October 3, 2022

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What is happening in Xinjiang with the Uyghurs?

(CNN) – The United States confirmed that today, Monday Beijing will not send any diplomatic delegates to the Winter Olympics “Considering the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, People’s Republic of China,” said White House Press Secretary Zhen Zhaoqi. What is happening in Xianjiang? Here are the answers to four key questions.

Where is Xinjiang and who lives there?

Xinjiang, officially Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, is a large and remote area in western China. Covering an area of ​​1.6 million square kilometers from the Tibetan Plateau in the southeast to its northwestern border with Kazakhstan, it is the largest administrative region in China, but also one of the least populated areas.

An ethnically diverse region, it is home to a variety of minority ethnic groups, including the Hui, the Kazakhs, and the largest group. உய்குர்கள், Who speak a language closely related to the Turkish language and have their own distinct culture.

Xinjiang is rich in natural resources, especially oil and natural gas. In recent decades, the federal government has made a concerted effort to boost the region’s economy, prompting a large influx of Han people from China.

Whistleblower explains how Uyghur prisoners are tortured 7:31

Historically, Uighurs were the majority in the region. Now, they make up less than half of Xinjiang’s total population of 22 million, many of them living in the countryside of southern Xinjiang.

The region is geographically strategic to Beijing. Xinjiang is China’s gateway to Central Asia, bordering Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan and Mongolia and Russia in the north and Pakistan and India in the south.

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What led to the repression?

Minority groups in Xinjiang have long felt isolated and isolated from the economic boom, citing widespread work discrimination in government-controlled industries that dominate the local economy.

Government-sponsored restrictions on religious practices and customs, central to their Islamic identity since the 1990s, have fueled inter-ethnic tensions and occasional violence.

In recent years, Beijing has tightened its grip on the region. A turning point came in 2009, when ethnic unrest in the regional capital, Urumqi, left at least 197 people dead, leading to government repression and widespread and long-standing restrictions on groups.

The Uyghurs government has also linked attacks in Xinjiang and other parts of China. Beijing has blamed Islamist and separatist militants for the violence, although it is controversial how many of these incidents involve or lead foreign militant groups.

CNN finds Uighur children trapped in China 12:31

In recent years, Beijing has stepped up restrictions on Islam in the name of fighting terrorism. Repression includes Islamic names, a ban on long beards and veils, the repression of Quranic study groups, and the banning of Muslim officials from fasting during Ramadan.

The repression escalated in 2016 after Communist Party hardliner Chen Guangzhou took charge of Xinjiang. Sen, a former leader of the party in the neighboring Tibet Autonomous Region, has unleashed a series of security measures. Monitor people’s daily routines through artificial intelligence. Officers collected biometric data from residents and conducted random checks on their phones for problematic or suspicious content.

What are detention camps?

The biggest step China has taken in its repression is the network of detention camps across the region. Ex-prisoners have described experiencing political teachings and abuse inside the camps, such as food and insomnia, forced injections, forced contraception, abortion and gang rape.

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They were chained and forced to live in abject conditions; One prisoner said he was locked in a room with 20 women and was only allowed to use the bathroom once a day for three to five minutes. Those who took more time were shocked by the shock blows, he said.

In a report released in March, Amnesty International estimated that there could be thousands of Uyghur children separated from their parents for years as a result of the government’s crackdown on Xinjiang.

The U.S. State Department estimates that 2 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have crossed the network of these extensive detention centers.

Initially, Beijing flatly denied the existence of camps. But then he said those facilities were volunteer “vocational training centers” where people learn work skills, Chinese language and law. The government now insists that camps are necessary to prevent religious extremism and terrorism.

The persecution of the Uyghurs did not stop at the Chinese border 4:18

Leaked Chinese government documents, however, revealed that people could be sent to a detention center for “wearing a headscarf” or growing a “long beard”. Among those missing in the camps are Uyghur intellectuals and artists who, as the Chinese government claims, do not need professional training.

The documents, along with other direct statements, paint a dangerous picture of what appears to be Beijing’s strategic campaign to remove the cultural and religious identity of Uyghurs and to thwart behavior that is considered patriotic.

The Chinese government has questioned the authenticity of the leaked records.

How did the world respond?

The treatment of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang has been widely condemned by the international community. In July 2019, 22 countries signed a letter urging an end to China’s “massive arbitrary arrests and related violations” and UN experts called on Beijing to allow access to the region.

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But many Muslim-majority countries have remained silent about China’s repression of Xinjiang, with some voicing support for Beijing. Four days after China’s letter to the United Nations condemning Xinjiang’s policies, 37 countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Russia and North Korea, wrote to the UN praising China’s “significant achievements.” Human Rights in Xinjiang “

In January of this year, the United States officially determined that China was committing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs. A month later, the Dutch and Canadian parliaments passed similar resolutions despite opposition from their leaders.

The United States has also banned the import of cotton and tomato products produced in Xinjiang on the basis of forced labor.

Meanwhile, in March, the United States, along with the European Union, Canada and the United Kingdom, announced sanctions against Chinese officials for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.