Image Credit: Brokensphere
A few weeks back I brought up the topic of the Xinjiang concentration camps with my family and found that none of them knew what I was talking about. They had no idea that over one million Muslims are currently being incarcerated against their will in ‘re-education’ camps – which is the last time I will call them that in this article. It was out of such ignorance that I realised this article needed to be written.
Currently over one million Uighur (as well as other ethnic minority) Muslims are being held in an estimated 500 concentration camps in the Xinjiang region of China. These camps are being branded as ‘reformation’ and ‘re-education’ camps, which are supposedly help - ing the Chinese government end the war on terror. However, this is not the reality. These camps are essentially indoctrination and torture facilities. Within them, innocent people are being chained, forced to eat pork, speak Mandarin and made to denounce their religion. Some former detainees have also reported that they were subjected to both rape and medical experimentation. This is not re-education; this is ethnic cleansing.
The Chinese government have consistently stated that these camps are voluntary and are offering people training, education and the possibility of jobs. However, there is clear and consistent evidence that proves this is a guise to cover up their true task. This being the indoctrination of thousands of Muslim individuals to support the communist regime and denounce their own religion, through both psycho - logical and physical torture. Is it just me or is this sounding a bit familiar? It may have been 80 years ago, but these camps are almost identical to Hitler’s anti-Semitic concentration camps, wherein they were also covered up with the façade of patriotism and re-education. I simply echo the words written above the gates of Auschwitz: ‘Arbeit mach frei’, or, ‘work makes you free’.
However, one of the largest differences between Nazi Germany’s camps and China’s modern-day ones is our level of education on the two subjects. We will all remember learning about the Holocaust in school, we all remember the images of the bodies lying in piles and the faces of the innocent men, women, and children behind the barbed fences. Yet, can any of us actually categorically say we understand what’s happening in China? I know I certainly couldn’t until I did the research for this article. This is wrong. Our media is not reporting on the issues that actually matter. Instead of spreading the much-needed knowledge about atrocities such as this, our headlines and newsfeeds are cluttered with celebrity gossip, and the ever-growing disaster that is Brexit. How can we truly say that we live in an educated and enlightened society when the immoral torture and indoctrination of innocent people is less reported on than unimportant socialites and celebrities such as Prince Harry and Megan Markle?
As ‘perfect’ and ‘moral’ Western citizens, at least those who have heard about this issue, we are viewing what is happening in China with complete horror. Yet we still cannot recognise the similar Islamophobia which is plaguing our own soil. China is scapegoating the Muslim people as terrorists as a way to justify these camps. With Western political leaders such as Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson all doing a similar thing, is it not time that we recognise our own inherent problems and Islamophobia before our society follows in China’s footsteps?
This has led me to question why people are not receiving the information on what is happening in China; why are we not being informed about possibly one of the worst humanitarian issues of the century? Why is it that the media doesn’t want us to see that injustice to a specific religion is going too far? Perhaps the answers to these questions can never be given, but it is clear that we need to start asking more of them if we are to understand why these gaps in our media are forming.
To begin to strive for change against this issue we must begin to talk about it and spread the information that we need to possess. If we don’t begin to change and widen what is reported in the news, then we begin to live in ignorance of the real problems that we are collectively facing as a human race, and the issues that are actually affecting not only people’s lives, but their right to exist. The line I was always told in school when learning about the Holocaust was ‘we teach you this so that it may never be repeated’, so surely we need to be taught about this very current, similar problem in the hopes that we can help stop it, or perhaps prevent it from happening elsewhere.
Already, Western leaders like Donald Trump, have proposed anti-Islamic laws and legislation, such as Muslim registration systems and Burqa bans, all of which is indoctrinating us to see Muslims as the threat, just as Hitler did with the Jewish people 80 years ago in World War Two. We must ensure that the past does not repeat itself, and the only way we can do that is by awareness and information. The media must begin to report on the issues that are shaping the 21st century and destroying the lives of millions of innocents globally if we are to ensure that what is happening in China does not begin to spread.
After you have read this article, wherever you are, just stop for a few minutes, go online, learn more about this issue and spread the information about what is happening. If the media will not educate us, then we must educate ourselves if we have any hope of stopping tragedies such as this from continuing.
We can, and must, stop history from repeating itself. A good place to start doing this is by watching BBC show Panorama: How to Brainwash a Million People (available on BBC iPlayer).