The situation of the Uyghurs in concentration camps has deteriorated further. According to the news from Radio Free Asia, Chinese authorities have started sending some of the Uyghur detainees in the concentration camps in East Turkestan (aka Xinjiang) to prisons across China with a pretext that “all jails are getting crowded in Xinjiang” since last month. It was reported that more than 2000 Uyghurs have recently been transferred to Tailai Jail in Heilongjiang Province, which is one of the most notorious jails in China. In addition, the authorities are sentencing, arbitrarily with a lack of proper legal procedures, more than hundreds of Uyghur detainees on a daily basis in many counties. The most worrisome of all is that Urumqi Evening News has recently reported that sales of train tickets between East Turkestan (aka Xinjiang) and the rest of China will be suspended indefinitely from 22 October 2018.
Recently, some information on various social media platforms have emerged that the public transport was suddenly suspended in Shahyar and Kuchar counties according to the governmental instructions, and some detainees were observed in Ghulja city to be transferred on the buses whose windows are completely blocked.
The above news testifies that a silent and horrific genocide is currently underway in my beloved homeland in front of the very eyes of the world. I would like to reiterate my dreadful worries about the camps, once more, at a most critical and dark time in our history.
The concentration camps that the Chinese government has initially refused their existence, and that have recently been explained to the world as vocational training centres—and not the “re-education” camps—and that has recently been mentioned by some Chinese officials as a basis for the fight against terrorism are, in nature, similar to the concentration camps operated by the Nazi Germany to exterminate the Jewish people during the Second World War. Just as Nazi Germany treated the Jewish people as a barrier to its ascendancy to the world power, so too China considers Uyghurs as a barrier to its One Belt and One Road Initiative to become a global power to replace the US. Just as Nazi Germany considered the existence of the Jews as the greatest mistake, so too Chinese authorities take the existence of the Uyghurs to be a “virus” to be root out altogether. The way that the internal mechanisms of the camps are shrouded in secrecy, the innocent people were mass arrested due to their ethnicity, the families outside of the camps were not notified of the death of their family members in the camps, and the detainees were forced to write a gratitude letter to their family members about how well they are being treated inside the camps is similar to the way in which Nazi Germany operated the concentration camps.
I am unable to imagine further how these horrific killer institutions, e.g. the camps, evolve in the future. Instead, I would like to remind you of the fact that the current Chinese government is the continuation of the government which crushed, mercilessly, the student protests claiming for democratic reforms in the Tiananmen Square in 1989 to save its legitimacy. It is the same government that has orchestrated in recent years massive, biased and destructive propaganda campaigns to vilify the image of the Uyghurs as “terrorists” among ordinary Han Chinese. As a result of this propaganda, the Han Chinese have created a certain sense of negativity towards Uyghurs. In addition, the recent statements of the Chinese officials about the camps could indicate the determination of the Chinese government to exterminate the Uyghurs as a people in the name of the fight against terrorism and separatism. The current draconian policy against the Uyghurs in ideological and cultural domains points unmistakably to this determination.
What is the motivation of Chinese authorities to move the Uyghur detainees into various parts of China? Of course, the obvious answer is that it is a deliberate attempt of Chinese authorities to hide its crime against humanity from the world. It aims to speed up the process of exterminating the Uyghurs without leaving any local witness, including police officers and workers in the camps, to its crime. It also aims to re-allocate a large number of the detainees across many prisons in China to minimize the effects of over-crowdedness in the current camps and to maximize the efficiency of the extermination process. Still worse, the way that the children are forcedly separated from the parents who enter the camps as orphans has signaled the cruelest act of inflicting intergenerational trauma on the Uyghurs and to prevent the passing of the Uyghur cultural knowledge on to the next generation. It is nothing else but a cultural genocide, the intentions of which are blatantly monstrous.
I urge the international community to take immediate action to send an independent investigation team on a fact-finding mission into East Turkestan to check the camps on the ground, to stop the transference of the Uyghur detainees to other parts of China and to ask Chinese authorities to refrain itself from committing the most horrific crime against the Uyghurs who have nothing in their hands to threaten its existence.
I believe that the international community will never make the same mistake to respond belatedly to the crime against humanity inflicting upon the Uyghur as it did during the Second World War. Therefore, I urge the leaders of the governments, civil society, human rights organizations, and others to put pressure on China to withdraw its efforts to eliminate the Uyghurs as a people, the consequence of which will be catastrophic that will forever question the conscience of my contemporaries in the face of radical evil as Elie Wiesel warned us in his timeless writing: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Ms Rebiya Kadeer, Leader of the Uyghurs