After venturing thousands of miles east through the Carpathian Mountains of Romania to below the ominous Russian taiga, the vast openness of the Eurasian steppe is revealed. For years, that land had been under control of fearful Mongolian conquerors, plunging west in expansion of what was known as the Mongol Empire. Now, it’s home to many groups that trace their roots back to the plentiful nomadic tribes.
The Uighurs of China, situated in the province of Xinjiang in the western part of the country, are Chinese by nationality but uphold ancient traditions, customs and languages. Unfortunately, all of that lies at risk of eradication by an ever-fearful Chinese government, and the world should be very concerned.
China is a nation that, from the times of European plunder and imperialism, has held up valiantly through the tests of time and continues to remain a strong power among many others in the world. Looking into the present day, however, much of the history and reputation that China has is currently being overlooked, as a new age has brought with it old government trends.
Having attracted little attention until now, the unjust human rights abuse toward the nation’s muslim Uighur population is just now becoming mainstream, with various reports and whistleblowers leaking horrific information about what is truly going on out west.
Uighur men, women, and children are being rounded up and put in “re-education camps,” where they are forced to learn Mandarin, renounce their religion and customs and are indoctrinated into pro-government based propaganda. Uighur subjects are also victim to psychological torment, physical abuse and family separation and must participate in biological procedures like giving DNA. Much of the province of Xinjiang has become under strict surveillance from the state, which claims that those camps are to curb extremism and have “pulled the region back from anarchy.”
That aggression from the Chinese government, while deplorable, isn’t surprising, given China’s fairly tainted past with human rights. For instance, the riots in Hong Kong are not a secret, nor was the government’s violent de-escalation of the situation. One can only hope that the Uighurs of Xinjiang retain their culture and hold on to their identity.
China’s reputation is one that has been dwindling. Its governments’ actions claim to be aimed at the progression of its people. But, ironically, it seems to not have a problem with the obtaining and subjugating of its very citizens, regardless of religion, language and culture. So, as the rest of the world is limited in its response, only time will tell how far the People’s Republic of China will go in its ideology and how longitudinally it will affect a beautiful nation.
Christopher Lawrence-White is a freshman studying mechanical engineering at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Christopher know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.