By Aqil Abdullah
Oct 8, 2020
Chinese authorities began to carry out another stage show to hide their human rights abuses and ethnic genocide against Uyghurs to “welcome” the independent observers who are coming to investigate the situation of the Uyghurs in the Uyghur homeland.
Having summarized the experience in welcoming foreign reporters and of foreign diplomats who visited East Turkistan last year, the Chinese authorities have well prepared to avoid information flowing out of East Turkistan.
They forced the Uyghurs in and out of the camps to memorize a quiz that contains 100 questions and responses that can potentially be asked by visiting delegations, according to a post on the Twitter account of Erkin Sidick, President of Uyghur Projects Foundation.
However, it is not so easy to conceal a crime. Since 2017, approximately 16,000 mosques in East Turkistan have been destroyed as a result of Chinese government policies, according to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Some mosques that remained physically intact have been turned into entertainment centers like bars, dancing clubs, even public toilets. Meanwhile, some mosques have been reserved to give the impression that Uyghur people are not prohibited to perform religious practices. Accordingly, they reopened those mosques to the public once again to stage prayers for independent observers. Since people had already stopped praying in the mosques out of fear of being caught for “having a sign of radicalization”, the police began to force people to attend the mosques to pray five times a day. This is as absurd as the passport issue in 2015 when Chinese authorities encouraged Uyghur people to get a passport which was impossible for them to get one before (police confiscated their passports in 2016 and put hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs in concentration camps because of having traveled abroad or holding a passport).
Furthermore, the Chinese authorities burned or removed all Islamic and Uyghur language books since 2017 as part of exterminating Uyghur culture. As a result, bookstores have been emptied from books in the Uyghur language. Ironically, they brought some books in the Uyghur language and put them in bookstores again to deceive others who are concerned about the cultural genocide against Uyghurs.
As we all know, there are security checkpoints every 500 meters in all cities of East Turkistan where Uyghur people undergo body search and scanning of ID cards, faces, and eyeballs. They had temporarily removed some of the checkpoints in preparation for welcoming international delegations even though hi-tech surveillance had already made East Turkistan an open-air prison.
Last year, China claimed that the camps were closed and 90% of detainees have “graduated” and “returned to society”. As a matter of fact, no one has been released except those who became physically and mentally disabled due to the torture in the camps. Those who have been released were in a horrible condition that they can’t even walk without support and can’t recognize their relatives. Some released detainees who seemed healthy have been taken to camps again. We can also prove that China is telling a lie through numerous videos posted by Uighur people in East Turkistan on social media like Tiktok in which people are crying silently holding and kissing the pictures of their detained family members. In short, it will not be easy for China to hide its brutal crimes and resist worldwide backlash over the Uyghur genocide.
China’s hypocrisy has no bounds that they can make all kinds of made-up scenes. Therefore, independent observers must ask China for unfettered access to the concentration camps instead of visiting pre-arranged places, otherwise, China will win again using the visit as propaganda and claiming again that “we are not carrying out a crackdown on Uyghurs but helping them in ‘vocational training centers’”. If the so-called vocational centers really aim to alleviate poverty, why have so many millionaire businessmen been arrested? Why has their money been confiscated? If they really aim to educate Uyghurs to find jobs, why have so many university professors who published a lot of scientific papers been arrested? Why have so many retired old men and women been detained? If there are no human rights abuses and ethnic genocide in East Turkistan as the Chinese authorities claim, why do they have to hide the reality and carry out a campaign like a movie?
In short, the independent observers should be cautious to not be deceived into believing that there is no genocide happening against the Uyghur people.