Why even Islamic nations don’t care about Uyghur Muslims| China’s Uyghur Repression in Xinjiang & Strategic Silence Reasons Past & Present

Uyghur Muslims: why Islamic nations don't care about China's Uyghur Muslims

Uyghur Muslims Origin:

  • Uyghur Muslims are Turkish people whose language is close to the Uzbek of nearby Uzbekistan and distantly related to the Turkish of Turkey Uyghurs have lived in eastern Turkestan (now Xinjiang province, China) – the Turkish-speaking states of the Russian Empire,
  • With collapse of Qing Dynasty in 1911, Xinjiang remained notionally a province within the newly proclaimed but weak Republic of China.
  • In 1955 the PRC created the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Following the collapse of Soviet power in 1991, Turkish people in Central Asia formed independent states in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. A ‘Strike Hard’ campaign was launched against resisters, in 1995 This eventually became permanent.

Present Situation

  • The Xi Jinping administration came to power in November 2012 In 2016 He introduced draconian measures of repression – ‘counter-terrorism’ in the official terminology – including the now notorious concentration camps and advanced surveillance technology..

Why China is so much interested in Xinjiang province?

  • Xinjiang is a mostly desert region and produces about a fifth of the world’s cotton. And it is alleged that much of that cotton export is picked by forced labour.
  • The region is also rich in oil and natural gas. Because of its proximity to Central Asia and Europe is seen by Beijing as an important trade link.

If you want to know how China’s political system works, click here.

International Responses:

  • United Nations said it was “deeply concerned” oy reports that China had forced as many as 1 million Uyghurs into internment camps in Xinjiang, western China Muslim-majority countries don’t want to jeopardize their economic relationships in China.
  • Several states in Central Asia and the Middle East are part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This massive project was launched in 2013 linking 78 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania through a network of railroads, shipping lanes, and other infrastructure projects.
  • China giving hefty loans to economies with a bad credit rating. Countries such as Pakistan are already finding difficult to repay. These economic partnerships are stopping these countries from speaking out about Xinjiang.
  • Economic dependence on China is not the only reason why Muslim countries aren’t standing up to China over the Uyghur.
  • China justifies its crackdown on Xinjiang as protecting the peace and preventing terrorism. Many Arab countries “exhibit a similar understanding” of prioritizing social stability over human rights. Many Middle Eastern States also have a poor human right record, and prioritize social stability over individual rights, much like China does.

Case of Turkey:

  • Turkey, which is majority-Muslim, has spoken out against China’s treatment of its Uighurs in the past – and China has not forgotten.
  • In 2009 then prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (who is now president) described ethnic violence in Xinjiang as “a kind of genocide” Shortly after the comments were made, the state-run China Daily newspaper ran an editorial warning Erdogan to take back his remarks, with the headline: “Don’t twist facts.”
  • As Turkey witnessed a economic crisis the state-run tabloid Global Times published an editorial offering Chinese economic support, but warned it against making any more “irresponsible remarks on the ethnic policy in Xinjiang.”.

India’s Position:

  • When in 1949, Uyghur leaders and intellectuals prepared for a life in exile, India gave Uyghurs sanctuary from a murderous Chinese Communist Party.
  • Uyghurs need India to speak out against Beijing’s concentration camps, forced sterilisations, and coerced labour. The Indian government has maintained near silence on the Uyghur crisis.
  • India shares a long border with the Uyghur region with s of border dispute with China. India should join multilateral efforts, especially in the United Nations, to bring China to account.
Sodhi Gautam

Sodhi Gautam

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