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The Uyghurs (pronounced wee-gers) are a predominantly-Muslim ethnic minority based in Xinjiang region of China. Not only does Xinjiang have the highest concentration of Muslims in the Republic, but Uyghurs are the second-largest predominantly-Muslim ethnic group in China. Throughout the years, these people have faced immense discrimination and cultural suppression by the State. Recently, when millions of Muslims made their pilgrimage to Mecca for their annual Hajj, the Uyghurs were met with the same unjust obstacles they’ve faced each year. Right off the bat, China only lets Muslims over the age of 60 participate, and even those who do meet the age requirement are subjected to relentless logistical hassling.
This is much more than the “religious freedom” bullshit that the Ted Cruz’s of the world go on and on about whenever their right to persecute gays or women is threatened. This is a real and legitimate concern for a group that simply wants to practice their religion. In August of 2016, Chen Quanguo was granted leadership of the Xinjiang region. This marked what can, arguably, be considered the death of the Uyghurs’ autonomy.
A myriad of unjust and imposing policies targeting the Uyghurs were put into effect. For one, literature and poetry containing any expression of dissatisfaction with the treatment of the Uyghurs may be punishable by death. Additionally, mosques in the region are harshly surveilled, even if they don’t present a threat to national security.
Even peaceful activists yearning for the liberation the Uyghurs are thought of as terrorists by the State, and are prosecuted as such. Chinese officials seem to find Muslims in China as a threat to their identity and what Xinjiang Party Secretary Wang Lequan calls “the unification of the motherland”.
In the far East, there has long existed varying cultures of ethnic supremacy, in the sense that traditionalism and following in the footsteps of ancestors is often of the utmost priority, while diversity is seen as a threat. In Japan, for example, this leads to a culture that discriminates against lesbians due to regressive ideas of what is “ladylike”.
According to a report from Human Rights Watch, “immediately after the September 11 attacks on the United States, the authorities … asserted that opposition in Xinjiang was connected to international terrorism.” This is a textbook example of dissent being suppressed based on the fear that arose after the 9/11 attacks. Well fear is no excuse for the gross and fascistic policies that China is imposing upon the Uyghur people.