Book Review: STOP THE 21ST CENTURY HOLOCAUST: The Plight of the Uyghur People in Modern China

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STOP THE 21ST CENTURY HOLOCAUST: The Plight of the Uyghur People in Modern China

  • A book written by an American high school student about the plight of Uyghurs

Reviewed and Contributed to Uighur Times by Fatimah Abdulghafur Seyyah

Aug 28, 2019


Ian Evans, an American high school student, published a book on the plight of Uyghurs titled “Stop the 21st-century holocaust: the plight of Uyghur people in Modern China in August 2019. In his book, Ian expressed his deep love for Uyghurs and their culture, showed his concerns over the Chinese Communist Party’s horrific atrocities towards this beautiful nation and asks the American kids to help stopping the 21st-century holocaust.

This book includes eight chapters. In the first chapter, Ian provides an introduction to the beauty of life, his peaceful and blessed days in America and the basic rights of being a human. Just as the readers are enjoying the relaxed pace of the descriptions, they suddenly encounter the ugly truth about unspeakable crimes against humanity in China where Uyghurs, people of East Turkistan, who are the victims of such crimes. Ian tells that he came across an online news on the 21st-century holocaust and held a doubtful view on its validity, so he decided to dive deeper on the topic and to find out more about Uyghurs and their situation in present-day China.

In chapter 2, Ian tells about what he learned on the modern-day concentration camps in East Turkistan from different resources. He shares what he learned from news articles, Uyghur testimonials delivered at the State Department of United States, and the speech of Vice President Mike Pence on Uyghur issues. To his surprise, what the Chinese government is doing to the Uyghur people is not different from what Hitler did to Jewish people in Nazi Germany. He came to understand that the Chinese government is trying to eliminate the Uyghur people. He also finds out that the Chinese government’s deadly plan of Uyghur ethnic cleansing is escalated in 2017, where hundreds of prisons and many concentration camps established in East Turkistan and mass detention of Uyghurs started. Ian can see the replaying of the Jewish history on Uyghurs, a dreadful situation which made him take a more responsible attitude towards humanity as he asks the most important question: ‘if the world leaders don’t do anything about this situation, what can the American kids do to help Uyghurs?’. He believes in the power of goodness and with the collective action of people, change can happen, even a miracle!

In chapter 3, He explains that the Uyghur land East Turkistan was occupied by the Chinese government after the WWII and renamed the place as ‘Xin Jiang’, which means ‘New Territory’ in the Chinese language. Ian also describes his understanding of the Uyghur people and culture. He writes that the Uyghurs are an oasis people of ancient Silk Road in Central Asia. They have a rich culture of music, literature, dance, architecture, medicine, and religion. Their food is tasty and nutritious, and they are happy and content people with the zest for life.

In chapter 4, Ian explains the reasons behind the Chinese government’s ethnic cleansing policy towards Uyghurs. Based on his understanding, under Xi Jinping’s permanent presidency, China has the ambition of expanding even wider to the world. This comes with consequences for the Uyghurs who are the traditional land-owners of East Turkistan, an economically strategic region in China’s new ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ policy. The Chinese government sees the Uyghurs as trouble in executing their economic plan, consequently, plans to eliminate the whole nation.

In chapter 5, Ian describes the horrific atrocities that the Chinese government is committing against the Uyghurs. Such atrocities include, but not limited to, erasing the Uyghur cultural, religious and linguistic identities; detaining a mass number of Uyghurs in the concentration camps and brainwashing them with the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda; forcing Uyghurs to denounce Islam, torturing them physically and mentally, arresting and killing the Uyghur intellectuals and wealthy people, re-naming places, destroying mosques and sacred places, destroying the Uyghur books, raping and sterilizing Uyghur women, forcing them to marry non-Muslim Han Chinese men, putting the Uyghur children into the orphan concentration camps, enforcing the Han Chinese to live in Uyghur homes, taking people’s properties, forcefully taking everyone’s DNA and IRIS samples and tracking their actions, installing surveillance camera on the streets and building dense checkpoints, bribing other countries to send the Uyghur students back to China, secretly transferring 500,000 Uyghurs to unknown destinations, building incremation furnaces for incremating bodies of the Uyghur, and forcing organ harvesting.

In chapter 6, Ian tells about the testimony from an Uyghur, Mihrigul Tursun, a young mother of two and a survivor of the concentration camp. She testified to the US Congressional Commission on China in 2018 and exposed the horrendous things she had to endure in the concentration camp. She studied in Egypt and upon returning to China in 2015, she was arrested at the border control and her children were taken away from her. She spent 10 months in the concentration camps between 2015 and 2018. The Chinese officers confiscated all of her documents and put a black dot on her Chinese ID card so that they can track her every moment. She was detained without any legal basis and put into the concentration camps for extended times as she suffered from mental and physical health complications. She lost one of her 4-month old child to the Chinese murderers.

In chapter 7, Ian discusses why there is no one able to stop China from abusing human rights. He concluded four main reasons, namely, economic power, investments around the country, Chinese propaganda against the Uyghurs and the ignorance of people about the situation.

In the last chapter, Ian offers a reasonable action to the readers in America to help bring change in the situation. He suggested that young kids can make a big change in people’s lives by just sparing a couple of minutes on simple actins like using social media to advocate about the reality, sending letters to the US Congressional representative and US senators on the situation, educating fellow classmates and teachers about the actions they have taken and put up a sign at 12:00 on each Sunday by saying, ‘STOP and free the Uyghur!’, by organizing student protests, writing to the main media channels to raise more awareness on the Uyghur issues, and even traveling to East Turkistan with your family members to bear witness to the 21st century holocaust, writing to your favorite celebrities about the Uyghur issues and asking their help to raise awareness, educating yourself about the situation and so on.

Ian concludes his book with a sample letter to the US congressional and senate members to call for action towards the Uyghur crisis.

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