Washington: Amid the crackdown on Uighur Muslims in China, the latest tactic of Beijing to silence the community members all over the world has been revealed.
According to an article published in the Washington Post, China is deploying its students abroad to harass and threaten Uighur Muslims who dare to speak out about the mass detention and persecution suffered by their relatives back home in Xinjiang region.
The article voices the ordeal of a Uighur-Canadian activist living in Canada, Rukiye Turdush, who had fled the nation to escape the Chinese regime and the crackdown on the Muslim community.
Narrating her story, Turdush revealed that her brother was killed on the streets in 1992 when he was only 18. He was attacked by a mob of Chinese construction corps soldiers and was killed in East Turkestan, also known as the Xinjiang region of western China, because he engaged in a peaceful protest with his friends against the millions of Han Chinese being sent into their homeland to dominate the land of our people, the Uighurs.
Turdush further stated that she fled because she wanted a new life for her child and herself. However, all her nightmares came to life when she was giving a presentation at McMaster University in Hamilton, about the dire situation of Uighur people.
“As I explained to my audience, the Chinese Communist Party has long aspired to wipe out the Uighur people and their identity. This was just as true 20 years ago as it is today, though back in the 1990s, the methods employed were gradual such as the government’s calculated effort to change the demographic balance in East Turkestan by sending in Han Chinese,” she said.
“Since 2017, however, Beijing has escalated its efforts dramatically. Today, there are more than one million, perhaps several million, Uighurs and other Muslims locked up in Chinese concentration camps. Conditions in these camps are horrendous — victims are subjected to physical and psychological torture under the guise of “re-education.” Moreover, Uighur children are forcibly removed from their homes to “break the lineage, break the origin, break the roots, as Chinese officials have proudly announced their genocidal intent,” she wrote in the article published in the Washington Post.
She said: “While I was speaking at McMaster about this horrible reality in East Turkestan, a group of Chinese students in the audience tried to disrupt my speech. One of them ostentatiously recorded the entire presentation, and verbally assaulted me with foul language during the discussion period held afterward.”
“Later, someone leaked a WeChat group discussion that revealed that the Chinese consulate may have directed the students to attend my event. The words of the participants of that WeChat group—including an exhortation to “find out about [her son]” — revived the feelings I experienced in that Beijing hotel room 20 years ago, even though I am a proud Canadian citizen and living on democratic soil,” she said.
Turdush also stated that the Chinese students reported the incident to the Chinese consulate, as is mentioned in their joint statement attacking her right to speak. In the statement, they also tried to cover up China’s genocidal policy, claiming that she had fabricated the whole thing.
“The fascist form of Chinese nationalism not only opposes academic freedom and freedom of speech but also aims to bully Uighur family members who are citizens of Canada. Sadly, they don’t want to differentiate between patriotism and racist Han Chinese nationalism,” she further wrote.
The exploitation and torture of Uighur Muslims in China is being closely watched by the United Nations. Kenneth Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch, tweeted: “The Chinese government is deploying Chinese students abroad to harass and threaten Uighur Muslims who dare to speak out about the mass detention and persecution suffered by their relatives back home in China’s Xinjiang region.”
The UN has estimated that over one million Uighurs are being held in internment camps in the Xinjiang province. The United Nations Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, has also sought access to the Uighur camps in China’s Xinjiang Province to verify “worrying” reports about human rights violations in the region.
Recently, Beijing also passed a law to “implement measures to Sinicize” Islam within the next five years.
The Uighur is a Muslim majority in Xinjiang province, situated in the western part of China and is officially designated as an autonomous region. According to experts, over one million Uighurs have been detained in internment camps where they are forced to undergo forceful re-education or indoctrination.
The Chinese government, on the other hand, has continuously denied any human rights violations in the region.
In a recent press briefing, the Chairman of the Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Shohrat Zakir, claimed that the Chinese government’s policies in the region have led to the containment of religious extremism, has brought peace and led to economic growth in Xinjiang.