12th November is an important date in the history of China and Uighur republics. 12th November 2018 marked the 74th and 85th anniversary of the two Uighur republics. These republics were short-lived as they are now part of the Chinese territory. These republics are known as East Turkestan.
The Uighurs have faced abuse since decades. It is a Muslim community, who have been abused at the hand of China for decades now. Yet since last year, the abuse has been intensified. The Turkic minority is being deprived of their basic religious rights.
In recent years, the Chinese authorities have made sure that they suppressed the religious rights of these Muslims by imposing a ban on fasting during Ramadan and Quranic classes for young ones. Muslims are a minority while Hans is the majority ethnic group of the country. The Muslims use specific cultural markers to distinguish themselves, but now there are restrictions on this as well.
The Muslims there are forced to denounce their religion.
According to the UN report, China is keeping as many as one million Muslims in captive camps. There these Muslims are facing indoctrination that is both political and cultural in nature.
The Chinese authorities had kept at-least 2 million Muslims in these camps. Aydin Anwar, who is an American-Uighur, claims in an interview that as many as 3 million Muslims have been kept as captives in concentration camps. The purpose of such camps is to ethnically cleanse the society and wipe out the Uighur identity.
In these camps, the Muslims are forced to abandon their religion and become atheist.
In order to mark the Independence Day, the Uighur activists arranged a march at the US’s capital: Washington, DC on Tuesday. The protestors were out there so that the US could pressurize China to stop the religious discrimination.
The event and the protest were organized by the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement. Mr. Rebiya Kadeer was also present among the protestors. He is not only the former president of the World Uyghur Congress but a Uighur exile as well. The protestors held flags of East Turkestan and the US in their hands. Anwar also claimed that each protestor present had at least one of their relatives held at the camps.
Shohrat Zakir, who is the chairman of the Xinjiang government said that the ongoing situation is in accordance with the “war against terrorism” and the camps are just “vocational training institutions”. Denying all the facts, Zakir said that in these camps people are trained to learn the country’s language, legal knowledge, and vocational skills. Also, they are taught anti-extremization education.