The China Cables, a collection of classified government papers concerning the establishment and running of prison camps in Xinjiang, were recently leaked to the mass public. These documents from the Communist Party in the People’s Republic of China contain a vast amount of evidence that China is using detention camps in order to detain more than a million of the country’s Muslim minority: consisting mostly of Uighurs, as well as other ethnic groups.
Although recently the Chinese embassy in London has claimed that these camps are there for vocational training purposes, there is a sordid amount of evidence proving that people in these camps are being tortured, brainwashed, and separated from their families. They are not allowed to practice their religion and are ridiculed for their beliefs; furthermore, they are being brainwashed and forced into denouncing their cultures and identities.
Even so, the embassy continues to insist that these camps are there only to facilitate education and prevent terrorism in the future. The Chinese ambassador has also commented saying that these documents are forged and for the media to not listen to “fake news”. They have also said that these “trainees” are free to come and go as they please, and that “religious freedom is fully respected in Xinjiang.”
Even in light of all this, the Western superpowers, as well as the UN, are reluctant in standing up to China against these human rights violations. In July of this year, when the UNHRC met for their 41st session in Geneva, 20 countries issued a joint statement urging China to end the string of prison camps and violations against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. The second day of the session, the claims that these were “vocational training centers” by the Chinese government was established. Though there were people who spoke out against this, the UNHRC failed to contribute any form of solid action to take against the existence of these camps. Contributing 10.25% to the total of the UN peace-keeping budget and being the forefront leader in the UNHRC since the withdrawal of the US, China is at the centre of an organization dedicated to protecting human rights, which is ironic considering they have topped the list of human rights offenders in every report that has been issued by HRW.
Due to China’s powerful influence worldwide, other nations are hesitant to get involved and make China their enemy. Chinese influence can be seen in multiple different countries and the Uighurs aren’t the only group persecuted in China in which people refuse to speak up about. Along with the prison camps in Xinjiang, China also has illegal detention centers for people from Kazakhstan; people are not able to speak out about it due to their own government forcing them to stay quiet.
In addition to that, China has censored the media in countries such as Pakistan where any mention of China in the media that is too critical is immediately shut down. The Chinese government also have a tight grip on the media in their own country, as well as the people. Most are afraid to speak up and as the media is highly censored; in that anything that paints China in a bad light immediately gets taken off, thus many believe most people residing in the country are not aware of what is happening at all.
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