises and occupants. They are forced by police to stand in front of face scanners, which scan their features and log them on the national database for future surveillance. In essence, the Uyghurs are being brought into line by the CCP. After all, any dissent within a totalitarian, Communist system is outright forbidden. All dissenting religions such as Islam, which the majority of Uyghurs practise, are forbidden.
The CCP hope to socially engineer a new generation of Uyghurs, through the use of ‘orphanages’, where Uyghur children are taken permanently from their parents and indoctrinated; breaking all links with their Uyghur ancestry.
The CCP do not wish to eliminate the Uyghurs in the same way that the Nazis did to the Jewish community, but rather subject them to psychological indoctrination and cultural genocide. Their ‘final solution’ is to culturally homogenise the Uyghurs; forcing them to believe that they are Han Chinese and a pure product of the Chinese state.
The world has seemed to allow this act of cultural genocide to continue unhindered and uninterrupted. The West in particular, except for a brave few, have turned a blind eye to this cultural genocide, whilst in Xinjiang, an entire people is being deliberately erased. The West needs to wake up and realise that the 21st Century is not immune to such horrendous acts that should be the past. Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, must be challenged. His actions must have consequences.
But the world continues to allow the CCP’s actions to continue, because without China the world does not operate. The West have made the fatal error of becoming so heavily reliant on one nation for the base of the global economy.
We were told forty years ago that China would liberalise as they began to open up for international trade, under Deng Xiaoping. In fact, the opposite occurred. China became more concretely set in its authoritarian, Communist methods, and is now more tyrannical now than ever before. The eradication of the Uyghurs is merely the tip of a horrific iceberg, which the West would do well to acknowledge.
The UK, amongst all other nations, must campaign against and place pressure on China to fully repeal and reverse their treatment of the Uyghurs. We must put aside our obsession with financial profit and lead the march against this cultural genocide; for we have seen this before, and we know the horror and turmoil it brings in its wake.
Words by William Cooper.
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