FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Concentration Camps From Here to China

It’s all a matter of perception.  Often the outside observer doesn’t have the proper view of things and fails to appreciate that what is observed is not what is actually taking place.  Consider the Uighurs in far West China and illegal immigrants along the southwest border of the United States.

In the United States, there is great concern for the plight of the Uighurs.  It was well described in an editorial that appeared in the New York Times on December 1, 2018.  It was titled: “Who Will Speak Up for the Uighurs?” The editorial writer described the “urgent need to address at the highest levels of the American government what have been described as China’s worst human rights abuses in decades.”  The need for the editorial seems obvious.

The Uighurs, and members of other Muslim minority groups are being held in China’s far northwestern Xinjiang region, in what are described by outside observers as beyond deplorable conditions.   The number of Uighurs detained may be in excess of one million and the inhabitants of the camps are reportedly subject to torture, and food deprivation.  There have reportedly been countless deaths resulting from the treatment of the Uighurs by the Chinese authorities.

It comes as no surprise to learn that the Chinese do not have the same perception of life in the camps as outside observers, former inhabitants of the camps and the editorial board of the New York Times.

Explaining the treatment of the Uighurs, the Chinese say it is necessary to crackdown on them to “combat extremism and terrorism on its western frontier.  Mimicking the Trump, who says the same things about immigrants in the United States on its southern border, the Chinese say: “many of those detained are common criminals.”

The Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups detained in the camps, is the largest number of Chinese citizens detained since the days of the Cultural Revolution.  According to the Chinese government, their detention is needed in order to crackdown on religious extremism. Thanks to reporting from a Chinese government spokesman, we have learned that the camps are not nearly as bad as the editorial writers of the NYT and others would have us believe.

In an interview with Shohrat Zakir, the chairman of the region in which the Uighurs are detained, that was published by China’s Xinhua News Agency,  Mr. Zakir  described the camps as “generously equipped vocational schools that are vital to a crackdown on religious extremism.” He said that the camps helped bring an end to terrorism and a drop in crime in the region. Mr. Zakir said: “Facts have proven that vocational education and training fits the reality of current efforts in countering terrorism, maintaining stability and eradicating extremism. . . .” He described the facilities as resort-like, equipped with volleyball courts, ping-pong tables, and film-screening rooms.  In addition, he said that each resident’s room was provided with its own television set. He has been quoted as saying the camps were “colorful” places, and that among other things, the people confined there could enter singing contests, play basketball and watch movies.

All in all, the camps sound not unlike the ones the Trump has created in the United States, and along its southern border with Mexico.  The United States has its own Shohrat Zakhir to describe the wonderful qualities of the camps in the United States. His name is Matthew Albence.

Mr. Albence is serving as the acting deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and oversees its Enforcement and Removal Operations units.

At a hearing held in late July 2018, Mr. Albence, like Mr. Zakhir, described the facilities in which immigrants in the United States are held. His description makes it sound, as we would all expect, that the facilities in the United States are every bit as nice as the facilities in which the Uighurs are housed. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Albence said the facilities the United States operates are more like summer camps than like jails. He said: “These individuals have access to 24/7 food and water.  They have educational opportunities.  They have recreational opportunities, both structured as well as unstructured. There’s basketball courts, there’s exercise classes, there’s soccer fields that we put in there.  They have extensive medical, dental and mental health opportunities.”

At a second hearing held in mid-September, Mr. Albence, was given the opportunity to modify his glowing description of life in the camps.  He stood by his earlier comments, saying the facilities had unlimited amounts of food, and residents lived in dormitory settings where they were provided televisions, Xboxes and other educational opportunities.  In response to a question, from Senator Kamala Harris, (D.Ca.) he declined to say whether he would send his children to the kinds of summer camp he was describing.

Referring to the camps in which the Uighurs are held, the NYT editorial writer asks: “Why aren’t China’s neighbors demanding an end to the abuses?” The same question could be asked of the Senate Judiciary committee before whom Mr. Albence appeared, their congressional colleagues, or concerned citizens in the United States.  It is a sad commentary on the United States,  when a spokesman for the administration who is justifying the United States’ harsh treatment of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers, has gotten his talking points from a spokesman for the Uighur detention camps in China.

 

More articles by:
August 06, 2020
H. Bruce Franklin
How the Fascists Won World War II
Robert Jacobs – Ran Zwigenberg
The American Narrative of Hiroshima is a Statue that Must be Toppled
Howie Hawkins - Madelyn Hoffman
Reverse the New Nuclear Arms Race
Brian Kelly
Ireland and Slavery: Debating the ‘Irish Slaves Myth’
Talli Nauman
Native Americans Win Historic Victories in U.S. High Court Rulings
David Mattson
“Man Attacks Grizzly” and Other Leading Bleeding Stories
John Kendall Hawkins
Suffrage: The Myth of Sisterphus
George Ochenski
An Unbelievably Disastrous State of Affairs
George Wuerthner
Trouble in Paradise Valley
Binoy Kampmark
State of Pandemic Disaster: Melbourne Moves to Stage Four
Howard Lisnoff
The ACLU Has Never Done a Damn Thing for Me
Priyanka Singh – Sujeet Singh
Time to Empower the Invisibles: India Awaits a Mental Health Revolution
CounterPunch News Service
Conservationists to Federal Agencies: Restore Protections for Imperiled Wildlife in the Flathead National Forest
August 05, 2020
Roy Eidelson
Black Lives Matter: Resisting the Propaganda of Status Quo Defenders
Melvin Goodman
The Department of Homeland Security: the Ideal Authoritarian Tool
Paul Street
Misleaders at a Funeral: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Eulogizing Racial Justice in the Name of John Lewis
Seiji Yamada
Hiroshima, Technique, and Bioweapons
Vijay Prashad
How Trump Managed to Lead the World with the Worst Response to the COVID Pandemic
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Alternative
Jonas Ecke
The Worst Hunger Season Yet to Come: Global Moral Failure in the Time of Covid-19
Rafiq Kathwari
The Battle for Kashmir
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Arch-Kleptocrat is Found Guilty
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Cold War China Policy Will Isolate the U.S, Not China
Lee Camp
Why Housing Is a Human Right
Sam Pizzigati
For Egalitarians, a Sudden Sense of Possibility
Jonathan Cook
Can Israelis Broaden Their Protests Beyond Netanyahu?
Thomas Knapp
Ten Years After Lieberman’s “Internet Kill Switch,” the War on Freedom Rages On
Binoy Kampmark
Staying on Message: Australia, the US and the AUSMIN Talks
Elliot Sperber
The View From Saturn 
August 04, 2020
John Pilger
Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now
Dave Lindorff
Unsung Heroes of Los Alamos: Rethinking Manhattan Project Spies and the Cold War
Kenneth Good
Escalating State Repression and Covid-19: Their Impact on the Poor in Kenya
Dean Baker
We Need an Economic Survival Package Not Another Stimulus
David Rosen
Globalization and the End of the American Dream
John Feffer
The Pandemic Reveals a Europe More United Than the United States
Patrick Cockburn
The Government’s Failed Track-and-Trace System is a Disaster for England
Ramzy Baroud
‘Optimism of the Will’: Palestinian Freedom is Possible Now
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Yale Faculty on Hydroxychloroquine and Its Use in COVID-19
Manuel García, Jr.
Ocean Heat: From the Tropics to the Poles
Sonali Kolhatkar
Why the Idea of Jobless Benefits Scares the Conservative Mind
Greta Anderson
Framing Wolves in New Mexico?
Binoy Kampmark
Pulling Out of Germany: Trump Adjusts the Military Furniture
Shawn Fremstad – Nicole Rodgers
COVID Stimulus Checks Shouldn’t Penalize One-Parent Households
Adam Shah
The 1 Percent’s Attack on Unemployment Benefits is a Sign of Our Broken Democracy
Evaggelos Vallianatos
On the Beauty of Life
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail