Recently, a handful of Instagram posts and rising discussions has brought about a conversation about what is going on in China. Now, like many others, I had not heard a single thing on the news channels about anything happening. To keep it simple, I was lost in a discussion all of social media seemed to be in on. Research had to be done.
To give some background, Islam is a religion that has been practiced since the 7th Century CE, originating in Saudi Arabia. With around two billion followers of Islam, Muslims today live all over the world. A majority of Muslims live in the Asian-Pacific area, namely Indonesia and India. Additionally, subgroups such as Uighurs and Kazakhs exist within the religion.
China has recently been receiving a lot of backlash for sending Muslim minorities, Uighurs and Kazakhs, to “re-education camps.” This recent surge of backlash was due to the publishing of leaked documents by the New York Times. These articles, or the Xinjiang Papers (named for the northwestern region of China in which the camps are held), contained evidence of the detention of Muslim minorities. The documentation revealed that heightened discrimination towards Muslims, as well as Turkish speaking people, began in 2016. Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, had decided to take action in order to rid the country of the “virus of religious extremism.”
Things started to heat up when around 350,000 Chinese Muslims were detained or arrested in August of that same year, with charges against practicing their religion. Many have lost their families and friends overnight with little to no explanation of what has happened.
The Chinese government has been denying allegations, tweeting and publicizing that the re-education camps are in fact just that: camps for re-education. The Chinese media has taken the story by storm, presenting their viewpoints in an attempt to cover up the truth. The media of the United States, on the other hand, has received backlash for criticizing the Chinese government.
Detainment. Cover-ups. Leaked files.
It’s a mess. Get the word out.
Millward, J. A. (2019, November 20). Between the Lines of the Xinjiang Papers. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/20/opinion/china-xinjiang-documents.html.