Canada must act to end Islamophobia in Xinjiang, China
UPDATE - November 25, 2019: Recently leaked official documents have revealed the vast extent of the Chinese government's campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation against Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim groups living in Xinjiang.
Relatives and friends of people who have gone missing in Xinjiang are fearing the worst and are desperate to find out what has happened to their friends and family members.
With each passing week, the world learns more about the horror China is unleashing on its own citizens in Xinjiang. There is credible evidence that up to one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other mainly Muslim groups in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) are facing Islamophobic attacks by being detained in secret internment camps. Detainees are brainwashed, tortured and are forced to renounce their religion and culture.
Chinese authorities denied the existence of the so-called “re-education” facilities until October 2018, when they described them as voluntary, free “vocational training” centres. They claim that the purpose of this vocational training is to provide people with technical and vocational education to enable them to find jobs and become “useful” citizens. This explanation contradicts the reports of beatings, food deprivation and solitary confinement reported by former detainees.
Ahead of the last United Nations Human Rights Council meeting, China made efforts to silence criticism by inviting delegations from different countries to visit Xinjiang, but the visits were orchestrated and closely monitored by the authorities.
Only an independent, unrestricted, international fact-finding initiative can reveal what is happening in Xinjiang. Governments like Canada, committed to promoting human rights, need to join together and urge the UN to act.