Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October 11th, 2019

The Uighurs are at the terminus of authoritarianism.
–  Katherine Mangu-Ward

The Uighurs are a Turkic Muslim people who have for centuries inhabited the vast and remote Xinjiang region of China, an area so unknown to Europeans that they often imagined it as the site of mysterious realms, from the Kingdom of Prester John to H.P. Lovecraft’s Plateau of Leng.  Starting in 2014, the conformity-obsessed Chinese government has worked to turn this enormous area – larger than any European country except Russia – into the world’s most tightly-controlled police state, polluted by thousands of roadblocks and checkpoints, infested with cops and rotten with surveillance systems.   Then in the spring of 2017, mere mass surveillance and police harassment turned into a systematic campaign of rounding up Uighurs and condemning them to concentration camps for such “crimes” as having a beard, using Twitter or discussing Islam.  Within a year Western journalists discovered that Beijing had apparently created a file (including DNA records) on every single Uighur, and was in the process of “disappearing” more than 10,000 people per month into a network of hundreds of “re-education” centers where (in addition to brainwashing) they are subjected to monstrous yet childish humiliations such as having their faces and heads forcibly shaved; being given only haram pork to eat; and being forced to renounce their faith, chant moronic communist slogans, and do clownish dances in front of giant Chinese flagsUighur expats search the Chinese social media app TikTok for videos of the horrors which slip past Chinese censors, and a few weeks ago the world at large got to see a small glimpse of what these prisons look like, thanks to footage obtained by spy drones operated by a mysterious human rights group:

…chilling drone footage published online…appeares to show Uighur Muslim men at a train station being transferred…to detention camps…China’s ruling Communist Party…hold[s] up to one million mainly Uighur people in…concentration camps…[though of course] China vehemently denies the allegations…and…insisted its camps are simply “re-education” centres focused on training and skills development…[and that] “members of the public who have been chosen for re-education have been infected by an ideological illness”…

The abominations go far beyond their most visible manifestations, however.  Uighur children are being abducted from their families and confined to state-run orphanages where they are indoctrinated in pro-government propaganda and only allowed to speak Mandarin, and adults are forced to install spyware on their phones.  And the surveillance and harassment is spreading far beyond Xinjiang; “police are now using facial recognition technology to target Uighurs in wealthy eastern cities like Hangzhou and Wenzhou and across the coastal province of Fujian,” and police visited and threatened the family of a Chinese student in Brisbane after he attended a protest against the oppression of the Uighurs.  One doesn’t need a PhD in political science to see what Beijing is attempting:  the methodical and systematic erasure of an entire culture, the flushing of an entire people down the totalitarian memory hole.  And given that the West abandoned its pretentions of being the “Free World” (in anything but name) a generation ago, I honestly can’t see any way to stop this quiet genocide.

Read Full Post »